Education of A Wandering Man

Education of A Wandering Man

Book - 1989
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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.
Publisher: New York : Bantam, 1989.
ISBN: 9780553057034
Characteristics: vii, 232 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.

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Jun 09, 2013

The long and winding road that a man took in educating himself. Along the way, he boxed, sailed, read, and wrote. His name was Louis L'Amour, and he wrote four of my top 10 favorite books, with this book amongst those that hold that distinction.

CAulds May 18, 2013

Education of a Wandering Man is auto-biographical, but not really an auto-biography. It's the story of how L'Amour educated himself, through books, and doesn't touch on many other aspects of his life. In Education, Louis does mention that he intends to follow that book with a full auto-biography. Unfortunately, he never got the chance. He died in 1988, the year before Education was published.

Due to family financial hardship, L'Amour dropped out of school when he was fifteen, which would've been about 1923, and spent the next eight years traveling around the American West working odd jobs on cattle ranches, farms, lumber mills, and even mines. To earn extra money L'Amour boxed in small prizefights around the country and earned a reputation as a formidable contender. Then, while in his twenties, L'Amour became a merchant marine and traveled the globe via steamship.

During all this time, L'Amour was reading books, books he found in mining camps, in the crew's quarters of sailing vessels, in public libraries, in the backpacks of other travelers. In Asia, he employed locals to do "sight-translations" for him, reading books in their original language, and translating them aloud on-the-fly; Louis invited others to attend these book readings and to discuss what they heard, or if they knew something first-hand about the topic, to share it.

As soon as he set foot in a new town, L'Amour would locate the local library. He'd spend entire days, until late at night, at the library. If libraries weren't around, he'd skip meals so he'd have enough money to order books from catalogs. He kept lists of those books he read, and those he hoped one day to be able to find, buy and read. He was also working on his craft as a budding writer, scribbling notes in cheap notepads that he kept with him all the time.

All of his experiences while traveling, all the books he read, and all the notes he wrote laid the groundwork for his later successful career. But even after L'Amour became a successful established writer, his pursuit of learning continued and rewarded him greatly. He is a perfect example of the self-taught man and lifelong learner. That's what he writes about in Education of a Wandering Man; not himself; but the lifestyle he chose, one he found very rewarding. It's an easy read, very enjoyable, but most of all, it's inspiring. It's available from your local library. Read it.


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Jun 09, 2013

In the meanwhile I had read a number of plays by Ibsen, Shaw, Molnar, and Robert E. Sherwood, as well as the novels The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, Penguin Island by Anatole France, The Red and the Black by Stendhal, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and a half-dozen books by Gustave Flaubert, including Madame Bovary. Slowly, I was learning what had been written and how writers approached their various subjects, while always I was trying to get my own work published, first with poetry, then with articles and stories. But they got nowhere at all.

There was a steady flow of rejection slips. Once in a while, a handwritten word, Sorry, appeared on the slip. I
was grateful for even that bit of attention.
-Chapter 14


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