Saturday, 22 October 2011

Does the Trigger Pull the Finger?—Reviews

The SRA sponsored the publication last Spring of Does the Trigger Pull the Finger? (Spitfire Press £9.95, £7.45 post-free to SRA members: ISBN 978-1-906174-99-6). The book was co-written by SRA secretary Richard Law and journalist Peter Brookesmith, who previously collaborated on the critically acclaimed The Fighting Handgun (Arms & Armour, 1997).

Reviews on Amazon have been favourable, to say the least: three out of the four reviews posted to date give it five stars, one gives it four, and one calls the book "A work of genius", a label not often applied to either author, but neither is complaining. If doubts have been expressed, they've been about the cover. Apparently some people are concerned that a scarcely unattractive (but not scarcely clad) young lady wielding an exotic firearm is sensationalist, or trivializes the subject. Mick Fidgeon, now-redundant former firearms "manager" for Essex police, enquired (perhaps belligerently) on the Cybershooters forum: "Who's this supposed to appeal to? Academics?" Our best review yet, by Jules Whicker in Shooting Sports (October 2011) feels the need to recognize this worry in passing, but only in passing:

"Don’t judge a book by its cover, as any initial suspicions of sensationalism are quickly allayed by a reasoned, fact-based approach. Yet whilst proving not to be sensationalist, it is most certainly sensational! Blowing a blast of fresh air through the fog of prejudice and corruption that has produced the legal and bureaucratic environment that currently hamstrings shooting sports, complicates their participants’ lives, and squanders public money."

Jules Whicker, by the way, happens to be an academic.

In all this mild hoo-ha no one seems to have noticed the expression on the cover-girl's face, which may tell you something about the objectors, but which we thought fitted rather well with the sarcasm of the title. Someone else called the cover "provocative", to which we can only reply: "So we should bloody well hope!"

Mr Whicker, meanwhile, got on with reading the book, and summed it up thus:

"What we have here is a marvellously well-informed book.... "Does the Trigger Pull the Finger? should be required reading for everyone with an interest in shooting, whether pro or anti, and that should include every political candidate, Home Office mandarin, senior police officer, and news editor in the country.

"...this is no rant, or a dry political tract! Instead a seriously good read, its facts and arguments articulated in finely nuanced prose and spiced with well-timed irony and the odd—probably well deserved—splash of vitriol. All of which come together to produce a gripping drama in which truth and liberty are threatened by the encroachment of a pernicious, neurotic and sometimes bumbling bureaucratic organism, whose ultimate defeat is envisaged in an unexpected yet plausible ending. I started by questioning the presentation of the book. I’ll finish by saying: it should come with a wristband or lapel pin that those who have read it and agree with its manifesto can wear as a sign of support. This is a book to build a campaign on. Spread the word."

Mr Whicker got our point right in the X-ring. We know authors who'd forsake the bottle for a reviewer like that.

The review in the forthcoming Shooter's Journal (now in press: SRA members should get their copies early next month) is fractionally less enthusiastic, but only in the sense that Derek Bernard—an expert in firearms law and 'gun control' and its effects—thinks we don't go far enough in our reforming zeal. So it goes.