From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him “The Legend”; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
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.
Scott McEwen is a trial lawyer in San Diego.
Jim DeFelice is the co-author of Chris Kyle’s #1 New York Times bestseller American Sniper. He also is the author of Omar Bradley: General at War, the first in-depth critical biography of America’s last five-star general, and the co-author of the New York Times bestseller Code Name: Johnny Walker: The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the U.S. Navy SEALs. He writes acclaimed military thrillers, including the Rogue Warrior series from Richard Marcinko, founder of SEAL Team 6, and the novels in the Dreamland series with Dale Brown.
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.
As the insurgency in Iraq intensified following the American invasion, U.S. Navy SEALs were called upon to root terrorists from their lairs. Unsure of the local neighborhoods and unable to speak the local languages, they came to rely on one man to guide them and watch their backs. He was a "terp"—an interpreter—with a job so dangerous they couldn't even use his real name.
They named him Johnny Walker. They soon called him brother. Over the course of eight years, the Iraqi native traveled around the country with nearly every SEAL and special operations unit deployed there. He went on thousands of missions, saved dozens of SEAL and other American lives, and risked his own daily. Helped to the U.S. by the SEALs he protected, Johnny Walker's life is so remarkable that his tale reads like fiction. But every word of it is true.
For the first time ever, a "terp" tells what it was like in Iraq during the American invasion and the brutal insurgency that followed. With inside details on SEAL operations and a humane understanding of the tragic price paid by ordinary Iraqis, Code Name: Johnny Walker reveals a side of the war that has never been told before.
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.
In the spring of 1860 on the eve of a civil war that threatened to tear the country apart, two Americans conceived of an audacious plan for linking the nation’s two coasts, thereby joining its present with its future. All that stood in the way was a 1,900 miles of uninhabited desert, ice-capped mountains, oceanic plains roamed by hostile Indian tribes, whitewater-choked rivers, and rugged, unsettled frontier wilderness where civilized" men where outnumbered a million to one by grizzlies, mountain lions, wolves, bison, rattlesnakes, and more. Many deemed their revolutionary scheme impossible. Run by the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company, the Pony Express as it came to be known, would use a relay system of daring horseback riders to ferry mail and small packages halfway across a continent in just ten days.
The challenges they faced were enormous, yet the Pony Express succeeded, delivering tens of thousands of letters at record speed. The service would quickly become the most direct means of communication between the Eastern United States and its Western territories, helping to firmly connect them to the Union. West Like Lightning traces the development of the Pony Express and follows it from its start in St. Joseph, Missouri—the edge of the civilized world in the mid-nineteenth century—1,500 miles west to Sacramento. Jim DeFelice—who traveled the Express’s route in his research—plumbs the legends, myths, and true facts of the service, viewing it within the context of the American story and exploring its lasting relevance today. Though the Pony Express was eclipsed by the telegraph in less than two years, it remains today an enduring symbol of American values: rugged individualism, perseverance, and speed.