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The Winchester

The Winchester Rifle, the iconic gun made in New Haven, Connecticut, and sold in its hundreds of thousands around the world, mirrors American expansion at a key period in the young country's history. The lethal repeating rifle became the defining image of America's frontier - and was known amongst Native Americans as "the spirit gun". It represented both the pioneering vigour and the brutal force which conquered the West. Laura Trevelyan explores the history of, and the family behind, this renowned representation of American power. The entrepreneurial drive of Oliver Winchester led the rifle to rapidly assume legendary status not long after its release in 1866, gaining endorsements from the likes of Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and President Teddy Roosevelt. This engaging history sheds light on the story and myth of an American legend.
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Table of Contents

Introduction, Chapter One - The Revolutionary Repeating Rifle, Chapter Two - The Winchester and the New Frontier, Chapter Three - Mythmaking - The Gun That Won The West, Chapter Four - Sarah Winchester, an American ghost story, Chapter Five - Winchester at War, Chapter Six - Decline, Chapter Seven - Legacy

About the Author

Laura Trevelyan is the New York Correspondent of the BBC. She has worked for the BBC since 1993, reporting for many radio and television programmes including Newsnight, The Today Programme and the Ten O'Clock News. She lives with her husband and children in New York. She is the author of A Very British Family: The Trevelyans and Their World (I.B.Tauris, 2006).


'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, Dodge Professor of History, Princeton University, '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 descendent, 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

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