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Review – First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

During my recent trip, I listened to the audiobook of David Harsanyi’s new work, First Freedom:  A Ride Through America’s Enduring History with the Gun.  It’s a solid survey of the history of gun technology, the personalities that helped to make advances in firearms, and their impact American history and culture.

For America, the gun is a story of innovation, power, violence, character, and freedom.

From the founding of the nation to the pioneering of the West, from the freeing of the slaves to the urbanization of the twentieth century, our country has had a complex and lasting relationship with firearms. Now, in First Freedom, nationally syndicated columnist and veteran writer David Harsanyi explores the ways in which firearms have helped preserve our religious, economic, and cultural institutions for over two centuries. From Samuel Colt’s early entrepreneurism to the successful firearms technology that helped make the United States a superpower, the gun is inextricably tied to our exceptional rise.

In the vein of popular histories like Salt and Seabiscuit,Harsanyi takes you on a captivating and thrilling ride of Second Amendment history that demonstrates why guns are not only an integral part of America’s past, but also an essential part of its future.

First Freedom is an engrossing look into how firearms have evolved over the past 1000 years and how they have had an impact on American history.  Harsanyi fills in details without overwhelming the reader, and even folks who have used and studied firearms for years will learn from First Freedom.

While the pro-gun attitude of the author is evident throughout the book, it doesn’t become at all thick until the last couple of chapters.  The author takes time to discuss personalities such as Colt, Browning, Garand, and Stoner as much as he writes about their creations.

Harsanyi paints a detailed picture of the thread that weaves firearms and the right to self defense into the fabric of America.  From the earliest explorers and settlers to the everyday citizen of the 21st century, the book’s narrative relates the importance of firearms in American culture.

I’d recommend First Freedom to anyone who is a fan of history, firearms, or both.  It’s an easy read, and will definitely go into my rotation.

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  1. OldNFO

     /  October 17, 2018

    Sounds like I need that one for research purposes… 🙂


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