View Full Version : Please recommend Kalashnikov books

05-02-2011, 5:23 AM
I would like to read more about the Kalashnikov, can you please recommend some good books.

05-02-2011, 6:10 AM
"The Gun" by C .J. Chivers. Its a keeper, just came out last year. He's a former Marine and a war corrospondent to the NY Times. Start with the history of Machine guns in general, goes on to devolpment, distribution, comparison to the Armys Vietnam era AR-15 and the Kalashnikov's role and use in proxy wars and third world conflicts.

No politics, except to critisize the US's ill concieved "assault weapon" ban. He does suggest that the available number of AK versions in evil hands world wide will cause carnage and be the weapon of choice for everyone from terrorists to despotic governments for the next few hundred years or so. AK, the orginal weapon of mass destruction

Bam! 10 bucks

05-02-2011, 6:36 AM
That book got panned by the critics, check out the reviews on Amazon.


Here's a quote from one review, "I was left with the impression this book was written specifically to foster negative impressions toward the Kalashnikov. There was absolutely no mention of legal, lawful use of Kalashnikov rifles whatsoever. The author even admits "Kalashnikovs doing good work doesn't sell newspapers or rock CDs" (ref: end of Chap. 5). For people who lack or ignore critical thinking skills and are inclined to blame guns, this book is for you.

The title is misleading, as this book focuses more on the social effect of the Kalashnikov, not the gun itself."

Here's another bit I found interesting, some info about the author, he's british. Reading a modern brit's book on small arms is like going to a Catholic priest for marrige advise, or asking a lifelong vegatarian for his recipe for steak and kidney pie...

"I also noticed traces of British in the author's writing style. I'm not an Anglophobe, but I do take British gun writing skills with a pound or two of salt. They're under tight censorship as far as minute details of weapons, machine guns in particular. Further, most Britons lack access to military small arms, limiting their personal experience. This book reflects this. As such, this book contains numerous technical errors. It also doesn't seem to differentiate between semi-automatic and machine gun, which has a profound legal implications particularly in the US*. It almost seemed like at times the author didn't even care.

As a former Eastern-bloc small arms subject matter resource, I was profoundly disappointed with the almost complete lack of development detail, and no mention of progression, model variation and modernization."

* I was impressed by Chivers pains to explain that the Semi Auto AKM clones for sale in the US are not machine guns. They are SA clones that can not be put in the same catagory, legally or mechanically, as their FA relations, no matter how scary they look. He doesnt even really talk about SA clones in the US except to make that important destinction.

C. J. Chivers does dwell on the negative aspects a bit, its hard not to, but it in the last bit of the last chapter. His book is historical, it deconstructs the "sociaist hero" myth of the AK as being designed and built by a single soviet tank mechanic and stays away from the theme of, guns r bad, derp derp etc...

05-02-2011, 7:08 AM
One of my gun mags just recommended a book on the AK, supposedly it has pictures and specs for just about all known variants. Apparently it doesn't have a whole lot on the history of the AK though.


05-02-2011, 7:26 AM
That one looks good, silly name though. Six hundred + pages with detailed pictures and illustrations. It seems there are two types of AK books, well three if you count whiny gun grabbers, Historical/ political and Technical.

I collect books on guns, so I am always looking a threads about them, they seem to be rare these days...

Of course the price starts at $85 bucks... I picked this little part out of a review, "This book also has virtually the only accurate coverage of semi-automatic AK versions available in the US.." I would like to see whats in there. Thanks for the tip.

05-02-2011, 7:35 AM

I understand this 1986 version of Ezells book is pretty damn good. Written by a Curator of the Division of Armed Forces History at the National Museum of American History, Edward C. Ezell

05-02-2011, 8:52 AM
I read the gun it was very informative, not only about the AK's but about the history and development of modern fully automatic weapons.

05-02-2011, 9:09 AM
I have this one, pretty good I think:


05-02-2011, 10:01 AM

05-02-2011, 10:07 AM
I just got this book from Midway. It is an AK enthusiast's DREAM. Hardcover, check. Color Photos, check. Comprehensive history of everything relating to the Kalashnikov weapons design, CHECK. Absolutely a must-have for probably 95% of Calgunners.

One of my gun mags just recommended a book on the AK, supposedly it has pictures and specs for just about all known variants. Apparently it doesn't have a whole lot on the history of the AK though.

Whoever said that must be confusing it with another book.

06-11-2011, 9:40 AM
I have these books for sale, if you are interested.


The Gleam
06-11-2011, 11:23 AM
One of my favorite books on the AK47 is entitled:

"The Complete Kalashnikov Family of Assault Rifles" by Duncan Long,
Paladin Press / 1988 - ISBN: 0-87364-477-8. Can usually be had for under $12.00 . I picked one up in a used bookstore years ago for $5.00 - looked like new, never opened.


Very informative, inexpensive, smaller book that can be carried most anywhere (about 3/4" thick, 185 pages, 4.5" X 9". Not very pictorial, and most depictions are drawn diagrams) but the info is great - includes info on parts, cleaning, troubleshooting, and actual photographs of the parts where it matters most (even if black&white only and small). And as I said, a great carry-around book to read on trains and planes while traveling, fits well in luggage, small spaces, etc. Great history including the rifles that influenced its design, background history, and evolution discussing most all models.

That's my recommendation for a starter. f4tweet has the EXACT same gray cover with yellow & red title/copy I have, in his for-sale thread.