This fast-paced book traces the history of gunpowder from its conception by Chinese alchemists (1000 A.D.) through the European renaissance to the U.S. Civil War and the end of the nineteenth century, a chronological look into gunpowder’s evolution, refinements, tributes, and tribulations.
Discovered by Chinese alchemists, gunpowder (saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal) was first used as an elixir (called “fire drug”) to fight off evil spirits called Shan. But due to its volatile state when fire was added, it quickly found its forte’ in warfare.
Although the Chinese discovered gunpowder and created the first prototypes of the cannon and rockets, it was the Europeans (1200 – 1700) that refined the making of gunpowder into a craft along with inventing an array of firearms, from cannons, to wheel locks, and flintlock rifles and pistols.
Further gunpowder refinements and inventions were contributed by the Americans (1800s), the DuPont Family (gunpowder manufacturing), Sam Colt (revolvers), Smith and Wesson (bullets), and Richard Gatling (Gatling gun) – all of which were showcased during the Civil War.
Well-written, in-depth research, fascinating subject matter with a touch of low-technical language gives explosive results on a subject rarely discussed. An insight on one of the great discoveries that has played a part in shaping countries, civilizations and the world; a must-read for any history buff.