About the Author


Philip Reid Hirsh III

Philip Reid Hirsh III has been a public school teacher, lead educator, rural schools specialist, for more than twenty-five years. He has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in secondary education from the West Virginia University. After retiring from public education, Philip returned to WVU to teach writing and educational psychology in the Benedum Teacher Education Program while completing a doctorate in curriculum theory. He is a lifelong competitive marksman, gun collector, and hunter who uses his background in storytelling and social research to explore gun culture. He has two sons, Forrest, twenty-three, and Hunter, nineteen. He resides in Morgantown, West Virginia with Anne, his wife of twenty-six years in a row and Zazoo, their Springer spaniel.

Philip’s father is also a writer. Philip Hirsh Jr. published When Evil Isn’t Enough in 2002. This is a novel about the Mob, police corruption and a rather unique hit man. His second book, Voices From the Hollow (2005) is a book of true, historical stories that are largely set in the same place as The Guns We Left Behind. His latest work of short stories is entitled The Lost Tarpon (2012).




If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!