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Comment: Very good condition. Cover and pages very little wear. Inside pages are clean and crisp. No writings or markings.
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Lethal Passage: The Story of a Gun Paperback – January 15, 1995

3.7 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wall Street Journal reporter Larson has written a new afterword to this timely study of American gun culture.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this work, Larson interweaves the story of a boy and his gun (a 16-year-old who kills one teacher and wounds another with a member of the infamous MAC-10 family) with a study of the causes and effects of our gun-happy society. He admits that he has no problem with using handguns for sport or even as a last line of self-defense. But he goes on to propose a model bill calling for sweeping changes in laws governing the distribution, sale, and design of firearms. It's a pity that, by producing a reasonably balanced account of an incendiary subject, Larson will probably alienate both the pro- and antigun camps, and his bill, as he acknowledges, "doesn't have a chance in hell of being passed." Highly recommended nonetheless. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/93.
- Jim Burns, Ottumwa, Ia.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (January 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679759271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679759270
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan of Erik Larson, but this book (one of his earlier works) doesn't really line up with the type of storytelling for which he has come to be known. Based on books like Thunderstruck and Dead Wake, I expected Lethal Passage to tell two interwoven stories: One of the actions of Nicolas Brown, and one of the path his Cobray M-11/9 took before ending up in his hands. Both, I figured, would be exhaustive, enlightening, and generally compelling.

Instead, the book spends a few brief chapters exploring Brown's actions and devotes a massive number of words to what is essentially a persuasive essay about the problems with America's gun culture/gun laws. The narrative imbalance is jarring -- for example, a 60-page exploration of gun publications, the NRA, and the media, is sandwich between a 5-page and 12-page exploration of Nicolas's actions and their ramifications. Not much of a story to be told.

I don't particularly disagree with the assertions Larson has made here, but it's a far cry from his other works and leans much closer to the realm of long-form opinion/editorial than non-fiction exploration. Additionally (as others have said), the book is definitely dated -- it's hard to take too much meaningful information out of it given the way gun violence and gun culture have evolved over the 22 years since its publication. I almost wonder if the book is due for an update.

In the end I'd say it's a worthwhile read for those curious about how America's gun culture evolved through the late end of the 20th century or for Larson fans looking to check another work off the list, but would be hard-pressed to recommend it on its merits alone.
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Format: Paperback
When I read Erik Larson, I know I'm in for a treat, and this was no exception. This book not only tells the story of how a bullied boy takes his anger out using a gun at school, but the story of the inadequicies of gun legislation and the winding road the NRA has taken interpreting the 2nd Amendment. The one irony I found that Larson points out is that it's harder to get a driver's license than it is to get a gun in the United States. What I like most about the book is that Larson provides a solution to the gun problem and outlines a very reasonable and comprehensive bill regarding the use and regulations of guns. But I have to agree it would be impossible to get through legislation, not because it's unworthy, but because our current government is a messy monolith of a bureacracy where nothing gets done due to poor representation, egos, and political shortsightedness--in my humble opinion. Our forefathers would roll over in their graves if they could see what has become of our sacred 2nd Amendment. Excellent book by an author who does his homework.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this book because it mentioned a prominent citizen in my little town, and I wanted to look at Mr. Larson's references to find out about the murder of this person. Mr. Larson did not solve my mystery but he wrote a fascinating book about a gun, the Cobray M-11/9, a type of gun that had been used in many crimes across the country in the '80's. He described how this gun got into the hands of criminals. Most often through legal sources (what a surprise). Well written, a real page turner! read it in a day.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is likely out of date. Yet, it is a good read because of the insights it brings into the still-raging debate about guns in America. Larson weaves together a number of different strands to provide a broader than usual understanding of the issues involved in the debate.

Larson is a captivating and thought provoking writer. While he has a point of view, Larson avoids sounding like a true believer on any side of the issue.
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I am a big Erik Larson fan and have been trying to get a copy of his first narrative non-fiction book for some time. There's a lot of meat here, but the story-telling is disjointed (it doesn't follow a narrative line as well as his other books) and it seemed like it could have been better edited ... several facts kept being repeated as if it was the first time he had mentioned them, yet it was not. The subject is a little dated now given everything that's happened in terms of lethal mass shootings and the continued inability of the gun-control lobby to impose any kind of reasonable limit on guns whose only purpose is to kill a lot of people very fast; but I don't blame the author for that.
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Format: Paperback
Having read his other book “Dead wake” I thought Erik Larson I was going to give the readers a good story of a school shooting. I was misled. This book is more on promoting better gun control than to telling a tragic story behind school bullying n fighting back.
In this respect I was disappointed. However Larson did an fair job detailing the Americans` love affair with guns n violence.
The book was perhaps outdated as it didnt refer to the columbine shooting n a host of others.
Larson speculated that with more victims Americans will learn to be realistic about controlling guns. Clearly he was wrong.
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This book is, as are all his books, classic Erik Larson. It is well written and was meticulously researched. The huge amount of information is presented in a way that is riveting. It is so well written that I found it difficult emotionally. One cannot read this book and be indifferent. It is for those with a strong character.
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