Lethal Passage: The Story of a Gun

Lethal Passage The Story of a Gun This devastating book begins with an account of a crime that is by now almost commonplace on December sixteen year old Nicholas Elliot walked into his Virginia high school with a Cobray M

  • Title: Lethal Passage: The Story of a Gun
  • Author: Erik Larson
  • ISBN: 9780679759270
  • Page: 102
  • Format: Paperback
  • This devastating book begins with an account of a crime that is by now almost commonplace on December 16, 1988, sixteen year old Nicholas Elliot walked into his Virginia high school with a Cobray M 11 9 and several hundred rounds of ammunition tucked in his backpack By day s end, he had killed one teacher and severely wounded another.In Lethal Passage Erik Larson shows uThis devastating book begins with an account of a crime that is by now almost commonplace on December 16, 1988, sixteen year old Nicholas Elliot walked into his Virginia high school with a Cobray M 11 9 and several hundred rounds of ammunition tucked in his backpack By day s end, he had killed one teacher and severely wounded another.In Lethal Passage Erik Larson shows us how a disturbed teenager was able to buy a weapon advertised as the gun that made the eighties roar In so doing, he not only illuminates America s gun culture its manufacturers, dealers, buffs, and propagandists but also offers concrete solutions to our national epidemic of death by firearm The result is a book that can and should save lives, and that has already become an essential text in the gun control debate.

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    Lethal Passage: The Story of a Gun

    About "Erik Larson"

    1. Erik Larson

      Erik Larson, author of the international bestseller Isaac s Storm, was nominated for a National Book Award for The Devil in the White City, which also won an Edgar Award for fact crime writing His latest book, In the Garden of Beasts Love Terror and an American Family in Hitler s Berlin, has been acquired for publication in 20 countries and optioned by Tom Hanks for a feature film Erik is a former features writer for The Wall Street Journal and Time His magazine stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper s and other publications.Larson has taught non fiction writing at San Francisco State, the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and the University of Oregon, and has spoken to audiences from coast to coast He lives in Seattle with his wife, who is the director of neonatology at the University of Washington Medical Center and at Children s Hospital of Seattle, and the author of the nonfiction memoir, Almost Home, which, as Erik puts it, could make a stone cry They have three daughters in far flung locations.


    1. In the interest of full disclosure, I didn t make it all the way through this book I really like the author s other books but this one was not what I expected I was interested in hearing the story of this kid and the school shooting but that turned out to just be mentioned for maybe one graf per chapter if that The rest is just facts and dates about gun production and gun laws It might have been interesting still, but it was just so incredibly biased and one sided I felt insulted as a reader li [...]

    2. Erik Larson, in 1993, wrote Lethal Passage, and asked his audience what would it take for America to recognize the need for gun regulation 20 years later, the book is still relevant, although gun violence has only continued to increase On page 228, Larson writes, In discussing this book with my editor and her marketing associates, we all came to the same conclusion This book would never lack for a promotional tie to a national news event because a new massacre was bound to occur within the viabl [...]

    3. This somewhat dated book 1992 provides much scary information about American society s gun culture Author intersperses story of how a deranged teenager was able to carry out an assault on a Virginia Beach school using an automatic pistol with facts about how gun dealers and the National Rifle Association have intimidated legislators into legal irresponsibility Even weak existing restrictive laws have many loopholes Mentioned also is how the NRA distorts the U.S Constitution s 2nd Amendment they [...]

    4. Larson provides an unbiased view of current U.S firearms regulations and the ATF He brings up numerous problems and loopholes, which allow the proliferation of firearms to reach the streets Larson addresses numerous issues throughout the book Instead of just bringing these issues to light, he actually provides what he feels would be solutions He investigates all angles of the gun problem in America by following the stories of a school shooting, gun manufactures, gun dealers, and the NRA gun cult [...]

    5. This is the story of American gun culture told through the story of bullied schoolboy Nicholas Elliot, who plots his revenge by acquiring a handgun and then opening up on his teachers and classmates in a private Christian school in Virginia in December, 1988 Larson traces the history of the Cobray M 11 9 from its creation to its arrival in the hand of an angry young man in the context of deliberately lax legislation that makes it easier to get a gun than to get a driver s license in the United S [...]

    6. As coming from a diehard pro second amendment hunting family the stereotypical one that clings to guns and religion I am reading this to better understand the perspective of the pro gun control position For better memory retention, I m summarizing the chapters as I read Chapter one Introduction In brief, the author tells the condensed version of the crime, against a backdrop of the social forces of our American gun culture and the disenfranchisement of urban black youth Next he points out how th [...]

    7. I read the 1994 edition with its 1995 afterword First Vintage Books Edition This historical narrative begins with incidence of 16 yr old Nicholas Elliot and a Cobray M 11 19 having magazines that fire 20 or so rounds in a second or two Larson s research finds where the gun came from retailer, distributor and manufacturer He demonstrates how easy it is for anyone to buy a gun of any type, how easy it is to get a gun dealer license and bypass all the rules for retail gun purchasers, and how many g [...]

    8. The most interesting aspect of this book is this story is twenty years old but still relevant today Erik Larson approaches a school shooting in Virginia back in 1988 by telling the story of the shooter Nicholas Elliot and the gun he used the Cobray M 11 9 The first thing that struck me about this book is that Larson spends so much time telling the story of the Cobray and not that of the shooter I ve just become accustomed to the detailed profile of school shooters and not of the weapons they use [...]

    9. Another Larson book I ve enjoyed but not like the others This one was not only written from a modern incident from when it was written anyway , but also had a bit of a political and cultural message in the book It was interesting to read how many different perceptions of gun violence and gun control we have in this country, and I thought that Larson did a great job of illustrating the points from both sides even though it was clear which side he was on And the end, he did something I hadn t read [...]

    10. This book is very different from the other books by Erik Larson that I have read and loved Instead of telling the story of an interesting historical event, this book chronicles a national tragedy the sad state of our country and its insane love for guns and the gun culture I really did not enjoy reading this book because with each page I got madder and madder Gun violence has gotten so much worse since this book was published in 1994, and I do not see any relief in the future In the last chapter [...]

    11. No matter which camp you find yourself in regarding our gun laws you should read this book, and read it all the way through On December 16, 1988 sixteen year old Nicholas Elliott shot and killed a teacher and wounded another at The Atlantic Shore Christian School in Hampton Roads Erik Larsen undertakes the journey of the weapon he used, a Cobray M 11, and how it got in the hands of a 16 year old A great deal has happened in the three decades since that crime, and sadly it seems rather routine by [...]

    12. Interesting and horrifying at the same time Luckily, this is pretty old and things have changed a fair amount since then but not enough I am glad I read it but really sad I did at the same time because rather than accurate assessment of our society, I wish this sort of thing were a type of fiction or long past history.

    13. A fantastic examination of gun culture and gun laws that culminates in a really well thought of and constructed gun regulation plan that doesn t stand a chance of passing The author stipulates that as well I highly recommend for anyone who wants to further understand the intricacy of how many interconnected areas are linked in the issues surrounding gun violence in America.

    14. A little sad that nothing really surprised me in the book Its almost been 25 years already since the book was published, and as much as the author saw things moving in the right direction in 1994, that progress stopped.

    15. Fascinating to think this book was written before Columbine and all the mass shootings that have plagued the US since then If the legislators would have taken Larson s suggestions and enacted even a portion of them into law, you wonder how many innocent lives could have been saved.

    16. 3.5 The fact that this was written over 20 years ago and little has changed is depressing We ve had columbine, aurora, and newtown, to name just a few Gun culture is alive and well.

    17. Pretty good book, but my least favorite of Larson s Definitely apropos for the time, but needs to be updated in several places since it was written so long ago Dog years gun violence years.

    18. A bit dated, but a really good overview of the history of gun regulation, or lack thereof in America Shameful that it is still so relevant.

    19. Sometimes books suffer by comparison In this case Lethal Passage suffers when compared with A Long Way Home, which I just completed, and which is a tremendously uplifting story Lethal Passage by contrast is deeply troubling and depressing It also suffers by comparison with all the other Erik Larson books I ve read Dead Wake, In the Garden of Beasts, The Devil In White City, Thunderstruck and Issac s Storm Although all of them are historical recitations, they each tell a fascinating, and often un [...]

    20. Over two decades since this book was written and sadly its still quite relevant The book takes the story of how one boy got one gun to shoot at a school and looks at how past US decisions got us to the point where gun violence is a daily happening and yet most Americans don t even bat an eye the two stories are interlocked to demonstrate the story of how a boy easily gets a hold of a gun to seek revenge against a fellow student while showing how America became the nation that holds guns central [...]

    21. Written in 1993, it s a perspective from America as it was looking into the abyss For anyone familiar with Freakanomics, you ll know that at just about that time, things started to change in the crime landscape in America, giving us a less bleak and dismal view of the gun toting future than we all thought we d have.Still, the book makes some interesting points as it takes us through the history of America and it s love affair with guns, and how that plays out in the hands of individuals The thin [...]

    22. Erik Larsen has the gift of writing, even in such a topic as controversial as gun control I learned a lot about the history of NRA and their viewpoints and my eyes were opened to what is readily out there for anyone seeking information on how to kill and how to maximize the use of a gun Incredible The statistics Larsen gives are staggering and that was 20 years ago when he wrote this I like how he showed the many problems and hang ups with gun control and legislation and then ends the book with [...]

    23. January 11th, 2012The book starts out telling you about an African American boy named Nicholas Elliot who brought a gun to school No one has ever followed a gun and traced where it was been Erik Larson was able to receive a gun license at a very cheap price It is once of the easiest licenses to obtain With this license he is able to go to gun shows and fairs along with being able to sell firearms Nicholas was a troubled boy with Dyslexia and was picked on for his disability He was put in special [...]

    24. This was AMAZING Larson traced the genealogy of a gun used in a school shooting in 1989 a school shooting I d not heard of, in spite of the fact that I lived in the state Virginia where it had taken place In the process, he also makes some very apt points about the gun control debate and reveals a few bits of information that make my blood run cold there s no law prohibiting a blind person from gun ownership It s easier to get a license to be a gun dealer than it is to get a license to drive a c [...]

    25. Lethal Passage is a book that briefly tells us about a 15 year old boy named Nicholas Elliot, who brought a Cobray M 11 9 semiautomatic pistol into his high school and attempted a mass shooting in 1988 The story is commentated by and given in context to the author s views on gun rights, the ethics or lack their of of gun dealers and manufacturers, and current gun laws The history of gun control, the NRA, and American crime is also disused The book if full of very intriguing statistical informati [...]

    26. Good book, but for me read like a textbook or report I can tell that Mr Larson was still developing his own style that, in future books, would make his writing so attractive.

    27. I wrote these impressions of the book back then This book is the story of 16 yr old Nicholas who brought to school and fired a Cobray M 11 9 Through the story, Larson carefully traces the travels of the weapon and convincingly demonstrates what is wrong with gun laws in the United States I found the book both interesting and instructive Before reading it, I had not idea of how easy it could be to buy a firearm not that I would want to Mr Larson s conclusions are credible because of the experienc [...]

    28. Erik Larson is one of my favorite authors, and this is a fine book, but you can tell he wrote it early in his career He definitely perfected his writing as the years passed It is still well written, but I can t say that it s a fun book to read It will leave you shaking your head at our insane, lax gun laws, and the most frustrating thing is that in the twenty years since this book was written, it has only gotten worse Larson wonders what it will take to make us pass common sense gun reform laws [...]

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