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Book Review of "Glock- The Rise of America's Gun"

Discussion in 'The Book Rack' started by Rob_Roy, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. Rob_Roy


    Sep 16, 2012
    Princeton, NJ
    This book, by Paul Barrett, a business writer for the Bloomberg network, is fantastic. It was published in 2012 and came out in paperback earlier this year. I highly recommend it.

    Even if one does not have an appreciation for firearms, it is worth reading if one is interested in how a better mousetrap is designed, manufactured, marketed, sold and then defended against competitors and critics.

    And, as we all can appreciate, clearly this is a better mousetrap! The Glock semi-automatic pistol is universally regarded as one of the best in the world. It is relatively easy to fire accurately. It is just about indestructible. Having only 38 parts, it is easy to service and clean. It has been romanticized in the popular culture of its time, much like the Winchester '73 rifle and Colt "Peacemaker" revolver were in their times. It has few detractors.

    Remarkably, the Glock has been adopted by the United States and is the semi-automatic handgun of choice among police departments, special forces units and American gun owners, who number in the millions. Remarkable because, before the Glock was introduced to the United States market, Americans had a huge bias in favor of revolvers -- not pistols -- and guns made in the USA.

    The book contains several stories in one; including, the fascinating account of how Gaston Glock, a middle-aged, Austrian curtain-rod maker designed his eponymous handgun without any experience in firearms design; how this predominately plastic and wholly foreign pistol made huge inroads into the American market; how the company was able to neutralize its competitors; how the company dealt with constant attacks by gun opponents as well as the occasional irrationality of the gun lobby; and how the company dealt with various bizarre internal issues ranging from an assassination attempt on its founder to fraud by some of its high level managers.

    Mr. Barrett has done a wonderful job in producing a well-written, objective chronicle of the rise of the Glock. Business students interested in the areas of product design, manufacturing, quality control, marketing, governmental relations, risk and crisis management as well as leadership studies would find this book instructive and entertaining.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
    gt1122 likes this.
  2. captcurly


    Sep 14, 2008
    Southern Delaware
    Thanks for the heads up on this book. Tomorrow I will attempt to download it into my Kindle. I have been a Glock guy since 1988 and thank you again.

  3. Klaatu


    Jul 22, 2008
    Just finished this book as multiple copies were available from my local library.

    In general, I found it a worthwhile read. I like Glock's products but after reading the book, not so much the man nor the people he surrounds himself with. Also interesting but not surprising is how often the G22 is mentioned since Glock's largest market is U.S. law enforcement.

    Noticed author (Barrett) is a forum member and has a devoted web site.
  4. Capttjk


    Feb 6, 2005
    Well said. I read the book last week. A good read. Glock is a great gun, but I have less respect for Gaston after reading the book.
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  5. Nagoya10


    Feb 28, 2008
    I just finished reading this book last night. A very impressive, well researched book and I learned a tremendous amount about some of the various gun control events from the past and the behind the scenes efforts of Glock in dealing with them that were detailed in the book. One thing that became quite clear as you go farther into the book, the author, Paul Barrett, has some gun control tendencies and mimics some of the typical libtard crap of how you don't need more than 10 round magazines and universal background checks and a national data base are a great idea and seems to believe some of the marxists ideas on limiting gun sales and other restrictions are a good idea. He does approach these in a more analytical way and tries to link (unfortunately) some of the police involved shootings where large numbers of rounds were fired by multiple officers at a single individual as partially able to occur because magazines have so many rounds. He does not appear to support gun control in the main, however, and shows how some of these gun control pushes in the past failed. These are about the only negatives I found in the book.

    As for the positives, it pulls the sheets off of Glock Inc. and shows some of the intrigue, greed, tax evasion, fraud, political maneuvering, egos, sex and the outright dominance of Gaston Glock in his firearm company. It also reveals much about Gaston Glock and gives a real insight on this highly secretive man. The description of his personality and actions can be compared in many ways, in my opinion only, to another very famous Austrian: Adolf Hitler. Gaston is NOT a Hitler in the sense of racism and murder, however. But his arrogance, dominance, selfishness and overriding belief that he is right on everything does compare. However, I have seen this same trait in many Europeans, especially Germans, so maybe its a cultural thing. It was pointed out that Gaston does not like Americans, he thinks we are "stupid." I suppose if a person was to get their education of Americans through the mainstream media and our politicians a person may believe that. But I think in Gaston's case its because of his huge arrogance and failing to look beyond his narrow perception. Although Gaston strongly dominates the company and its direction, reading between the lines it also appears the American branch, which is the largest and most profit making part of Glock, is pretty much allowed to be run as seen fit by those in charge of it. It appears one of the reasons Jannuzzo was able to steal for so long and so easily from the company is because of the independence they have over here.

    It gives a great history of the development of the pistol and how some forward thinking sales people in the company, primarily Karl Walter, got this pistol out there and did some innovative things to get it well known, popular and most of all, desired by the gun buying public, police and governments. The book is not a technical treatise so if you are looking for descriptions of the different models and mechanical things this book will not satisfy you. This book shows the people behind the Glock and how the company has become a giant in the industry, politics, manufacturing, gun culture and of course pistol sales. There also is no talk of prototypes or any upcoming designs.

    Overall this is an excellent book and if you are a Glocker this book would be of great interest. If not for some of his anti-gun views, which are very mild considering Barrett is a journalist, this would be a top 10 book in the firearms world.
  6. Klaatu


    Jul 22, 2008
    Exactly. Barrett is a business journalist so this book is written from that perspective. It is a study in humanities rather than a technical manual and will not disappoint if you approach it that way.
  7. znzn


    Dec 17, 2015
    The book is great. It's how I found this forum, and I learned more about the history of politics/guns.

    I love the chapter where Barrett is practicing to shoot a Glock with Ayoob and Pepin at their backyard range. "My heart was beating quickly. I wanted to go again."

    The description of Glock trade show antics make my simultaneously laugh and cry, I work in this industry. "Hiring a professional stripper, Walter hoped, might turn heads" Booth babes, whatever. Guns and sex, right? I was please to read "To everyones surprise, she was the top shooter in the class and was the only one who finished all written tests 100%"
  8. domino1


    Mar 24, 2013
    I ordered the book and cannot wait to read it. Thanks for the comments.
  9. rangerhgm

    rangerhgm NRA Member

    Sep 22, 2005
    Beavercreek, OH
    I finished it a few weeks ago (down load from our library)

    It was a very intriguing read and I learned so much about the history of Glock and "gun rights" during the period of Glock's development and rise up through the gun world.

    I did however lose a lot of respect for Gaston and his organization overall.
  10. Lockback

    Lockback Polymerlicious!

    Nov 23, 2009
    I read it a couple of years ago and echo the comments of others. I've always been fascinated with the Glock design itself and how it came to be. I think there's still a shroud of secrecy regarding who actually designed it but the end result completely revolutionized the handgun business.
    As others have stated, it's not a flattering picture of Gaston, however. He comes across as arrogant and creepy.
  11. domino1


    Mar 24, 2013
    Like you guys I was always impressed with the firearms, but came away not being impressed with Gaston.