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

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THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING FOLLOW-UP TO AMERICAN SNIPER

Join Chris Kyle on a journedy to discover “how 10 firearms changed United States history” (New York Times Book Review)

Drawing on his legendary firearms knowledge and combat experience, U.S. Navy SEAL and #1 bestselling author of American Sniper Chris Kyle dramatically chronicles the story of America—from the Revolution to the present—through the lens of ten iconic guns and the remarkable heroes who used them to shape history: the American long rifle, Spencer repeater, Colt .45 revolver, Winchester 1873 rifle, Springfield M1903 rifle, M1911 pistol, Thompson submachine gun, M1 Garand, .38 Special police revolver, and the M16 rifle platform Kyle himself used. American Gun is a sweeping epic of bravery, adventure, invention, and sacrifice.

Featuring a foreword and afterword by Taya Kyle and illustrated with more than 100 photographs, this new paperback edition features a bonus chapter, “The Eleventh Gun,” on shotguns, derringers, and the Browning M2 machine gun.

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About the author

SEAL Team 3 Chief Chris Kyle (1974–2013) was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, and numerous other citations. Following four combat tours in Iraq, he became chief instructor for training Naval Special Warfare sniper teams. He is the author of American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms. A native Texan, Kyle is survived by his wife, Taya, and their two children.

William Doyle has written or cowritten seven books, including PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy and American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms (with “American Sniper” Chris Kyle). He served as director of original programming for HBO and was coproducer of the PBS special Navy SEALs: Their Untold Story. He lives with his family in New York City.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Jun 4, 2013
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780062242730
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / United States
History / Military / Weapons
History / United States / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Based on fifteen years of research, Glock is the riveting story of the weapon that has become known as American’s gun.  Today the Glock pistol has been embraced by two-thirds of all U.S. police departments, glamorized in countless Hollywood movies, and featured as a ubiquitous presence on prime-time TV. It has been rhapsodized by hip-hop artists, and coveted by cops and crooks alike. 
 
Created in 1982 by Gaston Glock, an obscure Austrian curtain-rod manufacturer, and swiftly adopted by the Austrian army, the Glock pistol, with its lightweight plastic frame and large-capacity spring-action magazine, arrived in America at a fortuitous time.  Law enforcement agencies had concluded that their agents and officers, armed with standard six-round revolvers, were getting "outgunned" by drug dealers with semi-automatic pistols. They needed a new gun.
 
When Karl Water, a firearm salesman based in the U.S. first saw a Glock in 1984, his reaction was, “Jeez, that’s ugly.” But the advantages of the pistol soon became apparent. The standard semi-automatic Glock could fire as many as 17 bullets from its magazine without reloading (one equipped with an extended thirty-three cartridge magazine was used in Tucson to shoot Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others). It was built with only 36 parts that were interchangeable with those of other models. You could drop it underwater, toss it from a helicopter, or leave it out in the snow, and it would still fire. It was reliable, accurate, lightweight, and cheaper to produce than Smith and Wesson’s revolver. Made in part of hardened plastic, it was even rumored (incorrectly) to be invisible to airport security screening.
 
Filled with corporate intrigue, political maneuvering, Hollywood glitz, bloody shoot-outs—and an attempt on Gaston Glock’s life by a former lieutenant—Glock is at once the inside account of how Glock the company went about marketing its pistol to police agencies and later the public, as well as a compelling chronicle of the evolution of gun culture in America.
The widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle shares their private story: an unforgettable testament to the power of love and faith in the face of war and unimaginable loss--and a moving tribute to a man whose true heroism ran even deeper than the legend

In early 2013, Taya Kyle and her husband Chris were the happiest they ever had been. Their decade-long marriage had survived years of war that took Chris, a U.S. Navy SEAL, away from Taya and their two children for agonizingly long stretches while he put his life on the line in many major battles of the Iraq War. After struggling to readjust to life out of the military, Chris had found new purpose in redirecting his lifelong dedication to service to supporting veterans and their families. Their love had deepened, and, most special of all, their family was whole, finally.

Then, the unthinkable. On February 2, 2013, Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield were killed while attempting to help a troubled vet. The life Chris and Taya fought so hard to build together was shattered. In an instant, Taya became a single parent of two. A widow. A young woman facing the rest of her life without the man she loved.

Chris and Taya’s remarkable story has captivated millions through Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster, Academy Award-winning film American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper as Chris and Sienna Miller as Taya, and because of Chris’s bestselling memoir, in which Taya contributed passages that formed the book’s emotional core. Now, with trusted collaborator Jim DeFelice, Taya writes in never-before-told detail about the hours, days, and months after his shocking death when grief threatened to overwhelm her. Then there were wearying battles to protect her husband’s legacy and reputation.

And yet throughout, friendship, family, and a deepening faith were lifelines that sustained her and the kids when the sorrow became too much. Two years after her husband’s tragic death, Taya has found renewed meaning and connection to Chris by advancing their shared mission of “serving those who serve others,” particularly military and first-responder families. She and the children now are embracing a new future, one that honors the past but also looks forward with hope, gratitude, and joy.

American Wife is one of the most remarkable memoirs of the year -- a universal chronicle of love and heartbreak, service and sacrifice, faith and purpose that will inspire every reader.

At a secret arms-design contest in Stalin’s Soviet Union, army technicians submitted a stubby rifle with a curved magazine. Dubbed the AK-47, it was selected as the Eastern Bloc’s standard arm. Scoffed at in the Pentagon as crude and unimpressive, it was in fact a breakthrough—a compact automatic that could be mastered by almost anyone, last decades in the field, and would rarely jam. Manufactured by tens of millions in planned economies, it became first an instrument of repression and then the most lethal weapon of the Cold War. Soon it was in the hands of terrorists.

In a searing examination of modern conflict and official folly, C. J. Chivers mixes meticulous historical research, investigative reporting, and battlefield reportage to illuminate the origins of the world’s most abundant firearm and the consequences of its spread. The result, a tour de force of history and storytelling, sweeps through the miniaturization and distribution of automatic firepower, and puts an iconic object in fuller context than ever before.

The Gun dismantles myths as it moves from the naïve optimism of the Industrial Revolution through the treacherous milieu of the Soviet Union to the inside records of the Taliban. Chivers tells of the 19th-century inventor in Indianapolis who designs a Civil War killing machine, insisting that more-efficient slaughter will save lives. A German attaché who observes British machine guns killing Islamic warriors along the Nile advises his government to amass the weapons that would later flatten British ranks in World War I. In communist Hungary, a locksmith acquires an AK-47 to help wrest his country from the Kremlin’s yoke, beginning a journey to the gallows. The Pentagon suppresses the results of firing tests on severed human heads that might have prevented faulty rifles from being rushed to G.I.s in Vietnam. In Africa, a millennial madman arms abducted children and turns them on their neighbors, setting his country ablaze. Neither pro-gun nor anti-gun, The Gun builds to a terrifying sequence, in which a young man who confronts a trio of assassins is shattered by 23 bullets at close range. The man survives to ask questions that Chivers examines with rigor and flair.

Throughout, The Gun animates unforgettable characters—inventors, salesmen, heroes, megalomaniacs, racists, dictators, gunrunners, terrorists, child soldiers, government careerists, and fools. Drawing from years of research, interviews, and from declassified records revealed for the first time, he presents a richly human account of an evolution in the very experience of war.
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