Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel by Julia Keller
The Gun That Changed Everything and the Misunderstood Genius Who Invented It

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Synopsis

A provocative look at the life and times of the man who created the original weapon of mass destruction

Drawing on her investigative and literary talents, Julia Keller offers a riveting account of the invention of the world's first working machine gun. Through her portrait of its misunderstood creator, Richard Jordan Gatling-who naively hoped that the overwhelming effectiveness of a multiple-firing weapon would save lives by decreasing the size of armies and reducing the number of soldiers needed to fight-Keller draws profound parallels to the scientists who would unleash America's atomic arsenal half a century later. The Gatling gun, in its combination of ingenuity, idealism, and destructive power, perfectly exemplifies the paradox of America's rise in the nineteenth century to a world superpower.


 

About Julia Keller

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JULIA KELLER was born and raised in West Virginia, and now lives in Chicago and Ohio. In her career as a journalist, she won the Pulitzer Prize for a three-part series she wrote for the Chicago Tribune about a small town in Illinois rocked by a deadly tornado. A Killing in the Hills is her first mystery.
 
Published May 29, 2008 by Penguin Books. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, War, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Jun 02 2008 | Read Full Review of Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel...

Kirkus Reviews

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In 1861, Gatling used a rotary mechanical principle similar to that of his seed planter in a patent for the first useful rapid-fire “battery gun.” Despite his energetic efforts, conservative Union ordinance officials rejected it.

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The New York Times

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She discusses Lincoln’s little-known interest in personally testing new Army weapons and, in a brilliant passage, rhapsodizes about creativity and the Patent Office: “If a country can be said to possess a soul, then America’s is the patent system: the simple, fair method of staking claim to a new...

Nov 07 2008 | Read Full Review of Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel...

Publishers Weekly

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Her subject is the iconic Gatling gun, the “first successful machine gun,” and its inventor, Richard Jordan Gatling, a 19th-century tinkerer and entrepreneur.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine -- a gun -- which could by rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would...supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease be greatly diminished, wrote Richard Ga...

Sep 29 2008 | Read Full Review of Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel...

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