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American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms | [Chris Kyle, William Doyle]

American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms

At the time of his tragic death in February 2013, former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most accomplished sniper in U.S. military history, was finishing a remarkable book that retold American history through the lens of a hand-selected list of firearms. Kyle masterfully argues that guns have played a fascinating, indispensable, and often under-appreciated role in our national story. He carefully chose ten guns to help tell his story, ranging from the American long rifle to the modern M-16, and uses these guns as a platform for exploring American history.
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Publisher's Summary

At the time of his tragic death in February 2013, former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most accomplished sniper in U.S. military history, was finishing a remarkable book that retold American history through the lens of a hand-selected list of firearms. Kyle masterfully argues that guns have played a fascinating, indispensable, and often under-appreciated role in our national story.

Kyle carefully chose ten guns to help tell his story, including the American long rifle, Colt .45 revolver, Winchester rifle, .38 police handgun, and M-16 rifle platform Kyle himself used as a SEAL. This is also the story of how American innovation, creativity, and industrial genius has constantly pushed technology - and U.S. power - forward.

©2013 Chris Kyle (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers

What Members Say

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4.3 (268 )
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  •  
    AudioBookReviewer Madison, WI, United States 06-25-13
    AudioBookReviewer Madison, WI, United States 06-25-13 Member Since 2011

    All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "History but not boring"

    I was completely taken by Chris Kyle’s first book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, so how could I resist? Now I know that history books are not normally my cup of tea, but I have to believe that Kyle can deliver again, especially because it is the telling of history through guns. Now I do not own a gun nor will I until the zombie apocalypse actually happens, and then I wont have to own them but I will possess them.

    When I started listening to American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms I didn’t know that Chris Kyle was dead, shot and killed by a fellow veteran at a shooting range. I was immediately saddened by knowing this, but in a selfish way because I was sad that he will not be putting out any more interesting books. Let it be known that this is a history book, plain and simple, the great part of it is that Kyle made this sometimes dry subject interesting. Studying only areas of American history and retelling the incidents where a specific firearm was the turning point of the situation. Plus the added bonus of the history of the development of that firearm. If you are a history buff and want a brief and perhaps a different take on very pivotal moment of American history or maybe you are a gun lover and are interested in the history of specific firearms, you will really enjoy this book.

    This is my second listen to John Pruden’s narration abilities, I was not disappointed. He has a very clean and crisp voice that lends itself well to creating different characters. Granted American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms is a history book but there was still a call for this talent. Pruden made me think that he was really into narrating this book and makes me want to go out and find others he has worked on.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    harry PLEASANTON, CA, United States 06-24-13
    harry PLEASANTON, CA, United States 06-24-13 Member Since 2010
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    "An Important Look at US History"

    I'm pretty sure that I've seen all or nearly all of the programs on TV channels like the History Channel that profile "Top Ten'" firearms, warplanes and the like.

    Chis Kyle's American Gun takes this idea one important step further and carefully considers the impact the each of his "Top Ten" guns played at critical points in the development of the United States.

    This book is methodically researched as is evident with Kyle's accurate and detailed description of the infamous OK Corral shootout. However, what makes American Gun special is the way in which Kyle humanizes the characters that surround the American Guns he speaks about.

    By doing this Kyle elevates American Gun far beyond a simple "Top Ten" list and leads the listener through an informative look at the role firearms, their designers and users played in the History of the United States.

    As with American Sniper, John Pruden's narration works perfectly.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-28-13
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-28-13 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The gun in history"

    Chris Kyle was a Navy Seal and the greatest sniper in U.S. history. It is obvious he did a lot of research to write this story. It starts with the U.S. revolutionary war with the American Long rifle. I noted the explanation between the British musket and the rifle. Heard that lecture in Bernard Cornwall's Richard Sharpe series. Kyle proceeds explaining about the invention, improvements and goals of each new weapon, including the political problems with military procurement department. His discussion of the problems that President Lincoln had in attempting to get the Spencer rifle to the troops during the Civil War was interesting. He goes on to discuss the Colt .45 revolvers, Winchester rifle, .38 police handguns, the M-1 and the M16. Of course, he covered the guns that lead up to them and the problems that were corrected by the new gun. I particularly enjoy the stories of individual soldiers (men and women) who were hero's. Some of the stories I was familiar with i.e. Sargent York in WWI but many of the other their stories were new to me. Kyle also covered the police hero after the bad guys throughout American history from Machine gun Kelly to the Hollywood bank robbers that out gunned the police a few years ago. I found it a good idea to keep up about guns and other weapons as they keep popping up in various books I read. This way I know what they are talking about or if they give incorrect information. John Pruden did a good job narrating the book. If you are a history buff or a gun buff you will enjoy this book. I enjoyed the pre and post comments to the book by Kyle's wife, it added a nice personal touch to the book; more so considering that Kyle recently died.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William J. Rusen Ithaca NY 01-17-14
    William J. Rusen Ithaca NY 01-17-14 Member Since 2013

    WJ R

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "wish it was better"
    What would have made American Gun better?

    less street language which makes you wonder about the depth and seriousness of the research; more context about how it fits in US history and forming the American character


    Would you listen to another book narrated by John Pruden?

    probably but not particularly high on the list; middle 5th of performers; Bryson, Herrmann are in the elite for me


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration about the language and the sense that it was a "gee whiz" sort of school report


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry United States 07-18-13
    Jerry United States 07-18-13
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    "America would not exist without our guns"

    Whether you are a gun-nut, have a gun-phobia or somewhere in between, this book should be a required listen in your library. Kyle's book looks at how guns brought the United States into existence and how they continue to provide the necessary basis for securing our freedoms.

    From the Revolution, the frontier, the Civil War, through the twentieth century unto today, Kyle's choices of ten guns that made this all possible is superb. As a military sniper and Navy Seal, Kyle story was true to his history.

    Like everything else in the nation's current dysfunctional behavior, the real problems are that current gun laws are not enforced and legal uses of guns, as in the verdict in a recent trial, are promoted by demigods with personal and way to often political and financial agendas.

    This book will give anyone with an open mind, a historical perspective of the role of guns in keeping us safe from one another and enemies of the nation foreign and domestic.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jsakeo 09-06-14
    jsakeo 09-06-14
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    "A great piece of American history for everyone."
    What did you love best about American Gun?

    Very interesting tidbits of American history and how guns helped to shape the country that we are. Without these guns, we would be a far different country and not for the good.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story is the story of America and how we came to be and how guns helped to form that country that we know and love. Anyone with a love for America will love this book.


    What about John Pruden’s performance did you like?

    It was an excellent performance. Very appropriate for the material.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    This book would not be appropriate for a movie but perhaps a documentary diving into each of the 10 guns.


    Any additional comments?

    People with a fear of guns should read or listen to this book to see how important the gun was in the formation of this country.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark South Bend, IN, United States 07-18-14
    Mark South Bend, IN, United States 07-18-14 Member Since 2007

    It's not about guns, It's about freedom

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    "Recommended by a Lifelong Gun Enthusiast"
    Would you consider the audio edition of American Gun to be better than the print version?

    Audiobook edition of this book is highly recommended by me.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I love the part of the book talking about Abraham Lincoln shooting behind the White House at the trash dump.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Remember seeing Chris Kyles wife at the NRA annual meeting in Houston where she talked about helping finish the book that her husband had started before he was tragically killed by a mentally ill former colleague.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Herb N. Charleston, SC USA 05-28-14
    Herb N. Charleston, SC USA 05-28-14 Member Since 2001
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    "Awesome historical reference"

    Truly enjoyed the history of America in 10 guns. Excellent way to tell the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh Krizmanich 04-01-14
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    "Great listen!"
    Would you listen to American Gun again? Why?

    Yes


    What did you like best about this story?

    Story was told in a way that everyone understands, normal everyday English. You don't have to keep a dictionary close!


    Any additional comments?

    Great look into the past from a modern day American hero! RIP

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CBlox Las Vegas, NV 08-15-13
    CBlox Las Vegas, NV 08-15-13 Member Since 2004
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    "Great history book for gun lovers"
    If you could sum up American Gun in three words, what would they be?

    easy read, historically accurate, patriotic


    If you’ve listened to books by Chris Kyle and William Doyle before, how does this one compare?

    this book is much better than American Sniper


    What three words best describe John Pruden’s voice?

    sharp, fitting and steady


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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