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The Armed Librarian by Charles Priore
  Charles F. Priore, Jr. is an academic science librarian at two very elite liberal arts colleges in southern Minnesota. He has been in academia for over 35 years and previously worked at the State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of California–Davis.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Masters degree in Information and Library Science. Raised in Buffalo, NY, he credits his uncles (all deceased and sorely missed) for steering him towards a passion for firearms, hunting and reloading.

Charlie has traveled to Europe for pleasure, but has also hunted in South Africa and Argentina. He has published 17 articles in both academic journals and in the popular literature.

For 35 years he has battled political correctness in academia and continues to do so; converting many students along the way. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and two teenage daughters. He can be reached at:
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Summer reading list 2015   

Summer reading list 2015



Exams have concluded, and the students are packing up belongings and making their way home for the summer. I can only hope they are taking some books to read over the hiatus, but that is anyone’s guess.


And so as in past years I have come up with two wonderful books to keep you company over this three-month siesta. The first is simply titled The Gun. On the cover is a picture of an AK-47 and you would think that this is the exclusive subject matter of this tome. But you would be fooled unless you opened the cover. This marvelous tract is more than just a book regarding the AK. It is a history of the machine gun from the earliest times before Gatling and Maxim and then on to Browning, some lesser notables and finally Mikhail Kalashnikov.


What makes this fascinating reading is the long resistance to the machine gun and the role it could play in battle. Hard to believe but the Germans and the Russians saw the value of the fully automatic weapon and how to use it long before the Americans and especially the British. The Brits wouldn’t catch on to the fact that charging emplaced Maxims (WW I) in long rows was simply not a good idea. The Americans put Gatlings to good purpose by the creativeness of a Lieutenant Parker who used them at the Battle of San Juan Hill to more or less keep the heads down of Spaniards who were firing from an elevated entrenched position onto the Rough Riders below.


C.J. Chivers builds up the suspense beautifully for about 175 pages and then comes the creation of the AK-47. What I found enjoyable was the myth busting employed by the author. For example Mikhail Kalashnikov did not design this weapon by himself. It was really designed by committee. And then when it became successful a slew of Commies wanted to take credit for the development despite the fact that they had never held one, no less fired it. A few more interesting tidbits; the AK is a medium range weapon, of about 350 meters. It has sloppy tolerances, so much so engineers had to find ways to make it malfunction. It has few parts, so an uneducated peasant from just about any country in the world can disassemble it and get back to fully operational in a very short period of time.  Most disconcerting is the cartridge it fires. The 7.62 x 39mm is a devastating round. Chivers, who’s a veteran U.S. Marine captain, makes the gruesome discovery that you would be more likely to survive a roadside bomb before taking a bullet from the AK.  Most disconcerting indeed!


My second pick for Summer 2015 is yet another in a long list of beautiful books written by hunter extraordinaire Tony Sanchez-Arino. If you have not discovered this fine gentleman then it is time you do so. Tony is a “tell it like it is” or in this particular book like it “was.” This is truly a walk down memory lane for Tony who is now in his eighties. This recollection of hunting stories is so superb and timely. I have a difficulty not wanting to just read the book straight through, but I would rather savor it a wee bit at a time.


Mr. Arino makes no bones about hunting. His tally is most impressive including 127 black rhinos, 167 leopards, 340 lions, 1,317 elephants and 2,092 buffaloes. But what sets him apart from so many others is his matter-of-fact writing style in which he calmly describes the risks inherent in hunting African big game. The one and only time where he thought he was going to meet his maker via a Cape buffalo (“A Little Respect for the Poor Buffaloes) is carefully described in honest detail. In fact, Tony makes it clear that it was a consecutive number of small mistakes that added up to a colossal blunder that nearly took his life. It is well worth reading this chapter several times to see how the innocuous can cost you dearly.


Tony also pulls no punches with the corrupt governments of Africa. Come to think of it, there is not a single country on the entire continent that is thriving. His encounters of incompetence, corruption, and never to be downplayed, poaching, is enough to make anyone’s blood pressure creep up a little.  In short, the Africa that he knew, no longer exists and it will not return. A very sad story indeed.


This intrepid blogger has his books and three months of “sabbatical” left to go. So get some brain food and enjoy!


Chivers, C. J. The Gun. 1st ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010.


Sanchez-Arino, Tony. Between the Congo River and the White Nile. 1st ed. 2015. Long Beach, California, Safari Press.


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