Book review: Tommy: The Gun That Changed America, by Karen Blumenthal

Blumenthal, Karen. Tommy: The Gun That Changed America. Roaring Brook. 2015. $19.99. 232p. 978-1-62672-084-8. Ages 10-14.  P7Q5

Blumenthal TommyThe tommy gun, the Thompson submachine gun, was well known for much of the 20th century because of its extensive use by gangsters. Blumenthal continues her books about the United States during the 1920s and the 1930s featured in Six Days in October (the stock market crash) and Bootleg (prohibition) by tracing the history of the submachine gun and its impact on the nation’s society. The creator and namesake, John Thompson, developed it for trench warfare, but World War I was almost over by the time that it was ready for sale. When his product went to criminals, J. Edgar Hoover’s control grew through legislation. In the last chapter, the author moves on to briefly discuss rationale for owning guns but provides no solutions for their effect on human life in the United States. Although the subject of the book could be stimulating, the lack of chronology makes the reading difficult, and the muddy black and white photos are dull.

Summer 2015 reviews by Nel Ward.

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