Tech’s McKevitt chronicles origins of America’s gun culture in newest book

Nov 21, 2023 | Faculty/Staff, General News, Liberal Arts

John D. Winters Endowed Professor of History at Louisiana Tech Dr. Andrew C. “Drew” McKevitt offers a well-researched and precisely written historical account of the transformation of guns in our culture in his most recent book, Gun Country: Gun Capitalism, Culture & Control in Cold War America, published by The University of North Carolina Press.

The 336-page paperback is available on most any website that sells books.

“. . . an original way of understanding a stunning and enduring increase in gun ownership in the US,” Kirkus Reviews reads. “. . . . McKevitt offers a compelling argument about where the extremity of America’s permissiveness toward deadly weaponry originated and how debates on the Second Amendment’s meaning have evolved in response to shifting cultural preoccupations. He also makes a persuasive appeal for how the human costs of mass gun ownership could be mitigated.”

McKevitt suggests that gun culture in America is “very much a modern phenomenon, and specifically a post-1945 one, a product of attitudes shaped by the Second World War and the Cold War and a material world of guns made possible by postwar consumer capitalism and invented by its more imaginative entrepreneurs,” he writes in the book’s introduction, which begins with a tragic real-life illustration that, during the past decade, compelled him to explore America as “the gun country.”

In her review Nov. 9, nonfiction book critic for The Washington Post Becca Rothfeld offered this opinion: “Sharp, fascinating, devastating, exhaustively researched and often wryly funny, this indispensable book — one of the best works of nonfiction this year — details how America came to be not just a gun country but the gun country.” The Post also included Gun Country on its list of 2023’s best nonfiction books.” 

McKevitt’s other recent work on the subject includes articles he’s written for both Time and MSNBC. His earlier work includes Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s America, published in 2017.