Monday, October 1, 2012

Education of a Wandering Man - Louis L'Amour

This is a different kind of auto-biography.  L'Amour wrote a story of his life by describing the books he read.  He was a voracious reader who had a collection of over 1700 books in his private library.
He was born in North Dakota in 1908 and well-known as the author of over 100 "frontier stories"; fiction novels of life on the West frontier.  He read from the time he left home to work as a laborer, merchant seaman, mine assessor and other odd jobs, traveling the world and always seeking out books to learn more of the places he was in.  He engaged locals in conversation and listened to their tales that later enriched his stories.  There were some wonderful observations and a long list of books I'd never heard of.  His story is a testament to the value of reading widely for a lifetime.

"A great book begins with an idea; a great life with a determination."

He didn't attend college, and said "No matter how much I admire our schools, I know that no university exists that can provide an education; what a university can provide is an outline, to give the learner a direction and guidance.  The rest one has to do for oneself."

"We do not at present educate people to think but rather to have opinions, and that is something altogether different."

"Those who have never ventured away from the security of their cities...must understand that there is a half-world out there, a place that lies beyond the pale of the law."

"Politics is the art of making civilization work".

The author died in 1988 and this book was published posthumously with a complete list of the books he read in 1930 through 1935 and in 1937; over 780 books.  An indicator of what we could accomplish if we didn't watch television!  I gained a new respect for the author and hope to dip into some of the books he discussed as well as read a few of his own works.

Published: 1989  Read: September 2012  Genre: Auto-biography

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