These stories begin with brief family histories that bring the Peltier and the Scottish Keillor families together. John was the fifth of the twelve children that Wilburn and Barbara Peltier raised on the flat salt grass prairie of Southeast Texas after they married. The life they created for their family on their rice farm and cattle ranch provided fertile ground for the life experiences that are shared in these settings. At the age of nineteen, naïve and fresh from the farm, John was drafted into the U.S. Army. After surviving boot camp and medical corpsman training, he found himself in Vietnam. John used his time in the military and its experiences as the backdrop to describe life growing up. Writing this book intensified the realization of the valuable life lessons that his family and the farm and ranch taught him. After mustering out of the Army in January of 1969, he settled back into civilian life and finished his education. Disaster struck in 1969 when his father suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of 54, leaving five of his siblings still at home and all without a father. He discovered the two earthy loves of his live - his wife Janie and the vocation of construction - at the same time and place. As a result, Janie and John have a beautiful family and he birthed Peltier Brothers Construction, a company which has provided a great livelihood not only for him and four of his brothers, but for nephews down into the next generation. Both Janie and the company also taught him lessons he never expected to learn. Those stories, plus an incident with the fangs of a deadly rattlesnake and a light essay on grass and water, are included in this book.
|Publisher:||Outskirts Press, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.78(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Once I began reading John E. Peltier's memoir "The Thundering Herd: Farm Life in the 1950's & 1960's" it became one of those books you couldn't put down until fully read. Some of this book (with a large number of photos) is about the Texas Peltier family & their geneology which began in France; also the author's life in & around the small Texas town of Danbury and then his very interesting experiences as an Army medic in Vietnam. Yet it was Mr. Peltier's chapter on a famous Texas 1961 super storm that really made an impression with this reader. That super storm so named Hurricane Carla with its warm gulf waters that made a record surge inland that was totally unexpected by many storm experts of that day. The Peltier family of 14 lived on their farm & ranch near Danbury's Austin Bayou which would become a tributary pushing hurricane-driven waters inland & with a surge that almost caused a tragedy of Texas proportions. For the life of me, the author's descriptive writing skills had me right there with his whole family as they hurriedly left their farm house that was quickly filling with water causing them to seek safety inside their barn which would become the last refuge for this Texas-sized family. The team work of the Peltier family inside the barn as they feverishly pitched in helping one another in a time for family survival coupled with their Christian faith was quite an inspiration. I had chills reading the Hurricane Carla chapter as the author created a picture that had me all but experiencing a surreal feeling of gulf salt water rising in my own very reading room. Easily a 5 star rating for Mr. Peltier's memoirs. I highly recommend Texans and non-Texans alike putting this slice of Americana and Texana on your next book to read list TexasRangerJim
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (2/17) “The Thundering Herd” is an awe-inspiring memoir looking through the eyes of John E. Peltier growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. Peltier, the fifth of twelve children, grew up in an era where family values, hard work, dedication to God were the norm. Peltier provides background information on his family history with humorous and often sad stories of life as it was then. Not many readers today can say they experienced life trying to raise a family on rice fields or cattle. Each family member had a job to do, and it was done without question. Often, times were hard with little or no money coming in, so the family packed up and moved to better conditions. Education was very important to this family, and regardless of how many miles away it was, you walked to get to school. The only time they were absent was during harvest time. 1967 brought a huge change to America and John knew he had to make some serious decisions that would impact his life. Rather than wait for the draft to get him, he enlisted. Far from his home, and what he knows, John describes his time in the military with heartbreak, honor, and dedication. Even though he never was away from home before his service, John took it in stride, remembering what he was taught growing up. In a formidable way, he describes his experiences with death, drugs, and dangerous conditions. If you have ever experienced the military, you will appreciate his humor. Peltier’s writing is very vivid and clear, readers will find themselves right in the middle of each escapade with him. Throughout the book, he provides pictures of his life and military career, which puts names and faces together. “The Thundering Herd” by John E. Peltier is a warm, loving tribute to his family and the life lessons learned along the way. “Sometimes,” he says, “You don’t appreciate what you learned till later in life.” Readers will enjoy the family antics, humor, and love. It is well written, emotional, and very inspiring. John and his family currently run Peltier Brothers Construction, where they still value family.
The Thundering Herd is a fascinating, timeless, true story of pioneering spirt and spiritual triumph. Tracking the Peltier family from original roots to their current Patriarch captures a vivid portrayal of Americana, Texana and what it means to be a self- sufficient individual, part of a larger family and ultimately a caring Christian, grateful to God for what experience has revealed. Originally from France and Scotland, the family forbearers spent time in the Midwest, Utah and finally the Texas Gulf Coast. We learn the remote self-sufficiency required to homestead a plot of land in Utah – land that is still held by the family today. Instead of the common routine of today -Mom playing with cards or Legos with her small children during the day, while dad is off at work, the matriarch of the family back then took aim at the coyote from the kitchen window, wagering with the kiddos if she could hit mark which she did. The reward, in addition to the adulation of the family, was a nice pelt able to be worn with nice fashion. Migrating to Texas, cattle and rice farming formed the background of experiences for John Peltier that so many can relate to growing up in the latter half of the twentieth century. Replete with wonderful stories of high school love interests, pranks and typical hard knock learning experiences, it’s hard not to be entertained and empathetic with each family member described as well as their friends. Leaving the Gulf Coast of Texas to be a Corpsman in Vietnam would open a much wider world to John Peltier. Carefully describing family background for John Peltier is certainly a goal achieved to memorialize wonderful history for the family. Additionally however John achieves a larger and equally productive accomplishment as he interweaves his Vietnam experiences into the narrative. From meeting men who hailed from places far distant from the farms of Texas during basic training, to the human tragedy and coping with life…and death experienced in Vietnam, John takes his reader on a spiritual journey as well. The events he encountered in Vietnam, invariably like so many who participated in that conflict, made John reflect on similar experiences he had back home. In this way John brings the reader to see the awesome conclusions that John is able to arrive at in his reflections on life, its meaning, and God’s purpose for individuals. Such craziness that was Vietnam with drugs, death, hard-won victories, overwhelming firepower and might, and destitute native conditions coupled with John’s unique role in a Medic corp. produced a vivid reflection for John that was entirely spiritual: In a wonderful way he describes the gratitude due to One who is truly a merciful God that poured out pain and suffering on his own Son, to pay a debt on behalf of others, that they otherwise would be unable to bear. Bill Cathriner