The Winchester : The Gun That Built an American Dynasty

The Winchester: The Gun That Built an American Dynasty
The Winchester: The Gun That Built an American Dynasty :

USA – -(“Who knew that the maker of the ‘gun that won the West,’ the Winchester ’73, was a New Englander who began his career manufacturing shirts? The extraordinary life of Oliver Winchester and his company – and its rapid rise and slow and tragic fall into modern obscurity – is told gallantly and with great precision by a distant descendant, the noted BBC correspondent Laura Trevelyan. From Little Bighorn to the Winchester Mystery House – it is all there, a series of American icons sturdily described by a writer who, because of her ancestry, knows the story far better than most and tells it better than all.” ~ Simon Winchester, author of Pacific: The Ocean of the Future

The Winchester: The Gun That Built an American Dynasty is a fascinating story of the family behind the firearm, as told by a descendant

It is impossible to tell the story of America’s westward expansion without underscoring the importance of the Winchester, the “Gun That Won the West.” In The Winchester: The Gun That Built an American Dynasty (Yale University Press; publication month September 2016; $28), Laura Trevelyan, a descendant of the Winchester family, offers an engrossing personal history of the colorful New England and their iconic firearm.

Trevelyan chronicles the rise and fortunes of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company across three generations, from Oliver Winchester’s involvement with the Volcanic Arms Company in 1855 through the following turbulent decades of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Trevelyan tells the story of the Winchester company as a family concern, through the lens of the individuals themselves. From the Civil War era until World War I, larger-than-life characters ran the Winchester Repeating Arms Company with great success. The war led to a precipitous decline in the company’s fortunes and eventually the end of the family’s association with the business.

The popularity of Winchester arms mirrored American expansion at a time of rugged individualism and the opening up of the Western frontier. In The Winchester, Trevelyan tells a story of the evolution of an iconic, paradigm‑changing weapon that has become a part of American culture—a longtime favorite of collectors and gun enthusiasts that has been celebrated in fiction, glorified in Hollywood, and applauded in endorsements from the likes of Annie Oakley, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, and Native American tribesmen who called it “the spirit gun.”

More Advance Praise for The Winchester

“Laura Trevelyan is one of the most brilliant journalists and incisive television presenters working in America today. She is also a very accomplished historian, and in this fascinating and vividly evocative book, she tells the story of her Winchester and Bennett forebears. From one perspective, this is an exemplary business history, of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, of the rifles and shotguns it produced and sold in vast quantities, and of the rise, triumph, and fall of one of America’s greatest arms manufacturers. From another, it is an enthralling account of a famous New England dynasty, full of larger-than-life characters, both men and women. Deeply researched and beautifully written, this is an outstanding study of an iconic American firm and of an extraordinary American family.” ~ Sir David Cannadine, Princeton University

About the Author . . .

Laura Trevelyan is an anchor and correspondent for the BBC based in New York. She has worked for the BBC since 1993, reporting for many radio and television programs. The great-great-great-granddaughter of Oliver Winchester, Laura Trevelyan first became interested in the subject at the age of 17, when she was visiting the Connecticut home of her Winchester relatives and learned to fire a rifle adapted to shoot tennis balls.

Laura Trevelyan is also the author of A Very British Family: The Trevelyans and Their World. She lives with her husband and children in New York City.

The Winchester: The Gun That Built an American Dynasty

By Laura Trevelyan

Hardcover ISBN: 978‑0‑300‑22338‑5 * 264 pages * 24 b&w illustrations * $28.00

eBook ISBN: 978‑0‑300‑22565‑5

Publication Date: September 201