American Gun by Chris Kyle: Book Review

American Gun by Chris Kyle: Book Review

American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms” tells a story of America as seen over the sights of 10 iconic firearms.  The author, Chris Kyle, accomplishes this by taking these ten American firearms and placing them in their historical context.   The tale that develops gives a broad look at the US from the time of its founding until the present.  It details the development and use of each of the firearms in the times they were prominent.  Kyle intersperses personal recollections and experience along with historical facts,some rather obscure, in to the story.  Being a firearms expert, with extensive combat experience, he obviously enjoys himself along the way
American Long Rifle

American Long Rifle

Starting with the American Long Rifle, Kyle tells the tale of how American sharpshooters broke the rules of gentlemanly behavior to help win American independence.   The story then moves to the Civil War era and the expansion West.  He tells of these times with three guns.

Spencer Rifle

Spencer Rifle

The first is the Spencer Rifle.  Kyle tells how the bureaucracy of the Civil war era Army almost nixed a gun that went on to help win decisive battles like Gettysburg.

Colt Single Action Army Revolver

Colt Single Action Army

The Colt Single Action Army Revolver comes out of the holster, next.  It’s story spans the Civil War and comes to a climax at the OK Coral in Tombstone, Arizona.

Winchester Model 73

Winchester Model 73

The last gun in this epoch is the  Winchester 73.   Kyle details its development and how it went on the help tame the West.

From the Wild West, the tale jumps forward to the turn of the century and through WWII.  The next trio of guns helped win WWI and then played important roles in the Gangster era of the 20’s and 30’s.  In the end, they went on to defeat the Axis powers in 1940s.

Springfield 1903

Springfield 1903

The first gun, the 1903 Springfield, is a story of adaptation and change.  Developed from the German Mauser, it went on to the trenches of France with the Doughboys.  In the hands of motivated Marines it was feared by Germans soldiers who carried the Mauser itself.

Colt 1911A1

Colt 1911A1

Along side the 1903 was the Colt 1911. Simple, yet innovative, this semi-automatic pistol changed the world.  First used by the military, it went on to fight in the  Banana Wars, as well as on both sides of the law in the Roaring 20’s and Depression era 30’s.  In WWII, it was used in every theater.  Even today, John Browning‘s design influences gun manufacturers world wide.

Thompson Submachinegun

Thompson Submachinegun

The final gun of the trio is the ubiquitous Thompson Sub Machine-gun.  Instantly recognizable as the weapon of choice of bootlegging gangsters, this gun also played an important role in defeating Germany and Japan.  It went on to see service in Korea, as well as the early years of the Vietnam War.

The last two guns in Kyle’s story tell of the modernization and coming of age of the US.

.38 Special Police Revolver

.38 Special Police Revolver

The first one is the .38 Special Police Revolver.  Developed in the early 20th Century, it really didn’t take off until the late 50’s early 60s.  As police departments modernized and standardized firearms, the .38 special became a favorite.  With simplicity and versatility, the .38 revolver family of guns became common place across the US.

M-16

M-16 In Action During the Vietnam Conflict

The last gun is the M-16.  Detailing the often time rocky development of the M-16, Kyle tells the story of a gun which has served the US military for going on six decades.  The M-16 changed the way the world looked at assault rifles, and has spawned many imitators and competitors as well as the current craze for ‘modern sporting rifles.’

Any review of “American Gun: A History of the US in Ten Firearms“, by Chris Kyle must speak of the unusual, and sad circumstances of its author and its publishing.  Chris Kyle was a true American hero.  A decorated Navy Seal veteran, Chris was credited with saving countless U.S. lives in multiple theaters of war.  After completing his enlistment, he became an accomplished writer.  He wrote of his SEAL exploits in the best selling book, “American Sniper” which was reviewed by Prepography in March of 2013.  As an avid shooter, he became involved with helping wounded vets through The Heroes Project.  By using shooting sports as therapy, he managed to help men that were still his brothers in arms.  Loving US history, Chris decided to write “American Gun: A History of the US in Ten Firearms“.  Sadly , on Feb. 2, 2013, before it could be completed, Chris was murdered by one of the vets he was trying to help.  Chris’s lovely wife, Taya Kyle, took up the mantle of getting the book finished and published.  With the help of author William Doyle, and many of Chris’s friends, the book was brought to bookstores.

Taya Kyle writes a very poignant forward for “American Gun: A History of the US in Ten Firearms“.  She tells of Chris’s vitally, honor and love for his fellow vets and country.  It is obvious that for everyone involved in finishing “American Gun: A History of the US in Ten Firearms” that it turned in to a labor of love; just as it had been for Chris.  In the last paragraph of the introduction, the publisher notes, “Lastly, no shadow hangs over these pages, despite the circumstances.  Chris was full of more life, humor and love of country than anyone who’ll ever cross your path.  That’s the spirit you’ll be lucky enough to meet as you turn the page.” I have to say I think the publisher got it right.

American Gun: A History of the US in Ten Firearms by Chris Kyle

american_gun_cover Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; 1st Printing edition (June 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062242717
ISBN-13: 978-0062242716
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
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