One bitter cold morning a sixteen year old boy named Nicholas Elliot walked into his Virginia high school with a Cobray M-11/9 - touted by its manufacturer as "the gun that made the eighties roar" - stuffed in his backpack. By mid-morning he had killed one teacher and severely wounded another. Only sheer luck kept his rampage from becoming one of the worst in America's long and bloody infatuation with guns. By tracing the history of the Cobray from its design and manufacture to the final, illegal transaction that placed it in Elliot's hands, "Lethal Passage" provides a stunning expose that will completely reframe the debate surrounding America's gun crisis.
Erik Larson writes for the front page of the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Baltimore, MD.