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Publisher's Summary

American Gunfight is the fast-paced, definitive, and breathtakingly suspenseful account of an extraordinary historical event: the attempted assassination of President Harry Truman in 1950 by two Puerto Rican Nationalists and the bloody shoot-out in the streets of Washington, D.C., that saved the president's life.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Hunter, the widely admired and best-selling novelist and author of such books as Havana, Hot Springs, and Dirty White Boys, and John Bainbridge, Jr., an experienced journalist and lawyer, American Gunfight is at once a groundbreaking work of meticulous historical research and the vivid and dramatically told story of an act of terrorism that almost succeeded. They have pieced together, at last, the story of the conspiracy that nearly doomed the president and how a few good men, ordinary guys who were willing to risk their lives in the line of duty, stopped it.

©2005 Stephen Hunter and John Bainbridge (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"It will captivate readers interested in the crime and the killers' motivations." (Booklist)
"Not only convincing but compelling." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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    9
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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Feather
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 06-27-10

Fascinating Description

Interesting for lovers of detail; fascinating history of the relationship between Puerto Rico and the US. Well read. The title is somewhat misleading because the gunfight took less than one minute. The story was really about the many individuals involved and the political atmosphere.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Derek
  • Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 04-15-06

Worth the listen

This was a very long book about an event that took 38 seconds. Gives a good understanding of the Nationalist movement in Puerto Rico. The book can be a frustrating listen since it will go into hour long side stories about the participants in the shooting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Spellbinding History

This book is a wonderful surprise. The author takes an episode from history (the attempt to assassinate President Harry S. Truman) and gives it up-to-date relevance and edge-of-your-seat suspense. I've never read a book that takes 10 seconds of an event and turns it into an entire chapter. "American Gunfight" shows just how little we've progressed in the past 55 years. It's a must read that makes for sober wonderment at man's ability to frustrate the best in himself.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

15 hours to tell a 3 hour story

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I appreciate a lot of detail and like Stephen Hunter's other books, but the amount of detail in this book is ridiculous. This is the only time that I have wished for an abridged version of a story. It is to the point that if a man is wearing a suit, the author goes into the family history of the tailor. GET TO THE POINT!

What could Stephen Hunter and John Bainbridge have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Made it 75% shorter.

What does John H. Mayer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A pleasant voice.

What character would you cut from American Gunfight?

The narrator.

Any additional comments?

Too tedious.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ross
  • Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
  • 08-14-17

A piece of history revealed

This is much less a work of fiction than a journalistic retelling with the add on of what may have been. At no time do the authors ever assert that their colouring of the journalism is true, instead calling it out plainly and basing it on the facts as available. I learned a great deal about America in the late 40s and early 50s and the book gave me a perspective on Puerto Rico that I would otherwise never have seen. Fascinating!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • Visalia, CA, United States
  • 05-14-17

Couldn't Finish This One

What would have made American Gunfight better?

The reading of it was good, no problem with that. Have you ever had someone tell you a 5 minute story, but it took them 20 minutes to do it? That's what this book reminds me of. Way too much non-relavent information. If you like a flowering story (too blooming long) then you will probably enjoy this, but for me it was a waste of money!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Eileen
  • Charlotte, NC, United States
  • 06-19-16

Some very tight editing would have helped a lot!

I enjoy detail as much as anyone, but the authors of American Gunfight took detail way to the extreme. The actions of the police and secret service agents were interesting- their performance in the high school football game or their first job wasn't. A very interesting event that would have made a very interesting book if it was about half the length.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

WAAAAAAY TOO MUCH DETAIL...ACK!

VERY VERY hard to listen to the whole thing....Way too much detail! I'm from Independence Missouri, hometown of Harry Truman and I could barely get through it....sorry!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

an american gunfight

This is absolutely the most tedious thing I ever tried to listen to. I had listened to another Stephen Hunter book, so I tried this. Could NOT finish it.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sandra
  • Boise' Idaho United States
  • 01-12-06

tedious

Like listening to grass grow. Very ponderous-how many times can you hear about how policemen tie their ties. It stretches 15 minutes of fame into 15 hours.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful