• Rich Flanders

''EDUCATION OF A WANDERING MAN''

What a fresh drink of water! I felt at times like we were having a conversation. Straight and true as a Comanche arrow, Louis L'Amour's memoir is a headlong dive into adventure, as thrilling as ''Hondo,'' or any of his novels. The book struck some deep chords in me, as I've just written a book of my own odyssey, in ways closely reminiscent of L'Amour's. As he spins out true tales of finding his way in the world as a merchant seaman in Asian seas, wielding a pickaxe in an Arizona mine, or picking up a dollar or two as a bare knuckle boxer in little towns across the West, it is his thirst for knowledge and love of books that predominates. I have never known or heard of anyone who has read more books, or who has a greater thirst for knowledge, and he complements each of his adventures with references to the classics, as well as lesser known histories and books of reference. From his voluminous reading, as much as from his harrowing adventures, L'Amour became an ''educated''man in the truest sense of the word, with not even a high school education. ''We are, finally, all wanderers in search of knowledge. Most of us hold the dream of becoming something better than we are, something larger, richer, in some way more important to the world and ourselves. Too often, the way taken is the wrong way, with too much emphasis on what we want to have, rather than what we wish to become.'' I love this book. It already feels like an old friend, a companion of the heart, and just as rare.

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