I just finished reading this memoir of the prolific Western writer a few days ago, and yesterday I went back through and wrote down several of the passages that impressed me in this eminently quotable book. I would have been unlikely to pick up L’Amour’s memoir on my own; I’m not really a fan of westerns. So I’m really happy that I took Madame Mental Multivitamin’s advice to read it (she gives good book advice), and I’m envious of whoever it was that snagged a copy at a book sale recently. Wanna sell?
I’ve about decided that quotations from L’Amour’s memoir about his unconventional education will form the subject of several posts on Semicolon for the next week or so. There’s that much good stuff in there. I’ve heard of Louis L’Amour, of course, but I’ve never read any of his 80+ novels, mostly westerns, nor have I read any of his short stories that I can remember. Education of a Wandering Man tells the stories of L’Amour’s life from the time he left high school in tenth grade in order to go to work (The Great Depression), through his travels throughout the US and around the world, until he settled down to become an book-reading armchair adventurer, which he notes is much more comfortable than actually traveling. “I believe adventure is nothing but a romantic name for trouble, says Mr. L’Amour. I am somewhat comforted by this perspective on my sedentary life.
The book wanders back and forth from one place to the next, from one time to the next. The plan is clearly chronological, but the author doesn’t restrict himself to a strictly chronological account of the stories of his life. The quotations I copied into my notebook are mostly didactic, philosophical observations, delightful nuggets of wisdom. However, Louis L’Amour calls himself a storyteller, and the bulk of this memoir is made up of stories, the stories that L’Amour lived and the stories he collected. For those, you’ll need to read the book.
I’ll be sharing some of the philosophical nuggets with you for the rest of the week. L’Amour was an auto-didact and a homeschooler and an unschooler before any of those terms were popular. He has an exciting outlook on life in general and on education, specifically. I think we’re going to enjoy exploring the education of this wandering man together.