Back when the book Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun first came out, I was contacted by the author and/or publisher about reviewing it. They would send me a free copy of the book in exchange for a review on my blog. I wasn’t interested. First, I’m not a Glock guy. Second, my blog isn’t a place for pimping and promoting stuff — if I do mention a product or service, it’s because I want to, it’s because I have a personal interest, and generally I spent my own personal money to obtain it. I really don’t want to shill for things because then you can only wonder if my motives are true or if someone’s paying me. I mean, look at most any magazine that promotes some product or lifestyle (it doesn’t matter: guns, fitness, fashion, guitars, home improvement, etc.). Notice they have advertisers all over the pages? Then notice what the magazine must also review? Do you think bad reviews are going to sell ad space? So how honest can those reviews really be?
That said, the Glock book came out in paperback back in January 2013, and they asked me again if I wanted to review.
About a month later I responded and agreed.
I agreed because I decided I wanted to read the book, and if I can get a free copy to read, why not? If the price to pay is a review on my blog, then so be it… because I’m not sure they’ll want me to review things again. 🙂
No, this isn’t a very favorable review. If I am going to review things here, I’m going to give my straight opinion on it, even if that’s saying it sucks. It’s my “no bullshit” rule in life, and I won’t set that aside for anyone.
I didn’t care much for the book.
It took me a couple months to finish reading it. I had other things going on in life and the book was low priority, but it was relegated to the bathroom for reading. So I’d read a few pages here and there, and eventually got through it.
At first, I was very turned off by the book. I was mistaken in my expectations for the book. I thought it was a biography of Gaston Glock. It started off that way, but didn’t keep going that way. It annoyed me because I thought either the author, Paul M. Barrett, was a shitty writer, or that I was duped. But it was just my own misconception, and, frankly, once I realized it was more a “biography” of the Glock gun itself, that made things clearer. Then looking back over the chapters already read, it made more sense. So if you keep that in mind — that it’s a “biography” of the gun itself, it’s not so bad.
And truly, the Glock handgun did a lot to change the face of firearms, police, personal defense, the firearms industry, music, Hollywood, etc.. So I agree that there’s an interesting and compelling story to tell here.
But I didn’t care for the telling of the story.
I guess I’m getting old and tired of drama.
Even as a kid I preferred non-fiction over fiction. Oh sure, some fiction is good and enjoyable. But I remember as a kid in elementary school when every other kid was reading stuff like The Phantom Tollbooth I was checking and rechecking out these books on “how to play chess” from the school library. Even today when people talk about their reading lists and have all this fiction, be it Harry Potter or 50 Shades or whatever, I’m reading books on how to program in Ruby. I’m not a total stick in the mud, but that’s just my preference.
So perhaps that’s why the Glock book turned me off. Sure it had some “just the facts, ma’am” stuff in there, but a lot of the book came off as an attempt to make some sort of “reality TV dramatic thriller” out of the book. All the sex, lies, and dirty politics… and let’s throw in a little more sex and intrigue. A bunch of “he said, she said” anecdotes, etc.. Really, it felt like Barrett was writing with the hopes of making it into a screenplay, or at least a reality TV show.
Maybe that’s the way to write today to appeal to today’s audience? I don’t know. But it just wasn’t my thing. If it’s your thing, great.
I did appreciate getting some level of insight into the Glock gun’s history. I did like reading some of the stories, like Barrett’s time with Mas Ayoob to help gain some experiences for writing the book. But I guess I would have preferred a straight history book instead of a dramatic regaling, at least for this subject matter.
I was also annoyed by the end of the book, since it had advocations of “See? This is how evil guns are, thanks in part to Glock… so we need to increase gun control”. Yeah… not the sort of book or author I’d like to support. So I guess I’m glad I got to read the book for free.
Best I can say is the book was a way to pass the time while sitting on the toilet.