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American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 4, 2013


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American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms + American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History + Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st Printing edition (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062242717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062242716
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (426 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Guest Review: Marcus Luttrell, author of Lone Survivor, reviews American Gun by Chris Kyle

Marcus Luttrell

Chris Kyle is not a man I ever thought I would refer to in the past tense. No matter how much danger he faced, we always knew Chris would come out alive with an awesome story filled with close calls. To say I lost a friend this year does not say enough. I lost someone I looked up to as a frogman and Texan brother. He exemplified each word of the SEAL Creed, and he deserves the highest honor and respect for what he put on the line to keep his brothers safe from the enemy. I know there are mothers and fathers out there right now who are grateful their son or daughter returned home from war thanks to Chris Kyle. He saved countless lives. Whether he sat high on a rooftop taking out the enemy threatening his teammates, or if he was fighting side-by-side with a Marine platoon, his mission was always clear: “draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect his brothers.”

Chris gave a piece of his life to the SEAL teams, but there came a time when he needed to refocus on his family. No matter how difficult his decision to leave the military, he knew he was doing was right thing for his wife and two children. He became well known after the much-deserved success of his first book, American Sniper. The way he handled himself under the spotlight and shared his passions are a testament to the man he was. Chris gave away the proceeds of his book to veterans and families of fallen teammates. He was the founder of a security company that was dedicated to teaching fine skills to law enforcement and other security details. He was committed to his family, he was committed to helping veterans, he was committed to several charities, he was committed to serving others. That was Chris. He lived by his own rules, and I couldn’t respect him more.

I am so glad to see this important book, American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms, come to life, because it meant so much to Chris to get it completed. It’s a testament to his service, and it proves that he wasn’t a guy who just wanted to be known for his kill count. He had an incredible respect for his country, our history, and preserving the second amendment—he also had an almost unmatched knowledge of firearms. This book is filled with his passion for a fine gun, shows clearly how our national relationship with firearms got to where it is today, and reveals the many fascinating ways guns have shaped American history. It’s also a hell of a good read--full of amazing stories of American soldiers, cowboys, and heroes, from the Revolution, Civil War, Wild West, world wars, Iraq, and beyond.

I have to pay tribute to Chris’s wife Taya, who wrote the foreword and afterword in American Gun. Taya is carrying the torch for Chris, their kids, and for those who he fought to defend. She has promised to see through all of the projects Chris left behind, as well as ensure Chris's memory is honored as it should be. I think Chris married a person who may be stronger than even he was—that’s saying something. With Chris’s spirit beside her, she is never out of the fight. Lastly, y’all should know Taya and their kids receive the author proceeds of American Gun, so buy this awesome book in bulk and share with friends.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bestselling author Kyle (American Sniper) was putting the final touches on this discerning study of 10 firearms—completed by his widow and Doyle—that changed the course of warfare when he was killed at a gun range. Coupled with his goal of "talk history with the bullets flying," Kyle's picks—surefire debate fodder for gun enthusiasts—make for immersive reading as he recounts key battles during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and WWII. Kyle's enthusiasm for his subject is infectious—even for professed doves—and his gift for narrative lends the stories the tension and drama they deserve. He brings to life the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral and the Battle of Cowpens during the American Revolution, recounting close calls, colossal errors, and the weapons that gave one side a key advantage over another. Thanks to his experiences as a Navy SEAL, Kyle is intimately familiar with the construction, key features, and upkeep of all the featured weapons, which adds to his credibility and enables him to tell his stories in greater depth. Regardless of one's views on guns, readers will gain a deeper respect for weaponry and the people tasked with using them. (June)

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Customer Reviews

The history is well researched and supported by great writing.
Ralph T.Hicks
If you like guns or if you are a rational person willing to look at what they really are, this is the book for you.
donbcivil
If you have an interest in firearms and history, you will enjoy reading this book.
SchnauzerHiker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms by Chris Kyle with William Doyle

"American Gun" is an action-packed journey through American history through the barrels of ten noteworthy firearms. As the late-great hero Chris Kyle stated, "I've picked ten guns to serve as the flagship weapons for our America's past." Navy SEAL Team 3 Chief, Chris Kyle, with commendations too long to list, trainer and author of the Naval Special warfare Sniper Doctrine along with award-winning author William Doyle provide the public with a real treat. This riveting 320-page book is composed of the following ten firearms (chapters): 1. The American Long Rifle, 2. The Spencer Repeater, 3. The Colt Single-Action Army Revolver, 4. The Winchester 1873 Rifle, 5. The M1903 Springfield, 6. The M1911 Pistol, 7. The Thompson Submachine Gun, 8. The M1 Garand, 9. The .38 Special Police Revolver, and 10. The M16 Rifle.

Positives:
1. Engaging story-telling and a clever way to go through American history. "Guns have always been present at the leading edge of American history--often crucially."
2. A fascinating topic in the hands of an American hero who tragically passed while writing the final stages of this book. A page turner.
3. Excellent format. Each chapter introduces the firearm in chronological order and proceeds to expertly immerse fascinating historical stories about it.
4. Plenty of diagrams and photos that add to the reading experience.
5. Kyle does a wonderful job of capturing the action-packed scenes of American history. Bravo!
6. A great book for people who normally wouldn't be enticed by firearms but are in fact interested in American history. I can't stress that enough.
7.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Charles G. Worman on December 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
While I certainly appreciate Chris Kyle's service as a Navy SEAL, I have to downgrade this book for the numerous historical errors he makes, at least in the pre-1900 chapters. I didn't read the book but rather listened to it as a recorded book. (The fact that a gun book was recorded on a CD is unusual and refreshing.) My area of interest is in the pre-1899 period of American history so I can only base my views on that portion of the book. His casual style of writing may appeal to some readers but it sometimes tends toward sensationalism. Anyone with a knowledge of early firearms will cringe at some of the errors one will find. Just to name several as examples, and I found more, the American long rifle (or Pennsylvania-Kentucky rifle) is generally thought to have originated about the 1720s, not 1620. The typical barrel length of French and British military smoothbore muskets in the Revolutionary War period was not 30 inches but rather a rather unwieldy 42 to 46 inches. The Sharps Rifle Company did not manufacture the Spencer repeater. The Colt M1851 Navy revolver was six-shots, not five. Finally in speaking of the slaughter of the bison herds after the Civil War, hides sold for around $2.50 to $4 or so, not $100 unless it might have been that of a white bison. His chapters on post-1900 weapons, particularly the M-1 Garand of WW II and of Vietnam-era and later military arms may be right on the money. The book will appeal to many who are not gun enthusiasts, but if you fall into the category of a collector of antique arms or historian, be warned. Despite the book's flaws, perhaps it will generate enough interest to draw some readers into expanding their knowledge of firearms which isn't a bad thing.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Ethan on June 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Chris Kyle, author of his bestselling memoir American Sniper, was no stranger to guns. As a Navy SEAL, he had a record confirmed 160 kills. Beyond his expert marksmanship, Kyle possessed the unique ability to be a great storyteller. At the time of his tragic death in February 2013, he was working on a new project, American Gun.

In the book, Kyle chronicles American history, beginning during the revolutionary war. Each section details this history using a different firearm as the main focus. Having shot each of the weapons featured in the book, Kyle not only speaks of the physical aspects of the guns, but also provides a wealth of historical context that surrounds them. Rather than write about each gun in a textbook fashion, which Kyle himself admits would be incredibly boring, he zeroes in on the human side of the story, placing the reader in the place of the men who used the weapons.

There are a few moments of historical speculation, particularly in the section about Lincoln's push to get the multi-shot Spencer Repeater rifle into the hands of his Union soldiers. Lincoln was met with resistance from military leaders who saw the new technology as gimmicky. Kyle argues that, had the Union used the new weapons sooner, the Civil War would have ended sooner, and more American lives could have been spared. Despite this speculation, Kyle acknowledges the facts and seems to respect the history as it occurred.

In the past year, firearms have become a hotly politicized topic. I was a bit worried that, as a man who spent a great deal of time with weapons, Kyle would turn this book into a kind of propaganda tool. Fortunately, Kyle never seems to be preachy or pushing an ideology upon the reader.
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