I finally got around buying Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun by Paul Barret. I expected a book with deeper information on how the wunder gun came to be and did not get it. What I got was a book filled with contradictions: reluctant admiration and loathing for Gaston Glock, the NRA and the Gun Culture in general. And unexpectedly, a heavy dose of bromance.
I am not a Glock fanboy, I don’t own one and I shot a Glock only once in my life. I am not particularly fond of the gun but I do acknowledge its popularity and simplicity of operation. So basically I have no fanatical love for the item and I am not a defender of it just because.
Author Paul Barret starts the book by doing the expected history of how Gaston Glock came with the idea of the Glock, but soon falls short of what any gun owner would like to read: the whole design of the gun and the technical difficulties and achievements that led to the production of the gun. Instead we get the “dirty” little trade & marketing secrets (really, no secrets if you have even bothered to read about common practices) while trying to cast Gaston Glock as the Robber Baron of the firearms Industry by twisting every law and moral precept out there. I find this funny as hell because you can tell that Mr. Barret is heads over heels by Glock’s ex main legal counsel (And convicted felon) Paul Januzzo and we are talking gushing like a 12-year-old girl towards the latest teen idol while making Gaston Glock ends look like an Edison with a Hitler mustache.
Gaston Glock was never into the Gun Culture. He was somebody with the drive to become rich and he happened to have the right set of ideas at the proper time in history mixed with a healthy dose of European entrepreneurial drive. Barret clearly dislikes some of Glock’s ways to entertain customers with booze and strippers applying a heavy dose of fake morality to the narrative. Yet there is nothing illegal he could point to simply because it is not illegal to take people to a strip joint and have drinks.
I confess I stopped reading at page 207 and I couldn’t get into it anymore. At least for now. I found myself reading a well written anti-gun drivel but nothing I have not heard before except the almost single handled efforts of Januzzo to take on both the US Government and the NRA (Bromance, remember?). Barret’s comments about the NRA is an uncompromising and fanatical pro-gun organization must have sent many gun owners laughing off their chairs as the meme for some has been just the opposite: The NRA compromises too quick.
My recommendation: The book just came out on paperback. If you want to, wait for the price to drop under $4 before buying it or get it from your local library if available. It is not worth the full retail price.
Now, if you excuse me, Stephen Hunter awaits.