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 Tommy : the gun that changed America
 Author: Blumenthal, Karen

 Publisher:  Roaring Brook Press (2015)

 Dewey: 355.824
 Classification: Nonfiction
 Physical Description: 232 p., ill., map, 23 cm.

 BTSB No: 128852 ISBN: 9781626720848
 Ages: 10-14 Grades: 5-9

 Thompson submachine gun -- History

Price: $23.98

The story of Tommy, the first commercially available automatic weapon, the Thompson Machine Gun.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 8.30
   Points: 6.0   Quiz: 175610
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 6-8
   Reading Level: 11.70
   Points: 10.0   Quiz: 67151

Common Core Standards 
   Grade 6 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 6.RI Key Ideas & Details
   Grade 6 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 6.RI Craft & Structure
   Grade 7 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 7.RI Key Ideas & Details
   Grade 7 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 7.RI Craft & Structure
   Grade 7 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 7.RI Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
   Grade 8 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 8.RI Key Ideas & Details
   Grade 8 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 8.RI Craft & Structure
   Grade 8 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 8.RI Integration of Knowledge & Ideas

   Kirkus Reviews (+) (04/15/15)
   School Library Journal (+) (06/01/15)
   Booklist (+) (06/01/15)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/15)
 The Hornbook (00/07/15)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 06/01/2015 *Starred Review* As she did in her Sibert Honor Book Six Days in October (2003) and Bootleg (2011), Blumenthal offers up a fascinating study of America in the 1920s and 1930s. During the Prohibition era, the Thompson submachine gun became as infamous as the gangsters—Al Capone, John Dillinger, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly, to name a few—who wielded violence with it. Peppered with action-filled scenes and period photographs, this account traces the history of the early automatic weapon and its continuing impact on American society. Its creator and namesake, Lieutenant Colonel John Thompson, envisioned American soldiers with light, automatic rifles that could be used in trench warfare, but by the time Thompson was able to manufacture and sell the weapon in 1918, WWI was coming to a close. Soon the surplus tommy guns made their way into the hands of criminals. In engaging and original prose, Blumenthal describes how the early twentieth-century crime sprees eventually caught national attention and were glorified in Hollywood movies. The ensuing war on crime not only shaped the career of J. Edgar Hoover but also initiated some of the first gun legislation and triggered debate over Second Amendment rights. The questions the tommy gun raised are still up for discussion. This thoroughly researched, compulsive read is another Blumenthal winner. A bang-up look at American history. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.

Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2015 Although the rapid-fire Gatling gun was introduced in the Civil War, the United States military resisted its widespread use on the battlefield: effective, yes, but heavy and somehow not gentlemanly enough for the conventions of war at the time. Eventually, though, a lieutenant and an ordnance officer, John Henry Parker and John Thompson, recognized rapid-fire weaponry as the wave of the future and promoted the Gatling Gun during the Spanish American War. Still, the military balked, and the World War I armistice came and went without significant machine-gun development. Thompson left the military to start his own development company, Auto-Ordnance, to perfect a lighter weight, single-operator gun—a weapon that would become known as the Thompson Submachine Gun, or Tommy gun. In the early 1920s many landed, amid scandal, in the hands of the Irish Republican Army; by the mid 1920s, Tommy became the weapon of choice for Chicago gangsters. Auto-Ordnance’s infamy grew as its carefully cultivated markets expanded to Depression-era crime-spree criminals and corporations threatened by labor unrest. In this fascinating slice of American social history, Blumenthal traces not only the development of the gun itself but also the struggles between pro- and anti-gun control advocates, whose concerns had previously been limited to regulation of concealed weapons. Those who pay even passing interest to the news will find early iterations of current issues throughout Tommy gun’s story: financiers’ narrow interests in sales; gun sales to foreign governments; gun smuggling to paramilitary organizations; licensing and registration policies; evolving interpretations of the Second Amendment. Chapter notes and a thematic bibliography will assist researchers, but expect that many teens will read this simply as a great story well told. EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

School Library Journal - 06/01/2015 Gr 6 Up—The history of the Thompson submachine gun is the story of a tumultuous period in American history, marked by Prohibition, the Great Depression, two world wars, and violence. Originally developed by John Thompson as a lightweight, automatic rifle to be used by American soldiers, the Tommy gun was invented in 1918—too late for mass distribution during World War I—and wasn't officially adopted by the U.S. Army until World War II. Very quickly, however, the gun that was "built for the battlefield, turned loose on the American streets" became popular with gangsters, bank robbers, strike busters, and others who appreciated its compact size and ability to spray hundreds of bullets in a matter of seconds. Attempts to limit distribution of such a powerful weapon to law-enforcement and military personnel were stymied and, in some cases, opposed by groups who supported the right to bear arms. A discussion of the development of gun control legislation is woven throughout the book, and an extensive bibliography and source notes are appended. Blumenthal breathes life into this seemingly off-putting subject, relating individual cases in which the Tommy gun made history and delving into the exciting tales of notorious gangsters while still maintaining an unbiased, objective approach. The book's many photographs and illustrations add to its appeal. VERDICT This action-packed title will hold the attention of reluctant readers and history buffs alike.—MaryAnn Karre, West Middle School, Binghamton, NY - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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