Monday, June 24, 2013

MArooned Book Report: "American Gun", by Chris Kyle

So, a few weeks back I received my copy of "American Gun" by Chris Kyle:

It immediately went into the queue, and as soon as I finished "World War Z", I started "American Gun". I finished it at the end of last week and wanted to post a review for the curious.

Kyle lists ten firearms that he considers uniquely American and integral to the history of the American firearms experience. Most are pretty much what you'd expect" Colt 1911, M16, M1 Garand,  Winchester 1873 lever action, Peacemaker. Kyle devotes a full chapter to each firearm, discussing the events that led up to the gun's introduction as well as the impact the firearm had on the course of American history as well as in world history.

I found it to be an excellent read; Kyle approaches the subject with a warrior's eye, but you can tell he's having a lot of fun with this as well. His writing style is pretty unique; he's both laid back and intense at the same time, and makes his case with both anecdote and hard data. Kyle weaves American history, legend, and lore together in a truly interesting book, and makes his case for each of the ten firearms convincingly.

There's a few surprises on the "Top Ten" list, and a few more that are surprising by their absence. That's not to say that the ten on the list aren't excellent American firearms, iconic in their own right, of course; just that out of all the American firearms that have been made in the history of our country, narrowing the list down to only ten is a herculean task. Chris Kyle has done a masterful job of narrowing the list down, defending his choices, and getting the reader to see his point.

I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in firearms, American history, and - especially and - both together. I'll be ordering Chris Kyle's "American Sniper" next, that's how much I like his writing style. It's an easy read, but that doesn't mean simple; just that he presents his material without a lot of extra words, and he doesn't throw in big words just to sound smart. He lets his writing do that for him.

The only thing I don't like about this book is that I can never have a signed copy. Rest in Peace, Chris.

That is all.

That is all.


libertyman said...

Geez, I am reading that now!
And, my intentions are the same to tackle American Sniper.

What is that they say about great minds?
If I had a great mind, I guess i would remember, eh?

Good read.

JD said...

American Sniper is a good quick read, loved it!. . . guess I will have to get a copy of this one now. . .

Dwight Brown said...

I've been waiting for someone I trust to review this. Thanks, Jay.

How technically accurate is it? Did you notice any egregious errors that took you out of the book? Anything that made you go "Say WHAT?"

(Several people I know have read "American Sniper". I've been holding off on it as well; the last book I read by a sniper...well, I paid $1 for it at the local library's used book store, and I wanted my $1 back. It seems like enough people like Kyle's book that I may have to give it a chance.)

Jay G said...

Dwight, the only thing that really made me take notice was in the discussion of the M16 and subsequent AR-15 variants. There's a bit of the "ZOMG ARMOR PIERCING AMMO" that creeps in; I'm not sure how/why.

It's a discussion of rifle ammo piercing police vests, which *any* rifle ammo - including the .30-30 in the 1873 Winchester he discussed several chapters prior - will do.

Skip said...

He was a good writer, and a fine man.
His first books proceeds go to charity.

Daniel in Brookline said...

I'm reading it too, and enjoying it very much. He clearly knew and loved his subjects (guns AND American history) very well.

I would very much have enjoyed watching him grow as a writer; there were certainly many more books in him. What a tragedy... and yet, as the saying goes, we should not grieve his passing. We should thank God that such men live among us.

When I finish my Kindle copy, I have a feeling I'll be getting it in hardcover, so I can thumb through it frequently.