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Book Reviews: V20N7

By Dean Roxby

American Thunder 3rd Edition
Frank Iannamico
Copyright 2000, 2004, 2015

The name Frank Iannamico will be very familiar to SAR readers. Mr. Iannamico has written many articles for SAR over the last 20 years. He also has written or co-written a large number of books on military small arms. Several of these titles have been updated with second and third editions.

American Thunder is the latest such title. This fine book covers the Thompson submachine gun in all its military variations. Although it does not attempt to document all the civilian and Law Enforcement versions, it does touch on those to some degree as well.

The author notes that most Thompson SMG writings cover the early Colt produced Model 1921. This book deals with the far greater numbers of military M1928, and M1 versions. As a comparison, there were only 15,000 Model 1921 guns built by Colt in just less than one year. The M1928, M1928A1, M1, and M1A1 models totalled well over one million guns by the end of production in 1944.

The book starts by looking back to the evolution of the submachine gun, and a brief look at some of the early guns from around the world. The Italian Villar Perosa dates from 1915, and is regarded as the first of the type. The German MP18.i also made an appearance at the end of WWI. Both of these are shown in color photographs.

It was towards the end of WWI that John T. Thompson formed the Auto-Ordnance Corporation, initially to develop a new semi-automatic rifle for the military. Although the AOC Auto-Rifle did not get accepted, the company continued on. At this point, Thompson and his team turned to developing a submachine gun that would eventually become the famous Tommy gun.

The book follows the story of the early years of Thompson and his team at AOC. People as well as prototype guns are covered, giving an interesting background to the development program. Many B&W photos from the era are shown, as well as early typewritten letters that give an insight to the history of the program.

Many clear crisp...

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