... brilliant ... [Dunbar-Ortiz’s] analysis, erudite and unrelenting, exposes blind spots not just among conservatives, but, crucially, among liberals as well ... at times, in such a short but information-packed book, accounts of such continuities may feel schematic; but at others, they can feel revelatory...Throughout, and even when uneven, her narrative is devastating ... As a portrait of the deepest structures of American violence, Loaded is an indispensable book.
Less a traditional history than a theory of American violence ... And while Loaded boasts neither the sweeping narrative mastery of [An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States]nor the concision of [All the Real Indians Died Off], her thesis here is certainly as compelling as — and perhaps even more shattering than — any she has proposed in previous works ... Even for gun control advocates and liberals leery of militarized police, the full depth of this idea that guns are fundamentally tools of racism may be uncomfortable to confront. But it is that depth and discomfort that sets Loaded apart from the near constant and often dead-ended discussions about gun violence in the United States. As is the case with much of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s work, Loaded demands of its readers that history be seen as a continuum to which the present belongs ... anyone at all really wants to 'get to the root causes of gun violence in America,' they will need to start by coming to terms with even a fraction of what Loaded proposes. That is to say, perhaps it isn’t as simple as asking about the root causes of gun violence in America. Perhaps it’s a matter of considering gun violence as one of the root causes of America.
Dunbar-Ortiz is a knowledgeable, unflinching writer ... isn’t uniformly convincing; occasionally, Dunbar-Ortiz presents some eccentric, unverifiable theories. But her main arguments — that the Second Amendment enabled slave owners and many settlers to persecute black and Native people, and that these devastating power dynamics continue to shape our society — are unassailable ... Alongside Dunbar-Ortiz’s compelling arguments are a few questionable theories...if even the author concedes that such an assertion can’t be fact-checked, it’s not worth including in a book that intends to be a serious work of history.
Unfortunately, [Dunbar-Ortiz] loses sight of her own contradictions while she traces the history of violence in the United States, which she has no problem connecting to racism, militarism, nationalism and the idea of 'white supremacy' ... Dunbar-Ortiz has a way of withholding crucial information until it comes across as an afterthought ... Like many historians, Dunbar-Ortiz selects those incidents that support her argument and ignores those that don’t support her argument ... At times, Loaded reads like an assault on the profession of American historians.
... the author’s historical research provides strong support for her argument that gun love is as American as apple pie ... This compact manifesto won’t convince everyone, but it presents a formidable argument ... A radical revision of American history, specifically as it relates to its persistent gun culture.