In Arms: The Culture and Credo of the Gun, novelist, sports shooter and former army reservist A.J. Somerset offers up one of the first looks at the gun as the pre-eminent cultural symbol of power in North America and asks how it got that way. Touring through the various cultural battlefields of 19th- and 20th-century Canada and the United States, including film, literature, music, video games, and history, Somerset charts how the gun went from a tool in the hands of the earliest North American pioneers, used to defend the homestead and put food on the table, to a kind of totem, instantly capable of dividing communities. Sharp-eyed and ascerbic, surehanded and sportive, Arms presents an intellectual and cultural history that is certain to enrage, entertain and provoke debate, while showing that the gun cultures of Canada and the United States may not be so different after all. If guns, as the NRA often exclaims, do not kill people, Somerset shows how it is that the idea of thegun has become one many have believed worth dying for.
A.J. Somerset's non-fiction has appeared in numerous outdoor magazines, and his first novel, Combat Camera, won the Metcalf- Rooke Award