“This rollicking and

informative account will

delight American history buffs.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

REVIEWS

Revolver, a lively biography of Samuel Colt... is an exemplary piece of research.....Colt may have lived only 47 years, but he managed to pack in multiple lives during that brief span...Few will get much closer than Mr. Rasenberger has to this singular character...Revolver, written with a journalist’s sense of color and a historian’s eye for the revealing detail, is an exceptional biography of an archetypal 19th-century American inventor and businessman.”   THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

"[Colt's] missteps are as fascinating as his accomplishments, as described in Revolver: Sam Colt and the Six-Shooter That Changed America. Cleareyed and honest, Rasenberger portrays a complicated figure who combined real mechanical insight with a talent for hucksterism... Revolver is rewarding biography, highlighting Colt’s place in the history of industrialization."  THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“Rasenberger deftly brings to life the man and his times in this gripping biography that does admirable work updating scholarship about Colt….The result is a very lively and informative book for every reader interested in American history and all of the nation’s flaws and virtues.”  BOOKLIST

"Historian Rasenberger (The Brilliant Disaster) chronicles the life and times of gunmaker Samuel Colt (1814–1862) in this colorful and richly digressive biography… Secondary figures, including Colt’s brother John, whose murder conviction inspired an Edgar Allan Poe story, are sketched with wit and precision. This rollicking and informative account will delight American history buffs. 

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Vigorous life of Samuel Colt (1814-1862), the renowned and controversial inventor of the pistol that bears his name today ... With Colt’s invention, by popular historian and journalist Rasenberger’s account, two great forces met, one economic and the other demographic. Here was an invention more important than the mechanical reaper or cotton gin, one that, with all its murderous possibilities, gave specific force to Manifest Destiny and the conquest of the continent ... A solid blend of technological, economic, social, and popular history.”

KIRKUS REVIEWS

“A welcome biography on the life of Samuel Colt (1814-1862), inventor of the Colt patent revolver and an innovator of the American system of manufacturing….Seeking to clarify previous conflicting biographical accounts, Rasenberger thoroughly documents his events from archival sources ... Colt’s powerful personality drives the narrative, showing his brilliant showmanship, family connections, occasional legerdemain, and aggressive political lobbying to force his business dream into a commercial success. 

LIBRARY JOURNAL

“The legendary Colt revolver played an outsized role in the violent conquest of the American West, and it lives on in the national psyche. But the remarkable story of its creator, Samuel Colt, one of the wealthiest and most influential figures of the nineteenth century United States, has been all but lost to history. Author Jim Rasenberger masterfully restores Sam Colt to his rightful place among the titans of American industry and drivers of American destiny in this rousing and riveting biography. A hard-drinking, prodigious womanizer, Colt suborned politicians and brutalized competitors to establish his place as a visionary creator of the American gun culture. Revolver brilliantly recreates Colt’s life and the tumultuous era in our nation’s history that he helped shape.”

Peter Cozzens, author of THE EARTH IS WEEPING and SHENANDOAH 1862

“The extraordinary story of an extraordinary man in an extraordinary country. Sam Colt may not have made all men equal, but Jim Rasenberger’s Revolver leaves us all knowing so much more about our past. A well-researched, brilliantly written history.”

Kevin Baker, author of AMERICA THE INGENIOUS

“Nothing screams ‘America!’ like the Colt revolver—the legendary six-shooter is as closely woven into the national fabric as baseball, apple pie, and immigration. This gobsmacking true story brings to life the rollicking tale of brash and muscular Sam Colt. The ‘revolver man’ was filled with contradictions—just like the young republic his six-shooters came to represent. A heartfelt western hat-tip to Jim Rasenberger for bringing us the definitive tale.”  Gregory Crouch, author of THE BONANZA KING

“Sam Colt, quirky entrepreneur and era-defining tycoon, is one of American history’s most colorful characters. How can you not like someone who sells hits of laughing gas to the American public in order to finance his gun factories? Rasenberger captures this and other details in this comprehensive biography.”  S.C. Gwynne, author of EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON and HYMNS OF THE REPUBLIC

“Colt: Can there be another bearer of a name so famous whose career is so little known? Which is all the more puzzling given what an astonishing career it was. But now Jim Rasenberger puts matters to rights with his wonderfully vivid biography. Not only are we offered a story of the highest historical consequence, but one full of suspense, surprises, scurrility, and bad faith alongside heroic dedication to a nation-changing technology, tangy gossip, and an 1840s murder trial whose lurid details still have the power to shock. Revolver is every bit as entertaining as it is valuable.”  Richard Snow, author of DISNEY'S LAND and IRON DAWN

© 2020 Jim Rasenberger