Before his tragic murder on February 2013, former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was in the middle of penning his latest book. It was on a subject that lay close to Kyle’s heart, who loved nothing less than to combine his love of history with his passion for firearms.
He had titled it American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms. It was released in print two weeks ago.
“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.”
Who better to write a book on the role of firearms in American than one of the most famed marksmen in the nation’s history? With 160 confirmed kills, Kyle cemented himself as an expert in the arena of war. The psychological impact he had on the battlefield surfaced in the fear and respect he sowed among enemy combatants, who labeled him the “Devil of Ramadi” and offered cash bounties in an attempt to stop the deadly sniper.
Kyle seemed invincible, and after surviving bomb blasts and gunshots to the head he returned home to a hero’s welcome. It seemed that after his time served overseas–four tours in Iraq–Kyle finally found time for himself and his family. The former SEAL started a promising writing career and published the best-selling autobiography American Sniper. He had begun researching and writing for his new book, a history of America through firearms, when he was shot and killed at a Texas shooting range by another veteran, who was reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kyle’s death left a nation in mourning and his book unfinished.
“Chris Kyle thought there was an amazing series of stories to be told about how guns had shaped American history,” co-author William Doyle told Fox News. Doyle’s efforts made it possible for the book to be finished and released earlier this month.
“This is a book not about politics but great American history,” Doyle added.
The ten firearms that Kyle and Doyle touches on in the book have familiar names like the Kentucky long rifle, Spencer repeater, Colt Single-action Army, Winchester Model 1873, M1903 Springfield, M1911 Colt semiautomatic pistol, Thompson submachine gun, M1 Garand, .38 special police revolver, and perhaps the most iconic modern American firearm, the M16.
“Chris has always loved history,” said his widow Taya Kyle. “He loved the technical aspect of guns. So when he looked at all the things he was passionate about, this idea came to fruition. This book is filled with stories of people just like him, everyday people who happen to find themselves in extraordinary situations.”
You can view a video of Taya Kyle speaking about the book’s inception below:
A movie based on Chris Kyle’s life and named after his autobiography American Sniper is in the works. According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Steven Spielberg has signed onto the project and Bradley Cooper is attached for a starring role.