Revolver: Sam Colt and the Six-Shooter That Changed America (Hardcover)

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Description


A sweeping, definitive biography of Samuel Colt—the inventor of the legendary Colt revolver (a.k.a. six-shooter)—which changed the US forever, triggering the industrial revolution and the settlement of the American West.

Patented in 1836, the Colt pistol with its revolving cylinder was the first practical firearm that could shoot more than one bullet without reloading. For many reasons, Colt’s gun had a profound effect on American history. Its most immediate impact was on the expansionism of the American west, where white emigrants and US soldiers came to depend on it, and where Native Americans came to dread it. The six-shooter became the iconic weapon of gun-slingers, outlaws, and cowboys—some willing to pay $500 out west for a gun that sold for $25 back east.

In making the revolver, Colt also changed American manufacturing—his factory revolutionized industry in the United States. Ultimately, Colt and his gun-making brought together the two most significant forces of change before the Civil War—the industrial revolution in the east, Manifest Destiny in the west.

Brilliantly told, Revolver brings the brazenly ambitious and profoundly innovative industrialist and leader Samuel Colt to vivid life. In the space of his forty-seven years, he seemingly lived five lives: he traveled, womanized, drank prodigiously, smuggled guns to Russia, bribed politicians, and supplied the Union Army with the guns they needed to win the Civil War. Colt lived during an age of promise and progress, but also of slavery, corruption, and unbridled greed, and he not only helped to create this America, he completely embodied it. By the time he died in 1862 in Hartford, Connecticut, he was one of the most famous men in nation, and one of the richest.

While Revolver is a riveting and revealing biography of Colt, a man who made significant contributions to our country during the nineteenth century, it’s also a lively and informative historical portrait of America during a time of extraordinary transformation.

About the Author


Jim Rasenberger is the author of four books—Revolver; The Brilliant Disaster; America, 1908; and High Steel—and has contributed to the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Smithsonian, and other publications. A native of Washington, DC, he lives in New York City.

Praise For…


“The story of how Colt raised himself from frontier huckster to great American industrialist is the subject of Jim Rasenberger’s lively and balanced new book, Revolver: Sam Colt and the Six-Shooter That Changed America. Rasenberger’s narrative is, to a surprising degree, the story of America in the first half of the 19th century. It overflows with relentless ambition, energy, entrepreneurship, ingenuity and wealth, and with deceit, fraud, jingoism and murder.” —Washington Post

“[Colt's] missteps are as fascinating as his accomplishments, as described in Revolver: Sam Colt and the Six-Shooter That Changed America. Cleareyed and honest, Rasenberger portrays a complicated figure who combined real mechanical insight with a talent for hucksterism... Revolver is rewarding biography, highlighting Colt’s place in the history of industrialization.” —The New York Times Book Review

 “Colt may have lived only 47 years, but he managed to pack in multiple lives during that brief span...Few will get much closer than Mr. Rasenberger has to this singular character...Revolver, written with a journalist’s sense of color and a historian’s eye for the revealing detail, is an exceptional biography of an archetypal 19th-century American inventor and businessman.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Offering a panoramic view of American culture during Colt’s life, Rasenberger covers everything from bad poetry and cholera epidemics to the politics of slavery and Western expansion…Like most technologies, Colt’s revolving firearms did not take off until they found users, and it’s here that Rasenberger’s account most excels…Revolver helps us see…how Colt’s story and the story of his methods fit within the United States’s own imperial ambitions.” —LA Review of Books

“Rasenberger deftly brings to life the man and his times in this gripping biography that does admirable work updating scholarship about Colt...The result is a very lively and informative book for every reader interested in American history and all of the nation’s flaws and virtues.” —Booklist

“This rollicking and informative account will delight American history buffs.” —Publishers Weekly

“Vigorous...With Colt’s invention, by popular historian and journalist Rasenberger’s account, two great forces met, one economic and the other demographic. Here was an invention more important than the mechanical reaper or cotton gin, one that, with all its murderous possibilities, gave specific force to Manifest Destiny and the conquest of the continent…A solid blend of technological, economic, social, and popular history.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The legendary Colt revolver played an outsized role in the violent conquest of the American West, and it lives on in the national psyche. But the remarkable story of its creator, Samuel Colt, one of the wealthiest and most influential figures of the nineteenth century United States, has been all but lost to history. Author Jim Rasenberger masterfully restores Sam Colt to his rightful place among the titans of American industry and drivers of American destiny in this rousing and riveting biography. A hard-drinking, prodigious womanizer, Colt suborned politicians and brutalized competitors to establish his place as a visionary creator of the American gun culture. Revolver brilliantly recreates Colt’s life and the tumultuous era in our nation’s history that he helped shape.” —Peter Cozzens, author of The Earth Is Weeping and Shenandoah 1862

“The extraordinary story of an extraordinary man in an extraordinary country. Sam Colt may not have made all men equal, but Jim Rasenberger’s Revolver leaves us all knowing so much more about our past. A well-researched, brilliantly written history.” —Kevin Baker, author of America the Ingenious

“Nothing screams ‘America!’ like the Colt revolver—the legendary six-shooter is as closely woven into the national fabric as baseball, apple pie, and immigration. This gobsmacking true story brings to life the rollicking tale of brash and muscular Sam Colt. The ‘revolver man’ was filled with contradictions—just like the young republic his six-shooters came to represent. A heartfelt western hat-tip to Jim Rasenberger for bringing us the definitive tale.” —Gregory Crouch, author of The Bonanza King

“Sam Colt, quirky entrepreneur and era-defining tycoon, is one of American history’s most colorful characters. How can you not like someone who sells hits of laughing gas to the American public in order to finance his gun factories? Rasenberger captures this and other details in this comprehensive biography.”  —S.C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Hymns of the Republic

“Colt: Can there be another bearer of a name so famous whose career is so little known? Which is all the more puzzling given what an astonishing career it was. But now Jim Rasenberger puts matters to rights with his wonderfully vivid biography. Not only are we offered a story of the highest historical consequence, but one full of suspense, surprises, scurrility, and bad faith alongside heroic dedication to a nation-changing technology, tangy gossip, and an 1840s murder trial whose lurid details still have the power to shock. Revolver is every bit as entertaining as it is valuable.” —Richard Snow, author of Disney’s Land and Iron Dawn
Product Details
ISBN: 9781501166389
ISBN-10: 1501166387
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: May 26th, 2020
Pages: 448
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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