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 the 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.
Read by John Pruden
Chris Kyle is not a man I ever thought I would refer to in the past tense. No matter how much danger he faced, we always knew Chris would come out alive with an awesome story filled with close calls. To say I lost a friend this year does not say enough. I lost someone I looked up to as a frogman and Texan brother. He exemplified each word of the SEAL Creed, and he deserves the highest honor and respect for what he put on the line to keep his brothers safe from the enemy. I know there are mothers and fathers out there right now who are grateful their son or daughter returned home from war thanks to Chris Kyle. He saved countless lives. Whether he sat high on a rooftop taking out the enemy threatening his teammates, or if he was fighting side-by-side with a Marine platoon, his mission was always clear: “draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect his brothers.”
Chris gave a piece of his life to the SEAL teams, but there came a time when he needed to refocus on his family. No matter how difficult his decision to leave the military, he knew he was doing was right thing for his wife and two children. He became well known after the much-deserved success of his first book, American Sniper. The way he handled himself under the spotlight and shared his passions are a testament to the man he was. Chris gave away the proceeds of his book to veterans and families of fallen teammates. He was the founder of a security company that was dedicated to teaching fine skills to law enforcement and other security details. He was committed to his family, he was committed to helping veterans, he was committed to several charities, he was committed to serving others. That was Chris. He lived by his own rules, and I couldn’t respect him more.
I am so glad to see this important book, American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms, come to life, because it meant so much to Chris to get it completed. It’s a testament to his service, and it proves that he wasn’t a guy who just wanted to be known for his kill count. He had an incredible respect for his country, our history, and preserving the second amendment—he also had an almost unmatched knowledge of firearms. This book is filled with his passion for a fine gun, shows clearly how our national relationship with firearms got to where it is today, and reveals the many fascinating ways guns have shaped American history. It’s also a hell of a good read--full of amazing stories of American soldiers, cowboys, and heroes, from the Revolution, Civil War, Wild West, world wars, Iraq, and beyond.
I have to pay tribute to Chris’s wife Taya, who wrote the foreword and afterword in American Gun. Taya is carrying the torch for Chris, their kids, and for those who he fought to defend. She has promised to see through all of the projects Chris left behind, as well as ensure Chris's memory is honored as it should be. I think Chris married a person who may be stronger than even he was—that’s saying something. With Chris’s spirit beside her, she is never out of the fight. Lastly, y’all should know Taya and their kids receive the author proceeds of American Gun, so buy this awesome book in bulk and share with friends.