The best book I've read on the AK is Dr. Edward Clinton Ezell's The AK-47 Story
. Dr. Ezell (deceased) starts with a history of the Russian small arms industry and brings us up to the development of the AK-47. He continues with the evolution of the AK into the AK-74 and finally, with variants (other nations). It is not an operator's manual (you can find the basics in W.H.B. Smith's Small Arms of the World
, also out of print). While both books are out of print, you can find them via booksearch (try http://www2.addall.com
) or some other search engine.
I've seen John Walther's Kalashnikov Machine Pistols, Assault Rifles and Machine-Guns, 1945 to the Present
and while it is OK, it is not a scholary work of the same caliber of Ezell. I would prefer it however over Duncan Long's AK47, The Complete Kalashnikov Family of Assault Rifle
. Long tends to gather general information, bits from catalogs or ads, and puts them into a book. Finally, there is an English translation of the Soviet AK-47 manual, but I can't recall the name of the major who translated it.
Last, to answer your question as to identifying it as a Norinco (North China Industries, Inc.), look for the markings on the receiver. It'll say so.