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Thunder in the Mountains: A Portrait of American Gun Culture

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  35 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In this beautifully written and powerful memoir, author Craig K. Collins leads the reader down a remarkable path -- one that wends from the founding of America to present-day suburbia. Along the way he explores the meaning of a history – of his family’s and his country’s – that is infused with the culture of the gun. Stops along the way include an Indian massacre at Bad Ax ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Lyons Press
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Vic Williams
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I knew Craig Collins back in high school in Bishop, Calif. We worked together on the school newspaper, ran some cross-country and hung in some of the same circles. He was a born writer then and he's brought that talent to full fruition with this book, for which I received an advance copy last week. I blazed through it with great interest and appreciation for Craig's skill as a fellow storyteller. His history with and thoughts on guns — bolstered by accounts of friends, acquainta ...more
Jeanie Jacobson
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Craig Collins, Bishop High School’s star debater, never in forensic competition “shot himself in the foot,” as he did literally while participating in the gun culture of the American West. As much polemic as memoir, Thunder in the Mountains juxtaposes tender coming -of-age moments with moments of senseless loss. The writing is vivid, funny, and dead serious, drawing the reader subtly and inexorably to the debate’s central premise without ever actually stating it. Collins has given us an engaging ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
The personal memoir of a man who was born and raised out west with his family deeply involved in the use and sometimes misuse of firearms. The central event for the author is when he is a teenager shoots his own foot in a hunting accident and nearly dies. The book delves into the historical use of guns generally and among his family, friends and acquaintances. My only problem with the book was the author occasionally veering off topic into rock and mountain climbing and a little too deeply into ...more
Michelle Morgan
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance reading copy of this yesterday. I was hooked after the first sentence and almost finished with it..Absolutely a great read..I totally love it.
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the publisher for the advance copy. I was expecting a more general discussion of American gun culture, but this really is a most personal memoir of growing up in the West with a childhood oriented in nature and hunting. The author is uniquely qualified to write about guns and childhood as the reader will discover. Readers expecting any kind of stance for or against guns won't find that but the author does a good job describing the importance of firearms in the West and within his o ...more
Erin Young
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Eh. I only made it halfway through. It was educational, but not intriguing, and I'll spare you my personal opinion on the actions of some of the people in Nevada. ...more
Randall Decker
So as a book this was really in the middle of the road for me. I'd give it 2.5 stars if I could. This is a literary nonfiction book with no real agenda... pro or anti-gun. The author leaves those sentiments up to the reader. For that I was grateful. This book took me a very long time to finish, not because I disliked the read, but it is the book I pick up when I am bored or headed out on a trip. It never grabbed my attention to the point where I felt I "had" to finish it when I got home. I could ...more
John Winkelman
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
It was interesting and well written, but I thought it was choppy and tried too hard to include fancy words and phrases. I did like the historic references but there placement did seem forced frequently.
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: freebie, memoirs
I received this book as an advance copy which I promised to read and review. The cover of the book, with the bullet and subtitle "Portrait of American Gun Culture," is a bit misleading.

The book is more of a memoir/history hybrid, and many of the gun-related stories are directly related to Mr. Collins and his family and acquaintances. We literally start off with a bang as young Craig accidentally shoots himself in the foot, then we weave in and out of Craig's emergency, Wild West history, nature
Jul 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I won a copy of 'Thunder In The Mountains' from a Goodreads giveaway. Those looking for an in depth look into American Gun Culture will not find it in this book. This is a memoir about growing up in the west, with some tales from the past regarding life in the west interwoven throughout. The author grew up hunting, and he recounts several memories of hunting expeditions with his brother and father. Collins also recounts a handful of classmates who have had not so pleasant encounters with guns. S ...more
Thomas J
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An incredible meld of the history of the West, cultural and historical perspectives of hunting, gun-fighting and self-defense. This is adeptly interwoven with the author's breathtakingly rich and incredibly prosaic portraiture of his own life in the West growing up hunting, his experiences with friends and lovers, the impact of the gun culture on their lives.

Collins dazzles as he describes various geographic, ethnic, and economic aspects of the West, masterfully juxtaposed with the almost tangi
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkably powerful reflection on a string of tragic events related to gun violence. Sadly, many of us can relate to Craig Collins' experience, but to have those experiences told the way they are in this book requires a writer of extraordinary skill. ...more
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Craig K. Collins was born in Pocatello, Idaho, in 1960, and was raised in small towns throughout the Great Basin—Carson City, Nevada; Winnemucca, Nevada; and Bishop, California. He attended college in San Diego, where he has lived since, and holds a BA in English and an MBA from San Diego State University. After a stint as a journalist, he served as a senior executive for Fortune 500 companies. La ...more

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