The machine gun is a uniquely American invention that, more than any other single invention, revolutionized the way in which war was waged. Machine Gun tells the story of the people responsible for the development of the weapon itself - beginning with Samuel Colt's creation of the first mass-produced, rapid-firing revolver; to Dr. Richard Gatling and his Gatling Gun; and Hiram Maxim, whose Maxim Gun was the first truly automatic weapon.
In this engrossing history, Smith traces the uses of the rapid-fire gun and its slow integration into the weaponry of military forces around the world. First used primarily to 'pacify' native populations, the machine gun was not fully integrated into military tactics until after the unprecedented casualties of World War I and the resultant social upheaval that utterly changed the very nature of tactical warfare. Machine Gun is an enthralling account of the people who invented and promoted the weapon, how it affected the very nature of warfare, and of the society out of which it arose - and which it in turn transformed inexorably.