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.
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