“Whenever I look at TV and I see the weapon I invented to defend my motherland in the hands of these bin Ladens, I ask myself the same question: ‘How did it get into their hands?’ ” Kalashnikov said in 2006. “I didn’t put it in the hands of bandits and terrorists, and it’s not my fault that it has mushroomed uncontrollably across the globe. Can I be blamed that they consider it the most reliable weapon?”
No he can’t (most of the AK-47s in terrorists hands are counterfeit, anyway). The best biography of the man and his invention is “The Gun”, by C.J. Chivers. At 498 pages, it provided more information than I needed, but it’s an interesting history of automatic military guns, with a focus on the AK.