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My Journey at the Nuclear Brink
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The Mighty Eighth in WWII

Gunsmoke and Saddle LeatherGunsmoke and Saddle Leather

Firearms in the Nineteenth-Century American West

Charles G. Worman

Narrated by Micah W. Lee

Available from Audible

Book published by University of New Mexico Press

The gun, like the axe and the plow, was an essential tool in the exploration and settlement of the trans-Mississippi West. It provided food for the cooking pot as well as protection against two- or four-legged marauders. As the century progressed, firearms also provided various forms of recreation for both men and women, primarily target and competition shooting.

Of course the employment of the gun, whether for good or evil, depended upon the user. The men and women who lived the nineteenth-century western experience sometimes described in detail the role firearms played in their lives. Such accounts included a trapper in the 1830s, a woman crossing the plains by wagon in the 1850s, a drover ("cowboy" in modern terminology) enduring the dangers of a long cattle drive, a professional hunter engaged in the slaughter of the once seemingly endless herds of bison, or a soldier campaigning against American Indians. Each account adds to our knowledge of firearms and our awareness of the struggle faced by those who were a part of the western experience. Gunsmoke and Saddle Leather describes the gun's impact on the lives of those in the West — men and women, whites and American Indians — using their own words to tell that story wherever possible.

Charles G. Worman spent more than thirty years with the National Museum of the U. S. Air Force, retiring as deputy director. He has written extensively on antique guns, is a fellow of the Company of Military Historians, and has served as a firearms consultant to museums.


“This is not a book to be taken lightly..but one that will literally provide hours of reading pleasure...It is representative of extensive detailed research, great writing and all that a fine book should be. It is a tremendous addition to anyone's library, or living room!”

The Gun Report

“This massive book with expert text... is a 'must have' for gun collectors, historians of the American West and fans of western stories, movies, and TV shows.”

Salem Statesman Journal

“Worman is an able and entertaining guide, a scholar with no real agenda aside from the communication of his passion. His book is a skilled and valuable addition to a difficult genre.”

New West

“This is a book not only for gun fans, but also for anyone interested in the Western frontier as it advanced and the people who pushed it west during a violent time.”

The Norman Transcript

“This book is a compelling look at the history of firearms usage in the trans-Mississippi West, often told in the words of the men and women for whom the firearm was an essential part of daily life.”

New Mexico Magazine

“This is a most impressive work. It is a huge volume, yet the binding is solid, photographs reproduced clearly, captions clear, type not too small-those elements that sometimes mar large books are here to benefit us all... This is a very worthwhile addition to our NOLA library, whether an avid gun collector or just appreciate the weaponry used by outlaws and lawmen, and virtually all other populations who lived in the west.”

NOLA: Quarterly of the National Association for Outlaw and Lawmen History, Inc.

“The reader has only to open this large volume at any page to immediately find things of interest...This is a coffee-table book of the best kind because you will want to keep it handy, with a pot of cowboy coffee alongside. And, you will find yourself coming back to it time after time.”

The Journal of Arizona History

“Anyone who wants to know the role of the gun in the nineteenth-century West can do no better than this massive and important reference work by Charles G. Worman.”

New Mexico Historical Review

“If you have an interest in antique firearms of the nineteenth century American West, and enjoy first-hand accounts by the very people who used them, then you are in for a real treat with this huge book....a good, enjoyable and entertaining read for just about anyone.”

The Texas Gun Collector

“Worman's attention to detail, use of a surprisingly large number of primary sources, and encyclopedic coverage of firearms in the West would benefit even the most knowledgeable 'gun guy' in a search for information.”

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal

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