For collectors, museum curators, archaeologist-historians, this book is- in its field- an essential contribution. The author is the coordinator of science and historical museums of the National Park Service, and one of the authorities on the history of our frontier firearms. Guns in the hands of Indians, trappers and soldiers of the American West helped shape our history in the 19th century, and the importance of the musket as against the rifle, to the Indian mind, played a significant part in our ultimate establishment of control. Many of the questions that have baffled historians are pursued here:- why the use of flint persisted long after discovery of the percussion method; why light carbines replaces the long-barreled arms; why there was difficulty in getting acceptance of repeating arms for the army. He has presented, too, in technical detail those facts that help identify guns used during the westward advance of the frontier by traders and trappers; the powder, ball, accessories and the small cannon of the period have their place. An exhaustive study, with some fifty odd illustrations. Specialized market- but a more extensive one than the average citizen realizes. Carefully documented.