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)
Following up on former U.S. Navy SEAL Kyle’s best-selling 2012 autobiography, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, is this posthumously published work. Kyle, who was shot to death in February of this year, writes with Doyle (Inside the Oval Office) about ten of his favorite rifles and handguns, his aim: to “talk history with the bullets flying.” Kyle was a consummate rifleman, but his discussions go beyond his ten selections to include reviews of peer firearms and descriptions of battles, shootouts, and people who made a particular gun famous. Writing for a popular audience, Kyle succeeds in vividly describing why he prefers, for example, the blunt force trauma of a .45 ACP Model 1911 over that of modern 9 mm pistols that hold twice as many cartridges. He discusses his views on why American rifles gave us an edge (apart from the Spanish American War when the Spanish bold-action Mausers outclassed the U.S. rifles). By World War I, U.S. troops were ready with Springfield bolt-action rifles. Kyle does not take on politics or gun control other than implicitly through his underlying belief in citizen ownership of firearms.
Verdict Readers wishing a purely scholarly history should instead consult Alexander Rose’s American Rifle: A Biography, but Kyle’s book will be highly sought after because of his unquestioned expertise as a preeminent rifleman of our times and his willingness to share his personal perspectives.Nathan Bender, Albany Cty. P.L., Laramie, WY
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A raucous and duly violent tour of American history through the sights of 10 famous weapons, from the Kentucky long rifle to the M-16. There's a touch of sadness to the second book by Kyle (American Sniper, 2012), given that Kyle--who co-authored this work with William Doyle--both became famous for his wartime sniper service and was himself gunned down by a PTSD-afflicted veteran he was trying to aid. The tragedy is compounded by the sheer likability of Kyle's ebullient, if hyperconservative, persona on the page. From his rural Texas upbringing and his experiences in war, Kyle came to believe that "[m]ore than any other nation in history, the United States has been shaped by the gun." He persuasively suggests that dramatic changes in firearms technology can be viewed as inextricable from the American Revolution, the closing of the Western frontier and, later, to American dominance on the world stage. Thus, he begins each chapter with a representational combat anecdote from the industrial and military narratives leading to each firearm's development, noting how often bureaucracy stood in the way of technologies that aided soldiers. Kyle is skilled at explaining complex combat scenarios, and he addresses the many strange ironies of American firearms' history with dry humor--e.g., regarding the "Tommy gun," which developed unsavory criminal connotations before its vital role in World War II: "[Inventor] Thompson personally didn't like the association, but few gangsters took the time to ask his opinion." Kyle's wry, relaxed tone is complemented by a foreword and afterword by his widow, who recalls a man who "had personality and character to spare." Will appeal to military buffs, conservative readers and, of course, firearms enthusiasts.
Dallas Morning News
“Chris Kyle embodied what it meant to have a heart both strong and soft, and a commitment to country, family, and God. ... Kyle will continue to inspire anyone paying attention to his example.”
D Magazine (Dallas
“He knew that sacrifice could mean the end. Chris Kyle was incredible, the most celebrated war hero of our time, a true American hero in every sense of the word.”
New York Times
“A true hero.”
The Herald (Rock Hill)
“One of [our] greatest heroes”
“Chris Kyle was incredible, the most celebrated war hero of our time, a true American hero in every sense of the word.”
“Chris Kyle has done and seen things that will be talked about for generations to come.”
“A celebration of Kyle’s voice and life: It’s like sitting down with him in some funky Texas roadhouse just off the interstate after a hot but fulfilling day at the range, ordering up a tableful of Lone Stars and just talking guns for a few hours.”
New York Times Book Review
“Tells how 10 firearms changed United States history.”
“Kyle’s firm grasp of the ten guns selected is combined with a narrative of American soldiers, lawmen, and citizens who used them. ... When you read American Gun you hear the voice, heart, wit, and passion of this self-effacing American heroone taken from us too soon.”
Daily Mail (London)
“Chris Kyle knew guns in a way no modern American ever has. ... His book new book details the rifles and pistols wielded by soldiers, police officers, hunters, mobsters and outlaws that most influenced the culture of this nation.”
“A book that every American should read, and it will stand as part of the legacy of one of our nation’s greatest heroes.”
A fitting legacy for Chris Kyle. … American Gun is written with the authority of a subject matter expert and the straight-talking voice of a warrior.”
”An entertaining gallop through history.”