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Education of a Wandering Man (original 1989; edition 1990)

by Louis L'Amour

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5262419,198 (4.16)44
Member:msf59
Title:Education of a Wandering Man
Authors:Louis L'Amour
Info:Bantam (1990), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:memoir

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Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L'Amour (1989)

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Never stop learning. And real education is often not found in a classroom. This is the story of man that sold over a million books he wrote. And no college degree. He traveled the world and had great adventures. He reminds me of the uncles in the movie "Second Hand lions" only his stories are true. And this is his stories in his own words. ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
Spotty. Enjoyed the places he wrote about his developing love for books and how they became his best friends on his lifelong travels. Learned that there is actually a significant difference between a hobo and a tramp. Who knew?

The places where he editorialized about various subjects took much away from the reading experience. ( )
  PRusso | Feb 21, 2015 |
Several years ago I helped a dear old friend (he died a day after his 102nd birthday in 2009) edit his memoirs. He was not new to writing. In his younger years he had produced an interesting series of essays about his love for the farm he had purchased and the horses he rode called River Hill Soliloquy. It was published by the University of Illinois Press. After his death I had it reissued as an ebook. The book had a local following. The book I helped to edit years later called Montana Montage was a collection of stories from his very early days as a trail hand in Montana. It had considerable historical interest.

The last item that we worked on, however, Diary of a Journeyman, despite my best efforts became a litany, a virtual list, of the many friends he had had during his years as the editorial director for a large printing and publishing firm in Mt. Morris, Illinois that produced fraternal organization magazines. He was afraid of leaving anyone out regardless of their importance. Clarence, like L'Amour was self-educated and never had much formal education. He went on to become a wealthy benefactor of the local community college and its library of which I was the director. I helped him self-publish Diary of a Journeyman and Montana Montage, but by that time, he had outlived most of the people in Diary so the very limited initial market had dwindled even more.

So it is with L'Amour's book. Far from the action-packed westerns that built a large following (I'm but a lukewarm fan as I find much of his writing pedestrian), this book borders on being merely a catalog of the books he has read over the years with assorted comments. The writing, in its short cadences with abrupt transitions reminded me so much of Clarence's final product it was eerie, the only difference being that the subjects were books rather than persons. It's very superficial and of only limited interest. I fear I must admit to skimming it quite quickly.

That Daniel J. Boostin, one of my favorite cultural historians -- his trilogy The Americans, which I read in the late seventies, is enthralling history and brilliantly written -- speaks more to his friendship with L'Amour than the book's content. ( )
  ecw0647 | Feb 16, 2015 |
I've only read a few books by Louis L'Amour, but Education of a Wandering Man is amazing. You do not have to he a fan of L'Amour to enjoy and benefit from this book. He was a very interesting and truely self-made and self-educated man. For me, a very inspirational book. ( )
  MathMaverick | Dec 20, 2014 |
I got this for free out of a wheelbarrow of books a neighbor put out, so technically I didn't break my (loosely) self-imposed ban on buying more books before I reduced my TBR pile.

L'Amour says this isn't really an autobiography, but is supposed to focus on how he educated himself. He wanders enough to make it a pretty good, if incomplete autobiography. The byways are often more interesting than the main story. His education was mostly from reading, wandering, & talking to people, but he places an emphasis on the first. I'd love to see a list of all the books he mentions, but a Google search didn't bring up such a thing. There is one in the back of the book.

While most of his books were pretty simple, he went to some pains to be historically accurate in some ways, although he certainly bent the rules a lot with all the gun fights & show downs. Still, they're fun books & there are some that are fairly profound. Two that come to mind are [b:Bendigo Shafter: A Novel|123403|Bendigo Shafter A Novel|Louis L'Amour|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1333578725s/123403.jpg|2212159] & [b:The Lonesome Gods|1123549|The Lonesome Gods|Louis L'Amour|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1333578727s/1123549.jpg|2486214], favorites of mine. Both these protagonists grow up learning much the way L'Amour did & he uses phrases in those novels often in this book.

I didn't enjoy the last 1/3 - 1/4 as much as the first. He repeated himself & lectured more. I didn't care for that tone, but still found interesting facts. Too many of the books are just mentioned by title at times. It would have been nice to know a bit more about them. I have read or attempted to read some that he mentioned. His ability to read dry, complex texts obviously exceeds my own.

The Wikipedia article on him
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_L'Amour
is technically accurate, but lends a different slant than what I'm getting from this book. It says, "...eight years, they skinned cattle..." making it sound like Louis was with all or part of his family. According to him, he wasn't. He left home at 15 & did come back to help his parents move from OR to OK, but was otherwise out on his own. Apparently he grew big early & easily passed for several years older than he was.

An interesting tidbit from the move with his parents. They stopped at a ranch where Louis had worked to spend the night & he mentioned something about Butch Cassidy. The ranch owner replied that Butch had dropped by a couple of days ago to swap a couple of tires for a saddle. L'Amour explains that while the world thought that Cassidy had died down in Bolivia, many folks in WY, CO, & UT knew better & that. Except for the Pinkertons, everyone liked him since his holdups never killed anyone. (I'll take that with a large grain of salt.) I read the bit through several times, but could never decide if either L'Amour or the rancher were joking or serious. There is very little evidence either way for the life or death of Cassidy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butch_cassidy#Claims_of_post-1908_survival
I've read both theories in other books, too.

On the way home I was listening to the second section of [b:Fahrenheit 451|4381|Fahrenheit 451|Ray Bradbury|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1298412440s/4381.jpg|1272463] by [a:Ray Bradbury|1630|Ray Bradbury|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1190744775p2/1630.jpg]. A character says that one of the best things about books is that you can shut them when you need to think, unlike the TV & advertising of the book's world. I got home & read some of this book. The epigraph to one of the chapters I read was "A book is a friend that will do what no friend does - be silent when we wish to think." - Will Durant, the author of Story of Civilization
Kind of neat getting the same sentiment from two such different sources within an hour of each other.

I'd love to give this 5 stars, but it was a bit too uneven for that. It was a good book & I'm glad I read it. I'm fairly sure I'm not going to keep it, though. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louis L'Amourprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boorstin, DanielIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boorstin, Daniel J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
L'amour, Louis; Introduction by Boorstin, Daniel J.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
L'amour, Louis; Introduction by Boorstin, Daniel J.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Photographs, Some Black & WhiteIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Alberto and Gioia Vitale
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It was May 14. In a few days my class back in Jamestown, North Dakota would be graduating from high school, and I was in Singapore.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553286528, Paperback)

From his decision to leave school at fifteen to roam the world, to his recollections of life as a hobo on the Southern Pacific Railroad, as a cattle skinner in Texas, as a merchant seaman in Singapore and the West Indies, and as an itinerant bare-knuckled prizefighter across small-town America, here is Louis L'Amour's memoir of his lifelong love affair with learning--from books, from yondering, and from some remarkable men and women--that shaped him as a storyteller and as a man. Like classic L'Amour fiction, Education of a Wandering Man mixes authentic frontier drama--such as the author's desperate efforts to survive a sudden two-day trek across the blazing Mojave desert--with true-life characters like Shanghai waterfront toughs, desert prospectors, and cowboys whom Louis L'Amour met while traveling the globe. At last, in his own words, this is a story of a one-of-a-kind life lived to the fullest . . . a life that inspired the books that will forever enable us to relive our glorious frontier heritage.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:33 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

From his decision to leave school at fifteen to roam the world, to his recollections of life as a hobo on the Southern Pacific Railroad, as a cattle skinner in Texas, as a merchant seaman in Singapore and the West Indies, and as an itinerant bare-knuckled prizefighter across small-town America, here is Louis L'Amour's memoir of his lifelong love affair with learning--from books, from yondering, and from some remarkable men and women--that shaped him as a storyteller and as a man. Like classic L'Amour fiction, Education of a Wandering Man mixes authentic frontier drama--such as the author's desperate efforts to survive a sudden two-day trek across the blazing Mojave desert--with true-life characters like Shanghai waterfront toughs, desert prospectors, and cowboys whom Louis L'Amour met while traveling the globe. At last, in his own words, this is a story of a one-… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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