My Literary Hero  

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A while back, I mentioned that I would sooner or later put a post about my all time favorite author, and literary hero. Well I think that this is as good a time as any to offer up a little info on Louis Dearborn L'Amour.

Louis L'Amour, in case you didn't know was a western writer. Actually I take that back, he was a western man that wrote. This guy was the real McCoy. He lived the life of adventure. He was a cattle skinner, a hay baler, a professional boxer, and a merchant marine. He was also a guard at an old mine. He had a number of jobs in his youth. He was bored with school and left at the ripe ol' age of 15.

All of these jobs served him well as he learned a great deal about the life of the men from the old west. He received first hand knowledge of many of the great gunfighters and various characters associated with America's early western era.

If you follow his writing, you will know that his most involved series involved the Sackett family. The Sacketts were a rather large family strung throughout the hills of Tennessee and parts beyond. Their story was told from it's Welsh beginnings and brought forward all the way into the late 1800's. This was a family that stuck together no matter what. They had only to call for help and sooner or later another Sackett would be nearby to lend a hand.

My early teen years were spent living in the old west through Louis L'Amour. I got the opportunity to be on cattle drives, and to be a town Marshall. I was hunting gold through New Mexico and fighting loggers in a frontier town. All of this was compliments of Mr. L'Amour. While he was criticized often for his writing style, you need only read one of his books to understand that he was a storyteller. Plain and simple this man had a gift. He could put you in the middle of his story and there you stayed till he was good and ready to let you out.

Not to jump off the subject too much, but that is what attracted me to Tina at The Clean White Page. She has that same rare ability to put you into her story until she is ready to release you from her grasp. There is a lot of Louis L'Amour sneaking out of Tina. She just doesn't write westerns...YET!!

Louis L'Amour won a ton of awards for his genius. He won the Congressional Gold Medal, The Medal of Freedom, and he was also presented with an honorary PhD from Jamestown College in North Dakota.

Sadly he lost his battle with lung cancer in 1988. It's sort of weird how people can remember where they were when Elvis Presley died (for those of you alive when he was). Well I can remember vividly being in my living room, and in fact reading a L'Amour book, when the news mentioned the death of the most prolific western author of all times. That alone should speak volumes to this man. He surpassed even the likes of Zane Grey. Little side note for you... He was also responsible for 4 Hopalong Cassidy books. He denied it till the day he died, but after his death his son admitted to the fact that Hoppy did indeed get written (in part) by L'Amour.

So while I could never do the man justice by describing the little bit I managed here, I will leave you with this. If you haven't ever read Louis L'Amour give it a try. If you aren't a western fan, try one of his detective stories. Or maybe you could try some of his poetry. Yeah that's right this guy did it all. Including 2 works of non-fiction. If you really want to get a sense of the man then read his biography "Education of a Wandering Man". It's a truly unique look into the life of an incredibly gifted, creative storyteller.

This entry was posted at Friday, March 05, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

13 comments

Brilliant writer! I am a fan. And I remember where I was when Elvis died and Louis...I call them both by their first names because we were friends...or in my mind we were...LOL.

You have good taste in reading. Tina is one of my favorites as well.

March 5, 2010 at 11:18 PM

Great post. My dad before he passed was on a mission to read every Louis L'Amour book. Your post brought back great memories of my dad. Thank you. =)

March 6, 2010 at 12:33 AM

I haven't read him, but since I love to read, and am always looking for new material, on your recommendation I will look him up and give him a try!

March 6, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Momma Fargo...You are so right he is truly brilliant.. (I remember where I was when elvis died too..lol)

Jerry...Your dad had a worthy goal in mind when he chose to read all of L'Amour's books. I have read everything of his so far with the exception of his poetry collection..

Joe...If you are a big fan of the written word and have never read his stuff I would suggest The Comstock Lode...It's a mid-size book. The good thing about it is that his characters in that book are not recurring so you won't miss out on anything else if you choose not to keep reading his stuff...(but you will get hooked i'm thinking).

March 6, 2010 at 1:15 PM

I never really got into western style literature.... I wouldn't mind giving it a try.... I'm going to the library today, is there a Louis L'Amour book you recommend I start with?

March 6, 2010 at 1:33 PM

AS...If you aren't into western style writing there are a few other choices from him. The Haunted Mesa has a western flavor, but not set in the old west...If you like short stories of a detective sort, then The Hills of Homicide would be a great place. If you just want to try a western one more time to see if you might like it, then I suggest The Daybreakers...In my opinion they are all great!

March 6, 2010 at 1:36 PM

I haven't read ANY of his books yet! Can you believe this? I see a trip to the library in my near future...You really did want me to read his stories and learn more about this versatile man who seems to be incredibly talented!

Again, what would this world be without BOOKS?!?!?!?

March 6, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Bendigo,

Being an Englishman whose only knowledge of Western (wild) culture is what I've gleaned from John Wayne and, latterly the Deadwood series, I've never heard of Mr L'Amour. That said I'm a complete book-hound and am always on the lookout for something new (or old). Thanks for the tip and I'll let you know if/when I get around to him. By the way, I get what you mean about Tina's writing; that's why I started following her.

Greta stuff, keep it coming.

Regards

TGG

March 7, 2010 at 5:39 AM

Screw that. You are my literary hero. Y'hear? :)

March 8, 2010 at 6:25 AM

Sarah...I promise you that if you read a couple of his books, you will see, smell and taste the world he is painting...You're gonna wish you read him sooner.

TGG...Just so you know he has some books set back in England, back during the migration to the New World...Interesting take on some of it...L'Amour was really good at mixing actual history with his story.

Ian...Lol... I could write 100 years and not touch this guy.. Thanks for the compliment though :)

March 8, 2010 at 8:47 AM

Wonderful Bendigo!

I was never interested but because of your lovely post (very well written by the way), I now am. I am going to give Louie a try.

Thank you!

March 8, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Although his work was not my taste I recognize his brilliant writing style and attention to detail. My father adores his work... Great post Bendigo!

March 8, 2010 at 3:10 PM

I've read several of his books and loved them. He is a brilliant western writer, the best I know of.

March 11, 2010 at 7:52 PM

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