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The Russian word that is most frequently spoken throughout the world isn't Lenin, gulag or perestroika, it's 'Kalashnikov'. The reason for this is simple: there are 80 million Kalashnikovs in circulation on five continents. Once invented, the AK-47 assault rifle became the most widely used weapon in the world: from Vietnam to Palestine, from Cuba to Iraq, it was at the heart of conflicts and struggles everywhere. It is the only firearm that has ever been depicted on a national flag - that of Mozambique, where it symbolizes liberation. Mikhail Kalashnikov himself, who was born in 1919, here tells his life story, with the help of Elena Joly, for the first time: his deportation to Siberia with his family while still a child; his time as a soldier in a tank regiment; his invention of the world's most famous weapon and his turbulent life under Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Gorbachev and Yeltsin. This is a remarkable portrait of a man of ingenuity and vitality in the context of the often frightening and terribly unforgiving Russia of the twentieth century.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780745636924
ISBN-10: 0745636926
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 148mm x 10mm)
Pages: 202
Imprint: Polity Press
Publisher: Polity Press
Publish Date: 21-Aug-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Elena Joly

Elena Joly listened to Kalashnikov as he told his story and has been careful to respect his spoken style. Born in the Soviet Union, she now lives in Paris. She was in charge of the 'Soviet section' of the French publishing house Actes Sud, and has written La Troisième Mort de Staline (1988), a series of interviews with intellectuals of the Gorbachev period.

Books By Author Elena Joly

Gun That Changed the World by Elena Joly

The Gun That Changed the World

Hardback, August 2006
$100.76