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.