Besides a decorated and lethal Navy SEAL sniper credited with the longest kill shot ever recorded—1.2 miles—Chris Kyle was also a loving husband and father. Chris’s love for guns began as a young boy “fighting imaginary bad guys with sticks for guns.” When his parents taught him “…the proper use of real guns,” and how to shoot and use weapons safely, weapons were the tools Chris used in the outdoors. His passion for guns was only surpassed by his love for history, a love that provided the inspiration for him to write American Gun: a History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms.
In these pages Chris selected “…ten guns to serve as the flagship weapons…” he believed influenced and shaped American history that he then wrapped in stories of “…individuals whose sacrifices and strength changed history.” Complete with black and white photos and intricate gun diagrams.
He did it this way because he didn’t want to write a “stodgy textbook” that put readers to sleep, he wanted to “talk history with the bullets flying.” He did that and more as he blends specific gun details with fascinating true stories that explore the “remarkable role guns had in shaping our great nation.”
He begins with the “American Long Rifle,” a gun that earned young rebel Timothy Murphy, a position in the elite brigade of sniper riflemen, led by Colonel Daniel Morgan in 1777. The British never expected anyone to “…deliberately aim at them rather than fire generally at the mass of men on the front line.” That would be uncivilized, akin to a “war crime,” they thought.
The British couldn’t have been more wrong when America’s very existence was at stake. In a short time they called these expert “colonial riflemen—widow-makers.” Their account, wrapped in the rifle’s historical context, to eliminate Red Coat officers in America’s fight for independence, adds fascinating historical detail.
Chapters features “thrilling turning points in American history” characterized by specific guns and their uses. From the “Spencer Repeater” that made confederates ask “What kind of Hell-fired guns have your men got?” to Abraham Lincolns personal gun-testing range, a “weed-and-garbage-strewn field east of the White House.”
One page specifics of each gun with their evolution, known names, when first designed, caliber, primary and current use with notable features are listed in the Appendix. Featured weapons include the “Winchester 1873 Rifle, Springfield Model 1903 Rifle, Colt M1911 Pistol, Thompson Submachine Gun, M1 Garand, .38 Special Police Revolver and M16 Rifle.”
Chris Kyle, America’s most lethal SEAL sniper, protected our nations “patriotic young men and women” on the battlefield with extraordinary shooting skill. Even though that skill came with a “hefty price,” writes wife Taya, a price that cost Chis his innocence. However, he “…willingly paid the price …time and time again” using his “…weapon to save the lives of those he was sent to protect.” Many Americans are alive today because of his service.
In retirement Chris “…found a new use for the gun” to bring healing in his work with “wounded veterans.” However, when the book was in “…its final stages…” Chris was killed Feb 4, 2013 when he and another friend were allegedly shot by a fellow troubled veteran on a Texas gun range. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/chris-kyle-americas-deadliest-sniper/story?id=18401566
“Perhaps more than any other nation in the world,” Kyle wrote, “the United States has been shaped by the gun…” Tragically, Chris’s own life and death were also shaped by the guns he loved and used. His wife Taya hopes you get to know the man she loved as you walk back in time with him through the pages of this book, brought to completion with the help of William Doyle and publisher William Morrow.
‘American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms’ by Chris Kyle, William Morrow, 2013, Hardcover, 320 Pages, 978-0062242716, $29.99
FaceBook: Gail Welborn
Midwest Book Reviews—“Gail’s Bookshelf” www.midwestbookreview.com/rbw/may_13.htm#gail
‘American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms’ by Chris Kyle
Chris Kyle—fallen hero and #1 bestselling author of American Sniper—reveals how ten legendary guns forever changed U.S. history.
At the time of his tragic death in February 2013, former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the top sniper in U.S. military history, was finishing one of the most exciting missions of his life: a remarkable book that retold American history through the lens of a hand-selected list of firearms. Kyle masterfully shows how guns have played a fascinating, indispensable, and often underappreciated role in our national story.
“Perhaps more than any other nation in the world,” Kyle writes, “the history of the United States has been shaped by the gun. Firearms secured the first Europeans’ hold on the continent, opened the frontier, helped win our independence, settled the West, kept law and order, and defeated tyranny across the world.”
Drawing on his unmatched firearms knowledge and combat experience, Kyle carefully chose ten guns to help tell his story: the American long rifle, Spencer repeater, Colt .45 revolver, Winchester rifle, Springfield 1903 rifle, Thompson sub-machine gun, 1911 pistol, M1 Garand, .38 Special police revolver, and the M-16 rifle platform Kyle himself used as a SEAL. Through them, he revisits thrilling turning points in American history, including the single sniper shot that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War, the firearms designs that proved decisive at Gettysburg, the “gun that won the West,” and the weapons that gave U.S. soldiers an edge in the world wars and beyond. This is also the story of how firearms innovation, creativity, and industrial genius has constantly pushed American history—and power—forward.
Filled with an unforgettable cast of characters, Chris Kyle’s American Gun is a sweeping epic of bravery, adventure, invention, and sacrifice.
‘American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History’ by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice
Gripping, eye-opening, and powerful, American Sniper is the astonishing autobiography of SEAL Chief Chris Kyle, who is the record-holding sniper in U.S. military history. Kyle has more than 150 officially confirmed kills (the previous American record was 109), though his remarkable career total has not been made public by the Pentagon.
In this New York Times bestselling memoir, Kyle shares the true story of his extraordinary decade-long career, including his multiple combat tours in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and elsewhere from 1999-2009.
Kyle’s riveting first-person account of how he went from Texas rodeo cowboy to expert marksman and feared assassin offers a fascinating view of modern-day warfare and one of the most in-depth and illuminating looks into the secret world of Special Ops ever written.
‘No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden’ by Mark Owen
For the first time anywhere, the first-person account of the planning and execution of the Bin Laden raid from a Navy Seal who confronted the terrorist mastermind and witnessed his final moments.
From the streets of Iraq to the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips in the Indian Ocean, and from the mountaintops of Afghanistan to the third floor of Osama Bin Laden’s compound, operator Mark Owen of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group–commonly known as SEAL Team Six– has been a part of some of the most memorable special operations in history, as well as countless missions that never made headlines.
No Easy Day puts readers alongside Owen and the other handpicked members of the twenty-four-man team as they train for the biggest mission of their lives. The blow-by-blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen’s life straight through to the radio call confirming Bin Laden’s death, is an essential piece of modern history.
In No Easy Day, Owen also takes readers onto the field of battle in America’s ongoing War on Terror and details the selection and training process for one of the most elite units in the military. Owen’s story draws on his youth in Alaska and describes the SEALs’ quest to challenge themselves at the highest levels of physical and mental endurance. With boots-on-the-ground detail, Owen describes numerous previously unreported missions that illustrate the life and work of a SEAL and the evolution of the team after the events of September 11. In telling the true story of the SEALs whose talents, skills, experiences, and exceptional sacrifices led to one of the greatest victories in the War on Terror, Mark Owen honors the men who risk everything for our country, and he leaves readers with a deep understanding of the warriors who keep America safe.
‘Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator’ by Adam Brown
Fearless takes you deep into SEAL Team SIX, straight to the heart of one of its most legendary operators.
When Navy SEAL Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan—but he was ready: In a letter to his children, not meant to be seen unless the worst happened, he wrote, “I’m not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this earth, because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me.”
Long before Adam Brown became a member of the elite SEAL Team SIX—the counterterrorism unit that took down Osama bin Laden—he was a fun-loving country boy from Hot Springs, Arkansas, whose greatest goal had been to wear his high school’s football jersey. An undersized daredevil, prone to jumping off roofs into trees and off bridges into lakes, Adam was a kid who broke his own bones but would never break a promise to his parents.
But after high school, Adam fell in with the wrong crowd, and his family watched as his appetite for risk dragged him into a downward spiral that eventually landed him in jail. Battling his inner demons on a last-chance road to redemption, Adam had one goal: to become the best of the best—a U.S. Navy SEAL.
An absorbing chronicle of heroism and humanity, Fearless presents an indelible portrait of a highly trained warrior who would enter a village with weapons in hand to hunt terrorists, only to come back the next day with an armload of shoes and meals for local children. It is a deeply personal, revealing glimpse inside the SEAL Team SIX brotherhood that also shows how these elite operators live out the rest of their lives, away from danger, as husbands, fathers, and friends.
Fearless is the story of a man of extremes, whose courage and determination was fueled by faith, family, and the love of a woman. It’s about a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses and persevered to reach the top tier of the U.S. military. Always the first to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, Adam’s final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.
Adam Brown was a devoted man who was an unlikely hero but a true warrior, described by all who knew him as fearless.
‘Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10’ by Marcus Luttrell & Patrick Robinson
Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to be very close to Bin Laden with a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive.
This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. His squad mates fought valiantly beside him until he was the only one left alive, blasted by an RPG into a place where his pursuers could not find him. Over the next four days, terribly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell crawled for miles through the mountains and was taken in by sympathetic villagers who risked their lives to keep him safe from surrounding Taliban warriors.
A born and raised Texan, Marcus Luttrell takes us from the rigors of SEAL training, where he and his fellow SEALs discovered what it took to join the most elite of the American Special Forces, to a fight in the desolate hills of Afghanistan for which they never could have been prepared. His account of his squad mates’ heroism and mutual support renders an experience that is both heartrending and life-affirming. In this rich chronicle of courage and sacrifice, honor and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers a powerful narrative of modern war.
‘Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale from the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines’ by Michael Ritland & Gary Brozek
As Seen on “60 Minutes”!
As a Navy SEAL during a combat deployment in Iraq, Mike Ritland saw a military working dog in action and instantly knew he’d found his true calling. Ritland started his own company training and supplying dogs for the SEAL teams, U.S. Government, and Department of Defense. He knew that less than 1 percent of all working dogs had what it takes to contribute to the success of our nation’s elite combat units, and began searching the globe for animals that fit this specific profile. These specialized canines had to pass rigorous selection tests before their serious training could begin.
The results were a revelation: highly trained working dogs capable of handling both detection and apprehension work in the most extreme environments and the tensest of battlefield conditions. Though fiercely aggressive and athletic, these dogs develop a close bond with the handlers they work side by side with and the other team members. Truly integrating themselves into their units, these K9 warriors are much like their human counterparts—unwavering in their devotion to duty, strong enough and tough enough to take it to the enemy through pain, injury, or fear.
For the first time ever, Trident K9 Warriors gives readers an inside look at these elite canines—who they are, how they are trained, and the extreme missions they undertake saving countless lives, asking for little in the way of reward. From detecting explosives to eliminating the bad guys, these powerful dogs are also some of the smartest and most highly skilled working animals on the planet.
‘Navy SEAL Dogs: My Tale of Training Canines for Combat’ by Michael Ritland, Gary Brozek & Thea Feldman
Trident K9 Warriors gave readers an inside look at the SEAL teams’ elite K9 warriors—who they are, how they are trained, and the extreme missions they undertake to save lives. From detecting explosives to eliminating the bad guys, these powerful dogs are also some of the smartest and highest skilled working animals on the planet. Mike Ritland’s job is to train them.
This special edition re-telling presents the dramatic tale of how Ritland discovered his passion and grew up to become the trainer of the nation’s most elite military working dogs. Ritland was a smaller-than-average kid who was often picked-on at school—which led him to spend more time with dogs at a young age. After graduating BUD/S training—the toughest military training in the world—to become a SEAL, he was on combat deployment in Iraq when he saw a military working dog in action and instantly knew he’d found his true calling.
Ritland started his own company to train and supply working and protection dogs for the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, and other clients. He also started the Warrior Dog Foundation to help retired Special Operations dogs live long and happy lives after their service.
This is the true story of how Mike Ritland grew from a skinny, bullied child, to a member of our nation’s most elite SEAL Teams, to the trainer of the world’s most highly skilled K9 warriors.