Book Review by David R. Chicoine 1/07
Smith & Wesson American Model ~ In U.S. and Foreign Service. 2006 by Charles W. Pate, 408 pages, approx. 700 illustrations and tables, hard cover with dust jacket. $65.00 + p/h. ISBN: 1-931464-24-3.
Order this book from: Andrew Mowbray Publications/Man at Arms Books, 54 East School St., Woonsocket, RI 02895 www.manatarmsbooks.com
When it was intruduced in 1870, Smith & Wesson's Model Number Three .44 revolver, later known as the American Model, set the firearms industry squarely on its ear. This revolver was so far advanced compared to any other hand gun on the market, that the competition was literally left sitting in a cloud of the small Springfield company's dust. Regretably, it has taken a long time for public at large to understand the real importance of the S&W Model Three. Partly on account of movies and TV and partly because of some early western romance novelists, a good deal of the world has grown up with a slanted picture of the important role these guns played in world history. This reviewer is no exception, until I was about 9 years old, I didn't know anyone in the old west carried anything other than a Colt Peacemaker. More than anything else, "Smith & Wesson American Model" brings to light many heretofor disregarded facts which will help put this great revolver in its proper place in history.
The above paragraph is what the book's publisher, Stuart Mowbray, has to say about this new book by the well known and respected author/historian Charles Pate. After reading the book, I will certify that every word of that is true, but what he can't tell you in such a short statement is the true depth and significance of this work.
As you may know, this reviewer has some experience with older Smith & Wesson's and their history, hence I can say with some authority that this book is nothing short of incredible. For one thing, the author has taken the term "research" to an entirely new level; the depth, quality and consistancy of which is, in this reviewer's opinion, unprecedented. Pate has opened up the history of the people behind these remarkable revolvers like no one ever has and I can't stress that enough, he's done such a thorough job you feel like you were there, actually observing and almost able to interact with the charactors he is talking about. That's a tough thing to do in any book, let alone in a non-fiction historical work.
Pate's new work fills in the blanks in places where, until it was published, we weren't even sure were blanks! This book gets five out of five stars*****, it's a truly wonderful work that no library covering Smith & Wesson, or the American west or 19th century military history is complete without!
Who is the author? Charlie Pate is a gentle, giving soul who loves guns and history. He is also a humble man who is very tight lipped about giving up biographical information, so you won't find much about him in print outside of what you will read here, which he was generous enough to offer to share. These are his own words, they paint a picture of an incredibly full adult life. What he doesn't say (and won't) is that he is one of the most careful and thorough researchers of history you will ever encounter. Charlie is serious and thoughtful in his efforts to uncover the truth about what he loves, those traits are always reflected in his writing.
I was raised in Alabama and graduated from the University of North Alabama with a BA degree in 1967. I had participated in ROTC while there and entered the Army immediately upon graduation, serving initially in armor but later as a fixed wing aircraft pilot and strategic intelligence officer. I received a MS in Management Information Systems in 1977 from the American University and afterwards worked in computer science and project management assignments.
I retired after 20 years of service and began a 16 year career in space and technology work with systems engineering and project management duties. After retiring from industry in 2003, I have since concentrated on military small arms research and writing. While assigned to Washington, D.C. in 1977 I began to do research at the National Archives on military small arms, primarily S&W handguns, and writing articles for gun magazines.
Since then I have published approximately 50 articles and two books and I'm working now on a book covering the US military's Colt Model 1860 revolver (and its Richards conversion variation). In 2004 I took over the Springfield Research Service when Frank Mallory became too ill to continue the work and have since documented the military history of numerous military small arms ranging from ordinary Civil War soldiers' arms to a Custer Battle Colt Single Action Army revolver and five weapons of Spanish-American War Rough Riders.
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