Guns of the Civil War

Author Dennis Adler has scored a major home run with his new book, Guns of the Civil War. Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of full-color photographs as well as period black-and-white vintage Civil War photographs. Checking in at a whopping 352 pages, this is a book that will certainly become a favorite reference work for Civil War buffs, miniature wargamers, gun enthusiasts, military historians, and anyone interested in learning more about the guns used by the various armies 150 years ago during the War Between the States.

More than 620,000 men died in the war, with a third of them killed or mortally wounded on the battlefield. Rifles, repeaters, and smoothbore muskets were the chief instruments of destruction, and pistols were a popular choice for officers, cavalrymen, and others. Adler offers scores of photos of each major gun type, with most coming from private collections and many never before photographed for publication.

Click on any photograph to enlarge it for easier viewing and to see the details.

Author Dennis Adler is a regular contributor to American Rifleman magazine, Guns of the Old West magazine, Combat Handguns, and Harris Publications, and is special projects editor for Blue Book Publications (Blue Book of Gun Values). He had also written more than three dozen full-length books on the subjects of classic firearms, with a focus on western and  early American weaponry. He designs and manufactures custom cowboy guns for collectors and shooters. Adler serves on the Antique Arms Committee of America Remembers and the United States Society of Arms and Armour.

Here is the publisher’s (Zenith Press) editorial review of Guns of the Civil War:

“The majority of firearms manufactured in America in the years leading up to the Civil War were made in the North. The Southern states were principally agricultural, and the outbreak of the war in April 1861 forced the nely emerging Confederate States to rally all the arms they had and begin manufacturing new guns in the South.

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Guns of the Civil War traces the evolution of gun making in the war-torn South as well as those being manufactured by established makers, such as Colt’s, Smith & Wesson, E. Remington & Sons, Whitney, Rogers & Spencer, Manhattan, Savage, and countless others that have become little more than obscure footnotes to our nation’s greatest arms race.”

Guns of the Civil War takes you through the development of America’s legendary 19th century handguns and rifles and the roles they played in our nation’s history. As the Civil War erupts, the author follows the politics of a country divided and how the North and South chose to arm their soldiers. In the tales of this great conflagration, author Dennis Adler takes you step-by-step through the evolution of loose powder cap-and-ball revolvers and rifles in use, as well as the early development of the self-contained metallic cartridge that was to play a monumental role in arming both the Union and Confederacy as the war continued, and the sweeping changes in firearms design that resulted in the aftermath.

This book is a sprawling history which provides an essential overview of the legendary guns and armsmakers of the Civil War era, including exquisite photography of the handguns, rifles, and muskets, with numerous close-ups that capture the details of each piece.

Guns of the Civil War paints a portrait of America in words and pictures as a nation hurtled toward its own destruction, and at the last minute pulled itself back from the precipice. This is a new must-have book for gun collectors and the enthusiasts of American firearms history.”

I found this new book fascinating, and it will find a treasured space in my collection of Civil War books. Dennis Adler is to be commended for the crisp text and exhaustive research which went into this “coffee table” book. Printed on high quality coated supercalendered paper, the photography really stands out. Gorgeous photos such as that shown above fill page after page in this high quality book, which is sure to become a popular collectible in its own right once Guns of the Civil War is out of print.

Guns of the Civil War is available from multiple Internet retailers, including amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and many others. Priced at $40.00 US, it is not inexpensive, but the quality of the production, the amazing photos, and the informative text make this a real keeper.

Guns of the Civil War

Dennis Adler

Zenith Press, March 15, 2011

6.25″ x 9.25″, hardcover, 352 pages, 17 b/w photos, 7 maps

ISBN 978-0-7603-3971-8

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