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Tommy Gun

How General Thompson's Submachine Gun Wrote History

Bill Yenne

Thomas Dunne Books

The Trench Broom. The Annihilator. The Persuader. The Chopper. The Chicago Typewriter. The Tommy Gun.
 
The Thompson submachine gun has gone by many names, and for nearly a century the gun’s image has been indelibly marked on the popular consciousness. In this broad-reaching cultural and military history, Bill Yenne charts the tommy gun's unpredictable and one-of-a-kind career, from its infamy in the hands of Al Capone and the Chicago mobsters, to its shady days with the IRA, to its indelible place in the arsenal of World War II, and its truly immortal and ongoing role in Hollywood.
 
The tommy gun is without a doubt the most famous, and the most infamous, American firearm of the twentieth century. Since its birth in the aftermath of World War I, the tommy gun has enjoyed a varied career on both sides of the law. Though General John T. Thompson invented it for the American military, it first found notoriety thanks to its part in events such at St. Valentine's Day Massacre. But when the United States entered World War II, the gun's true power as an essential, life-saving weapon made it an iconic weapon of the American GI.
 
Full of incredible stories from the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific, America's gangland, and Hollywood studio back lots, Bill Yenne's Tommy Gun is the definitive story of this unique American icon.

The Trench Broom. The Annihilator. The Persuader. The Chopper. The Chicago Typewriter. The Tommy Gun.  The Thompson submachine gun has gone by many names, and for nearly a century the gun’s image has been indelibly marked on the popular consciousness. In this broad-reaching cultural and military history, Bill Yenne charts the tommy gun's unpredictable and one-of-a-kind career, from its infamy in the hands of Al Capone and the Chicago mobsters, to its shady days with the IRA, to its indelible place in the arsenal of World War II, and its truly immortal and ongoing role in Hollywood.  The tommy gun is without a doubt the most famous, and the most infamous, American firearm of the twentieth century. Since its birth in the aftermath of World War I, the tommy gun has enjoyed a varied career on both sides of the law. Though General John T. Thompson invented it for the American military, it first found notoriety thanks to its part in events such at St. Valentine's Day Massacre. But when the United States entered World War II, the gun's true power as an essential, life-saving weapon made it an iconic weapon of the American GI. Full of incredible stories from the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific, America's gangland, and Hollywood studio back lots, Bill Yenne's Tommy Gun is the definitive story of this unique American icon.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

TOMMY GUN
PART ONEMen and ArmsCHAPTER 1NecessityNecessity is the mother of invention.The frequently used maxim is as true of weapons as of any aspect of industrial design. So it was with the Thompson submachine gun and for the man who thought it up.First, there was the necessity.In war, there is nothing, save death and mutilation, that a fighting man fears more than a deadlock. Stalemates tend to become meat grinders, in which neither side can advance and neither side dares to retreat. There is a reason that they call it a deadlock.The worst stalemate--and the most terrible campaign in the history
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REVIEWS

Praise for Tommy Gun

"Lethal-firepower fans should warm to this comprehensive, nicely illustrated account of the weapon that made the drive-by shooting feasible. . . . The tommy gun's enduring image plays as large a part in Yenne's presentation as its technical details and legitimate applications, which only makes this all the more excellent a history of one of the most durable, storied, and deadly of weapons."--Booklist

“To find out everything there is to know about Gen. Thompson’s trench broom, check out Bill Yenne’s Tommy Gun. . . . If you’re looking for fascinating stories, Yenne delivers. . . . Yenne reminds us that every generation is remembered for the artifacts it leaves behind: Harley Davidsons. Route 66. Coonskin caps. The Apollo 11 lunar module. The Tommy gun.”--Bookgasm.com

"An in-depth, entertaining history of the legendary weapon."--Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Bill Yenne and his work:
 
"A must-read."--Shooting Illustrated on Tommy Gun
 
"Excels as a study in leadership."
--The New Yorker on Sitting Bull
 
"In this remarkable, tragic portrait, Sitting Bull emerges as a thoughtful, passionate, and very human figure."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Sitting Bull
 
"Splendid. . .a book that has the rare quality of being both an excellent reference work and a pleasure to read."
--The Wall Street Journal on Indian Wars
 
"Yenne's readable, anecdotal style realistically depicts life in combat and on the home front."
--Booklist on Rising Sons

"Lethal-firepower fans should warm to this comprehensive, nicely illustrated account of the weapon that made the drive-by shooting feasible. . . . The tommy gun's enduring image plays as large a part in Yenne's presentation as its technical details and legitimate applications, which only makes this all the more excellent a history of one of the most durable, storied, and deadly of weapons."--Booklist

“To find out everything there is to know about Gen. Thompson’s trench broom, check out Bill Yenne’s Tommy Gun. . . . If you’re looking for fascinating stories, Yenne delivers. . . . Yenne reminds us that every generation is remembered for the artifacts it leaves behind: Harley Davidsons. Route 66. Coonskin caps. The Apollo 11 lunar module. The Tommy gun.”--Bookgasm.com

"An in-depth, entertaining history of the legendary weapon."--Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Bill Yenne and his work:
 
"A must-read."--Shooting Illustrated on Tommy Gun
 
"Excels as a study in leadership."
--The New Yorker on Sitting Bull
 
"In this remarkable, tragic portrait, Sitting Bull emerges as a thoughtful, passionate, and very human figure."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Sitting Bull
 
"Splendid. . .a book that has the rare quality of being both an excellent reference work and a pleasure to read."
--The Wall Street Journal on Indian Wars
 
"Yenne's readable, anecdotal style realistically depicts life in combat and on the home front."
--Booklist on Rising Sons

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Bill Yenne

  • BILL YENNE is the author of more than two dozen books on military and historical topics, including Rising Sons: The Japanese American GIs Who Fought for the United States in World War II; Superfortress: The B-29 and American Airpower in World War II, written with the legendary U.S. Air Force commander General Curtis E. LeMay. He lives in San Francisco, California.

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    Tommy Gun

    How General Thompson's Submachine Gun Wrote History

    Bill Yenne

    • e-Book

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    Thomas Dunne Books

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