Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer Cottage Reading - American Gun

In addition to playing with the kids, climbing rocks and canoeing until my arms fell off, there was ample time for reading for pleasure and enrichment.

One of the books I read was American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms by Chris Kyle.

As you likely know, Chris Kyle is not just any author. He previously wrote American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History about his experiences as a SEAL chief and racking up at least 150 kills while saving American lives in Iraq. As you might expect, he knows quite a bit about guns, and he knows how to impart his knowledge to the reader.

Sadly, Mr. Kyle was untimely killed by a man not even fit to shine his boots before he could finish American Gun. It was his wife, along with Jim Defelice and Wiliam Doyle who brought it to completion.

The book details in ten chapters ten firearms that have left their mark on American history: The Kentucky Rifle, The Spencer Repeater, The Colt Single Action Army, The Winchester 1873, The 1903 Springfield, The 1911, The Thompson SMG, The M1 Garand, the .38 Special revolver and the M16.

The book describes each rifle, gives the history of its development and background regarding its adoption and use and the book vividly illustrates at least one episode and often many occasions where the firearm had a major impact on America. Heroes such as Wild Bill Hickok, Teddy Roosevelt, Alvin York, Leigh Ann Hester, and many others are featured, as are Rogues like Al Capone, the Dalton gang and others. Other firearms are described and compared and contrasted, especially when they faced off against one of the featured ten.

The book is well written, well referenced and well indexed, with a quick-paced narration that brings Mr. Kyle's observations about the merits of each firearm and its employment to the fore.

It's a darn good book and well worth a spot in any firearm aficionado's or enlightened amateur's library.

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