The author uses the Kalashnikov rifle as the starting point for a sociopolitical discourse on everything from globalization to street crime. Unfortunately for him, a book like this requires attention to technical detail to be convincing, and this is sadly lacking. Kahaner is pretty obviously neither a "gun person" nor a mechanical engineer.The book is full of small but significant blunders of the sort you'd expect from someone who perhaps researched the topic but then spewed out two hundred and some pages of text without really understanding it.
C.J. Chivers' "The Gun" is a better, if still far from perfect, treatment.