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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, November 28

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On the Web Tue Nov 24 2009

Julia Keller Interview

Claire Zulkey interviews Tribune critic Julia Keller about her new young adult novel, Back Home, and her non-fiction book, Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel: The Gun that Changed Everything and the Misunderstood Genius Who Invented It. Says Keller on how she came to choose Gatling as a subject:

I came across his life story in the course of research on another topic, was astonished to find there was no major biography, and set to work. Gatling was a brilliant inventor and a thoughtful individual, a man who embodied the American Dream as it was manifested in the 19th Century: One worked hard, dreamed big, and one's fortunes rose or fell according to one's own talents and efforts -- not charity, not handouts, not shortcuts or good PR. The Gatling Gun represented an intellectual shift as well as a change in armaments. For the first time, one could kill an enemy en masse, not one at a time. The Gatling ushered in a period of terrible destructiveness -- but also signaled to the world that the United States was a new world force to be reckoned with. And it all began in the mind of a man with no formal education, no training, a farmer's son who stepped forth into the world in the 1840s, determined to make his mark. And did.

 
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