Shortly before his death in June 1988, Louis L’Amour completed writing his most unique adventure story: a personal reflection on his lifelong love affair with learning. Now Bantam Books proudly presents this special Centennial Edition of Education of a Wandering Man, in which L’Amour vividly recalls many of the books he read, the places he visited, and the people he met that catalyzed his evolution as a writer.
In this, his most personal book ever, L’Amour writes of growing up in Jamestown, North Dakota, of the parents who instilled in him a love of the printed and spoken word, and of his decision to leave school at fifteen to make the world his classroom. While his contemporaries attended high school, L’Amour skinned cattle in Texas, worked as a circus roustabout and a mine caretaker, won small-town prizefighting exhibitions, hoboed across Texas on the Southern Pacific, and shipped out to the West Indies, England, and Singapore as a merchant seaman. Wherever he wandered, his pockets were always bulging with books.
Like the beloved Louis L’Amour novels and short stories that preceded it, Education of a Wandering Man has its share of frontier drama—such as the author’s desperate two-day trek across the blazing Mojave Desert—and robust characters, ranging from Shanghai waterfront toughs to itinerant desert prospectors. All this ultimately informed and inspired the books that have made L’Amour one of the most widely read authors of our time.
Ever both teacher and storyteller, Louis L’Amour makes his education our education, in a book filled with glorious asides on everything from hobo culture to the fate of Butch Cassidy.
Here is a testament—part memoir, part reflection—in which the author bequeaths to us a most wonderful legacy of the “education of a wandering man”: a life lived to the fullest through the never-ending quest for knowledge.
This is for the most fervent L'Amour fans only, those who consider it of moment, for example, to peruse his extensive reading lists for 1930, '31, '32, '33, '34, '35, '37 (the '36 list was lost). So banal is this memoir that one wonders if the late author regarded it as complete, or as the first draft it reads like. Ignoring chronology, L'Amour flits across his '30s' experiences in the western U.S. and Far East as seaman, ranch hand, mine guard, hobo. Interspersed are discourses on boxing, Buddhism, whatever comes to mind, on books he read by the likes of Shakespeare, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Nietzsche, plus pedestrian social observations and homilies. We learn that he was born (when?) in North Dakota, one of five children of a veterinarian father; that, quitting school at age 15, he wandered for a spell; that his wife's name is Kathy and that he had children (how many?). Author of more bestsellers than can be tracked, accounted to be a superb story-teller, L'Amour is surprisingly superficial in his own yarn. Photos. (Nov.)