"What of his legacy? One element was beyond dispute. Whatever notoriety the AK-47 and its knock-offs realized, Kalashnikov the man would be sure to defend to the end his nostalgic idea of Soviet days."
In this thoroughly researched book, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist C.J. Chivers explores the history of both small arms and, more specifically, the iconic AK-47, created by a loyal, small town Soviet man. The first hundred pages cover the development, manufacture, and deployment of weapons, dealing with famous figures like Gatling and Hiram Maxim, who was super racist. The rest of the book is about the Kalashnikov and its use in conflicts, wars, and terrorist acts all over the world. It can be a bit technical (I'm not at all a gun person.) and would've benefited from some judicious editing, but you'll learn a lot. There's also an earlier book about the AK-47 by Larry Kahaner.