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Guns on the Early Frontiers

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Guns on the Early Frontiers
From Colonial Times to the Years of the Western Fur Trade. By Carl P. Russell. (Dover Publications, Mineola, New York: 2005. Pg. xv. 395. Illustrations.) ISBN: 0-486-43681-0.

Reviewed by Herbert White - June 22, 2005

In Guns on the Early Frontiers - From Colonial Times to the Years of the Western Fur Trade, Carl P. Russell has compiled a thorough reference book on the armaments used in America up to the mid-nineteenth century. This text provides a wealth of information on weapons ranging from muskets and flintlock to howitzers and small cannons, how they functioned, and how they were bought or traded. Beginning in the colonial period, this book also examines the purposes for which the weapons were used, and to what effectiveness, by Native Americans, settlers, soldiers, trappers, and traders.

This text is divided into six chapters:
  1. Arming the American Indian
  2. Personal Weapons of the Traders and Trappers
  3. Trade Muskets and Rifles Supplied to the Indians
  4. Military Arms of the Fur-Trade Period
  5. Powder, Ball, and Accessories
  6. Small Cannon of the Traders and their Military
Throughout the text is accompanied by fifty-eight illuminating illustrations, as well as detailed descriptions that will help collectors and historians easily identify these weapons. In addition, this text is filled with a wealth of gun lore, historical facts, and intriguing insights into the functionality of these early guns. Authoritative, and well-written, this text is a must have for anyone with an interest in the history of the American gun trade and the weapons used throughout the colonial period through the mid-nineteenth century. Text includes a glossary of gun terms, a bibliography, and extensive endnotes. Guns on the Early Frontiers is ideal for gun enthusiasts as well as historians, archaeologist, museum curators, writers, and anyone else seeking a solid reference book on early American weaponry.

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