4 out of 4 stars
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The Thundering Herd is a life story of John E. Peltier that starts from a rice farm and cattle ranch and ends up as a successful family construction business. The author gives an explicit account of how his family history shaped from the 17th century to date. The Peltier’s side (paternal) had its origin from France, while the Keillor’s side (maternal) had the Scottish Roots. Most of the family history, he narrated, was about the maternal side.
John was the fifth of the eleven children in the “Thundering herd”, the name given by her mother. Their life on the farm was full of a thrill. He shared some of the interesting memories of his parents’ first meeting and their little house that packed up eleven children. He also told about their tough routine of working on the farm, and about the eating pattern that his family used to follow.
In the ‘50s, life on the rice farm, located in Danbury, was not an easy option for his family. Harsh weather, financial constraints, and work overloads were their constant companions. However, his family was contented and happy with what they had. The author also shared the memories of his service in the Vietnam War as a Medical Corpsman from 1967 to 1969. The story alternated between farm life and his military experience. He made his construction company named Peltier Brothers Construction” and added several family members in his growing business.
The biography was all out fascinating for me. The author’s narrative was conversational and funny in some places. He gave very in-depth details of his life at the farm and in the medical battalion. This book is a nice piece to read; especially, if you have an agrarian background as most of the details revolve around the cattle ranch and procuring and cultivating agricultural lands. Moreover, the photos of the author’s family have been perfectly embodied and made the book even more compelling.
Some of the details were exhausting; however, the alternating narrative didn’t let me get bored out of it. I feel the story of his life is like a movie as you can’t imagine in the start that a farm boy with an uncertain future will turn into a successful business owner. In a line, “unity is strength” is the core theme of his life. The other part of his personality caters to his connection to God, specifically, during the Vietnam War when he saw the death dancing around him.
As for the downsides of the book, I have almost no complaint. Only at some places, chiefly at the start, there were excessive back history details but they were properly incorporated in the book.
If you love biographies, it would be a treat for you. On the editing side, I would say the book is professionally edited as I noticed only a few minor typos. There was no profanity or sensitive content. I wholeheartedly rate this book 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it to the fans of memoir.
The Thundering Herd
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