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Education of a Wandering Man Paperback – November 1, 1990


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Education of a Wandering Man + Smoke from This Altar + A Trail of Memories: The Quotations Of Louis L'Amour
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (November 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553286528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553286526
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Despite being disjointed, rambling, and repetitious, these unfinished memoirs by the noted Western author (who died last June) possess a raw enthusiasm for life and for books that is too rarely encountered today. For most of the book, L'Amour recounts scattered anecdotes of his knockabout years as a sailor, prize fighter, silver miner, and longshoreman who ranged from New Orleans to Singapore with a book in his hip pocket. The memoir portions are tall tales, well told, but the "education" portions are mere catalogs of books that will hardly interest even the most loyal fans. Still, L'Amour's sincere love of books and reading and his faith in humanity lend the book considerable charm.
- Michael Edmonds, State Historical Soc. of Wisconsin, Madison
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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More About the Author

"I think of myself in the oral tradition--as a troubadour, a village tale-teller, the man in the shadows of a campfire. That's the way I'd like to be remembered--as a storyteller. A good storyteller."

It is doubtful that any author could be as at home in the world re-created in his novels as Louis Dearborn L'Amour. Not only could he physically fill the boots of the rugged characters he wrote about, but he literally "walked the land my characters walk." His personal experiences as well as his lifelong devotion to historical research combined to give Mr. L'Amour the unique knowledge and understanding of people, events, and the challenge of the American frontier that became the hallmarks of his popularity.

Of French-Irish descent, Mr. L'Amour could trace his own in North America back to the early 1600s and follow their steady progression westward, "always on the frontier." As a boy growing up in Jamestown, North Dakota, he absorbed all he could about his family's frontier heritage, including the story of his great-grandfather who was scalped by Sioux warriors.

Spurred by an eager curiosity and desire to broaden his horizons, Mr. L'Amour left home at the age of fifteen and enjoyed a wide variety of jobs, including seaman, lumberjack, elephant handler, skinner of dead cattle, and miner, and was an officer in the transportation corps during World War II. During his "yondering" days he also circled the world on a freighter, sailed a dhow on the Red Sea, was shipwrecked in the West Indies and stranded in the Mojave Desert. He won fifty-one of fifty-nine fights as a professional boxer and worked as a journalist and lecturer. He was a voracious reader and collector of rare books. His personal library contained 17,000 volumes.

Mr. L'Amour "wanted to write almost from the time I could talk." After developing a widespread following for his many frontiers and adventure stories written for fiction magazines, Mr. L'Amour published his first full length novel, Hondo, in the United States in 1953. Every one of his more than 120 books is in print; there are more than 300 million copies of his books in print worldwide, making him one of the bestselling authors in modern literary history. His books have been translated into twenty languages, and more than forty-five of his novels and stories have been made into feature films and television movies.

The recipient of many great honor and awards, in 1983 Mr. L'Amour became the first novelist to ever to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress in honor of his life's work. In 1984 he was also awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Reagan.

Louis L'Amour died on June 10, 1988. His wife, Kathy, and their two children, Beau and Angelique, carry the L'Amour publishing tradition forward with new books written by the author during his lifetime to be published by Bantam.

Customer Reviews

My husband read all his books.
Nell E Collins
I highly recommend it to those who love Louis L'Amour and who love to read books.
Kansan Reader
You'll not find historical errors in his books!
Angela Reads

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was the book that L'Amour had on his desk in galleys when he died in 1988. I have used this book in my Freshman Composition classes for seven years. It is a marvellous book. I suspect that L'Amour did not really want to write it because he did not like to brag about himself. There is no bragging in the book, just the flat out reality that he was curious about the world and his curiosity could be fulfilled by reading. It is a great tribute to audodidacticism, a fancy word for the power of self teaching. I find the book inspiring and an important read for an adolescent, although I have had older students say that it made them readers. I am not much of a fan of L'Amour's westerns, but this book is one of my all-time favorites.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Marian Powell on June 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Education of a Wandering Man is the story of one man's love affair with life. It is also amazingly well-written and shows Louis L'Amour to have been a thoughtful, philosophical man as well as an adventurer. Ironically, I haven't read his novels. When I tried to after reading this book, I concluded that his autobiography is a far greater work than his novels. I suspect that's because his own life story is a far greater story than any fiction could possibly be, plus he focused mainly on the western. I really wished he had branched out into the historical novel. He started to with The Walking Drum but that was at the end of his life and he didn't have time to follow with more novels that would cover the history of the world. As the other reviews emphasize, he began his wanderings at the age of 15 and from then on educated himself by reading. As a special bonus, at the back of the book is a list of the books he read each year from 1930-1935. It shows how widely he cast his net. If ever you want to show a teenager why reading is important, give him this book with the reminder that Louis L'Amour was a bestselling author for most of his life.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S. G. Fortosis on December 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
You will have to forgive me for this review because I truly think L'Amour is a great writer. I've read and enjoyed many of his westerns and even his few ventures into other genres. I admire the fact that he learned from his travels and devoted a great many of his wandering days to reading. However, I can't tell you how disappointed I was in realizing that this is the closest I would come to reading L'Amour's autobiography. Over and over as I read, he mentioned some adventure in passing and I begged for more. But, instead, he would introduce me to some book he read at that time. Knowing of his books is great, but his wandering experiences surely contributed just as much, if not more, to his future bookwriting career. Yet he passed over them as if they barely occurred. What a loss! Perhaps he gave some reason for not writing a true autobiography. I don't know. All I know is that I completed the book with a respect for the man's love for reading but an empty sense of dissatisfaction for all that he left out.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ron Atkins on May 6, 2004
Format: School & Library Binding
Unfortunately, this is the closest L'Amour fans will come to a true autobiography of a great American and writer. L'Amour starts this book with a reference to his high school class graduating while he was on a steamer in Indonesia. Thus, L'Amour sets the stage for his lengthy discussion of becoming self-educated through books, and experience.
In this book, L'Amour presents lists of books he read during his wandering years in the 30s. I particularly enjoyed the part where he described the difference between a hobo and a bum. Accoring to L'Amour, hoboes were not freeloaders, they just used the rails to follow the crop picking from one part of the country to the next. A bum, on the other hand, has no intention of working, and looks for handouts. This distinction was an eye opener to me.
Also, his discussion of walking outof th eMojave desert hit close to home, as I was born and raised in the area he described. L'Amour was a great researcher, and wrote from both personal experience and knowledge. This is an enjoyable book and has even been included in numerous literature courses in various universities. Throughout the book, L'Amour emphasizes the value of education through experience and self-guided reading; however, he never degrades formal education as a route to discovery and self improvement.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
Reading "Education of a Wandering Man" made me realize how very little I know of the history of this planet. It caused me to see the world through different eyes. This gave me a whole different perspective on time and the transitory nature of nations and kingdoms. Every age comes and goes...all things are born, mature, and die out. L'Amour had a fluent visual way of passing this wisdom on to the reader. L'Amour demonstrated in his own life that anything is possible if one learns all that he/she can and dares to move ahead--to recognize opportunity and take advantage of it whenever and wherever it presents itself. We are only held back by by the limitations we place on ourselves. The theme of this and all of L'Amours works reveals the value of obtaining knowledge without bias, and the importance of personal integrity.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kansan Reader on January 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the type of book that you will either love or hate. I loved it because it provided insight into the mind of one of my favorite authors and I found that mind to be far more fascinating than I ever expected. I have read dozens of his westerns and have found them thoroughly entertaining, but have noticed that most of his protaganists are very similar in many ways. This fact, I discovered, is not due to a lack of imagination or an "in-a-rut" formulaic method of writing. On the contrary, it is because L'Amour wrote himself into his characters and attempted to impart those things which have interested him in his studies to the reader. He intuitively understood what readers would enjoy because before and above being a writer, he was a voracious reader. His love of and enthusiasm for books that he revealed in "Education of a Wandering Man" was contagious and exciting for me as a fellow reader.

As I mentioned, however, some people will invetiably not like this book if they expect it to be a coherent story, a "birth to death" autobiography, or a nail biter. It is closer to a annotated bibliography to his early life along with interesting anecdotes and philosophical musings.

When I finished the last page of the book, I felt quite sad as I did not want it to end. I highly recommend it to those who love Louis L'Amour and who love to read books. It will make you want to turn the TV and radio off and sit down with a good book. It will also serve as a very comprehensive "recommended reading" list for those trying to find that next great book.
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