Monday, June 30, 2008

Favorite Authors - George C. Nonte, Jr.

Some people wouldn't consider a non-fiction writer as a favorite. They might point to Stephen King or James Patterson or some purveyor of the romantic pot boiler but I have different tastes. No, I'm not alone. There are many out there who count among their favorite authors, Elmer Keith, John Taffin, Jack O'Connor, Charles Askins, Skeeter Skelton, Jim Wilson, Brian Pearce, Ken Waters, John Barsness, Ross Seyfried, or Dave Scovill. I wanted to tell you about my favorites and why they are my favorites. I want you to know why I have their book(s) in my collection and why I think you should read these authors whatever title you might come across.

The first I decided to write about (but I admit that this article might not be "published" first) is Major (US Army, Retired) George C. Nonte, Jr. Why? Well, just because I was searching the bookshelf for a last minute trip to the "reading room" and grabbed his last book, Pistol Guide. I was once again reminded why I liked his style and I thought he would be a worthy first subject for this series.

To start, you should know a little bit about the man. MAJ Nonte was born on February 9, 1926 in Monticello, Illinois. That's about 9 months and 10 days before my father was born in Breakabeen, New York. It is also one reason I liked his writing. I think he had a direct and personal style of writing that was like Dad and I always wanted to meet him. I think he and Dad would have gotten along just fine.

MAJ Nonte entered the Army in WWII (about 1944) and retired 20 years later (in 1964) as a Major in the Ordnance Corps. That service included tours in Europe and the Middle East as well as in the United States.

He authored several thousand magazine articles (of which I've read more than a few) which appeared in major outdoor and gun magazines of the time. His book credits include Cartridge Conversions*, Firearms Encyclopedia*, Pistolsmithing*, Guide to Muzzle Loading, and Modern Handloading*.  For the Stoeger Publishing Company he wrote Pistol & Revolver Guide, Gunsight Guide, To Stop a Thief: The Complete Guide to House, Apartment and Property Protection, and Black Powder Guide*.  His last two books were Pistol Guide* and Revolver Guide, rewrites/revisions of Pistol & Revolver Guide.

MAJ Nonte died in his office at work June 30, 1978, that's 30 years ago today.  He was only 52 years old. 

I think his first articles I was able to read were in Shooting Times Magazine as this was about the only shooting magazine we could get in 1965-1968.  He drew me in with his articles which covered gunsmithing of the 1911, handloading, and a memorable bear hunt using the 1911 and Super Vel ammunition.  He never let me go.  Somehow, in his writing, he made all things seem possible even for me and made me a part of his activities.  I loved it and I still do.

Note:  * = I have these books.

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