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Education of a Wandering Man

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,961 Ratings  ·  252 Reviews
From his decision to leave school at fifteen to roam the world, to his recollections of life as a hobo on the Southern Pacific Railroad, as a cattle skinner in Texas, as a merchant seaman in Singapore and the West Indies, and as an itinerant bare-knuckled prizefighter across small-town America, here is Louis L'Amour's memoir of his lifelong love affair with learning--from ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 1st 1990 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1989)
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Books about Books
209th out of 782 books — 1,254 voters
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Excellent Books for Teenaged Autodidacts
5th out of 80 books — 11 voters

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Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this for free out of a wheelbarrow of books a neighbor put out, so technically I didn't break my (loosely) self-imposed ban on buying more books before I reduced my TBR pile.

L'Amour says this isn't really an autobiography, but is supposed to focus on how he educated himself. He wanders enough to make it a pretty good, if incomplete autobiography. The byways are often more interesting than the main story. His education was mostly from reading, wandering, & talking to people, but he pla
Jan 25, 2009 Roslyn rated it really liked it
I am fascinated with how much this man read! And all the while he was making a living doing hard manual labor, traveling, writing - he inspires me to try to fit in more reading time! He must have taken advantage of EVERY spare minute.

I love his wry humor and accurate descriptions of human nature.
Feb 14, 2008 Melinda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: educators and everyone else
I looked at the number of books and also at what books they were; I had no idea he read so many "classics"--many of them are in the Great Books set or are recognized now as great literature. I have read hundreds of books, but I don't think I've read anywhere near as many "highbrow" books. I need to do the work, tackle the harder and lesser known stuff.

I'm inclined to use this as an argument against the mindset that 'everyone needs a college degree'. I recognize that now it's many many years late
Feb 16, 2015 Eric_W rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography-memoir
Several years ago I helped a dear old friend (he died a day after his 102nd birthday in 2009) edit his memoirs. He was not new to writing. In his younger years he had produced an interesting series of essays about his love for the farm he had purchased and the horses he rode called River Hill Soliloquy: The Story Of An Illinois Farm. It was published by the University of Illinois Press. After his death I had it reissued as an ebook. The book had a local following. The book I helped to edit years ...more
Oct 04, 2015 K. rated it it was amazing
I loved reading about this man. He was so much more than just a western writer. He had one of the largest private libraries in the country in his time. But he was a very modest man and in his library his outward set of bookshelves moved to reveal an internal aet. He didn't want to intimidate anyone. Also, I remember reading that some young person told him they wished they could skip their education and live a life like he did. He told them that would be really stupid. He said instead they would ...more
Oct 02, 2014 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No choicer gift can any man give to another than his spirit’s intimate converse with itself. Schleiermacher

I would bet that Louis L’Amour would not be in the list of the first forty authors you might guess used a Schleiermacher quote as an epigraph for a chapter deep in his education autobiography. And it wasn’t a quote he grabbed from A Speaker’s Treasury of Quotes and Anecdotes, either. L’Amour read it, among thousands of other works ranging from Homer to Aeschylus to Gogol to Marcian of Hera
Rex Fuller
Mar 26, 2014 Rex Fuller rated it it was amazing
This is astonishing. Yes, Louis L’Amour was a western writer. Here we learn he was that in the same sense that Eisenhower was a soldier.
L'Amour tells of his incredibly broad life experience beginning as a veterinarian’s son in the then still extant West in Jamestown, North Dakota. He soon discovered schooling was interfering with his education – because it insisted he read things he already had. So he left, quite deliberately, to get that education by direct experience and reading. He worked as
Aug 15, 2015 James rated it really liked it
This is a memoir of a lifelong love affair with learning and books. Self-taught both through experience and by reading, Louis L'amour fills his account of his life with both action and reflection. The result was a story of a unique journey that I found uplifting. His list of books rivals any "great books" list that I have ever seen and suggests his signature western novels have an unexpected literary foundation. His story of a life of travel and self-education is as interesting as any but it is ...more
Celeste Batchelor
Feb 21, 2015 Celeste Batchelor rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed large portions of this book. L'Amoir only includes a short book list at the end. All the other books he mentions throughout the book. I wish he had just made a huge master list and put it in the back of the book to make referencing easier on the reader. Not that I plan to follow his list myself, but just as a neat look at what he studied over his lifetime. I wish I could look at his personal library. His history knowledge is quite extensive! I will probably never read quite ...more
May 15, 2012 Trace rated it really liked it
I'll be the first to admit that it is a very limited audience that would adore this book as much as I did. I truly felt like I had met a kindred spirit - I would have loved to meet Mr. L'Amour and discussed books - which was his ultimate passion. I wrote down several pages of quotes from his thoughts on books.

This book was essentially a list of books that he'd read along with fragmented thoughts on how they impacted him and things he'd learned from them. He also told the story about how he obta
Jan 06, 2009 Lori rated it it was amazing
I have never read another Louis L'Amour book in my life, but after reading a brief review of this book, I picked it up at my local library. It has been one of those books that, almost 20 years after reading, I look upon as having been very influential in shaping my perspective of a specific people and time. He describes his life during the depression era as a "hobo" and is very careful to differentiate the hobos of the time from what we would consider "bums". This is the story of his traveling t ...more
Dec 06, 2014 Naum rated it really liked it
Finally, I discovered someone that puts my reading list to shame. I have never read a novel of L'Amour (though I may have seen a movie based on one of books), but this was a fascinating dive into a autobiographical journey through the prism of the books that were ingested by L'Amour. From the early days of his time as a wayward laborer, aspiring prize fighter, and sometimes hobo. To the age his post-novel-career-success. Discovered lots of items to add to the "to read" pile.
Oct 01, 2007 Kira rated it did not like it
No. I think there is a whole generation that loves his writing and I'm sure they have good reason, but his autobiography was just odd. It started out sounding like he was bragging about how many books he's read, and then it just dragged on. It seemed like everything was an excuse for him not receiving a formal education, and that his experiences were just as good. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.
It's sad that he didn't mention anything about his children or his wife, who I'm sure were very impor
This is a really good book. If you have never read any of Mr. L'Amour's books before, I would like to recommend this one as a start. It is partly a memoir, as it tells something of where he came from. But it also gives a glimpse of how his mind worked and how he handled his writing and researching. He was an interesting man and I wish I could have met him.

COYER: Read a book with a man on the cover (and no other people). (1 point)
Book-Tube-a-Thon Challenge #7: Read seven books in total. (my chall
EDUCATION OF A WANDERING MAN is a pastiche of thoughtful musings on history and literature, with a healthy dose of autobiography thrown into the mix. Apparently, L'Amour died before putting the final touches on it (the book was published posthumously), and the end result feels disorganized and meandering. Not bad, just unpolished.
I haven't read Louis L'Amour since I was a teen, and I had forgotten what a quality writer he really was. Sure, his stories were formulaic, but the man carried with him
Angie Libert
Aug 13, 2012 Angie Libert rated it really liked it
I am not much of a fan of L'Amour's westerns but I think after reading this book and really getting to know him, I will appreciate his works more. I appreciate that he saw the value in capturing the American frontier stories. He has deeply blessed the American culture. I also admire his library with over 17,000 books and two layers of 16 foot tall bookshelves. Oh, how dreamy! He inspires me to read more. :)
Jul 23, 2014 Micahb rated it liked it
This was a very strange read. I probably should have looked into some of the background of this book before starting it. This is, in a sense, an autobiographical account of certain elements of Mr. L'Amour's reading and some of his experiences that contributed to his education. As he states early in the book, he left formal schooling at 15 for two reasons - economic necessity, and it interfered with his education. The remainder of the book seems to start to tell some of his more defining moments, ...more
Melissa Martin
Jun 07, 2014 Melissa Martin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I have never read one of his books in my life. I might have to read some now. A friend recommended this as I love memoirs! I was not expecting to love this book so much.
I have to say the only part I did not like is where he says the buffalo had to go, no they didn't. White man thought the Native Americans had to go as well. I'm not in belief of any of those things as they are crap!
But onto the book! I would never have thought he was this sort of man that wandered around doing jobs here and th
Robyn Groth
Dec 26, 2015 Robyn Groth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as part of a string of autobiographies/memoirs written by autodidacts. (I also read The Day I Became an Autodidact, Polyglot: How I Learn Languages and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.) And I can't believe how much I love this guy!

In this book, he talks a lot about the 20's and 30's - when he was a young adult, and he talks a lot about his love of books and learning.

"What money I earned was necessary for eating. I slept in empty boxcars, on piles of lumber, anywhere out o
Chris Frederick
Oct 21, 2009 Chris Frederick rated it really liked it
These reviews are to help me process my reading and improve my writing. They may be useful to other readers, too; just don't be turned off by their personal nature.

Who is Louis L'Amour?
He read over 100 books a year. He worked hard labor and starved throughout 1930's America. He was a boxer. He wrote novels about the American West. And I learned all this from Louis L'Amour's memoir, The Education of a Wandering Man.

I did not intend to read it. That's exactly why I carefully assembled a
Charlotte lu
Mar 15, 2012 Charlotte lu rated it really liked it
-book review for Education of a Wandering Man

For my whole life, I always regard myself as a novel reader. Reading prose or traveling notes has been a big problem for me as I would fall asleep all the time. But this time, I gave myself a great challenge for deciding to read "a notes" by Louis L’Amour, a great novel writer.

So as the day-to-day progress of reading Education of a wandering man, I realized that I am not the only one who tried to find challenge him/herself. Louis L'Amour elaborated th
Apr 13, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
This here is Louis L'Amour's anecdotal biography, and one that was begging to be written. The man had an amazing and fascinating life; he lived it all the way to the marrow is the only way I can think of to describe it. I had read other biographical articles on him so I already knew a few things about him. My only complaint about this book is that some of the rambling abstactions could be cut out and replaced with more bio. He only gives us about 10% of his story, although even that is priceless ...more
Ivan Probst
Jun 29, 2013 Ivan Probst rated it really liked it
Shelves: buy
Louis' story is an amazing description of what books can provide to you. Maybe the education word is too much. Or too restrictive actually. In our actual world, where knowledge is one click away form wikipedia, reading books actually provides with something more. You can personal interpretation, rather than plain fact, which is also important to build your own opinion. If you are capable of judging and understanding what you read in a book and not accept it as facts, you are on good track to bui ...more
Jan 06, 2009 Maria rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Last month was the 100th year anniversary of Louis L'Amour's birth. I felt that reading his memior was a good way to celebrate his birth.

I grew up in a home surrounded by the books of Louis L'Amour. He was one of my father's favorite fiction authors, and we listened to more than one of his books on tape during our family car trips. It was fascinating to learn more about L'Amour.

This book is more about L'Amour's philosphy about self-education and the importance of reading than it is about him as
Kirk Smith
Feb 14, 2015 Kirk Smith rated it liked it
The Title is to be taken literally, Education quite simply means: all of the books Mr. L'Amour read, even complete with bibliography/lists of books read. Only avid readers that could not become bored by a non-stop list of titles could appreciate most of this. On the other hand, it is a bit of a memoir, and the author very likeable. This is the ratio and proportion of the book, one line book title and clipped review, two lines memoir and background, one line humble writerly advice, and then repe ...more
Greg Z
Apr 30, 2016 Greg Z rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
The title is right on target. L'Amour is a traveler and a reader and very much self-educated. This is an interesting book, but can be a little dry, and I have the feeling L'Amour left out a lot of "juicy" stuff. Why, just look at that "devilishly handsome" face. You just know there were very angry husbands along the way, (or angry wives?) chasing L'Amour out of town. But we don't get those stories.
Jeff Suwak
May 23, 2015 Jeff Suwak rated it it was amazing
Great not only as an account of an exciting man, but also as a writing manual. It's not written as a writing manual, but throughout the story he drops some wisdom here and there about being a writer and persevering, offers a simple but effective solution for writer's block, and some other things.

But, beyond any writing stuff, the man lived one hell of a life and it's fun to read about.
Sep 03, 2008 Andrew rated it it was amazing
I just read this for a second time. I think I could read it again and still get more out of it. It is filled with wisdom that is beneficial for all. Two of my favorite quotations from the book:

I think the greatest gift anyone can give to another is the desire to know, to understand. Life is not for simply watching spectator sports, or for taking part in them; it is no for simply living from one working day to the next. Life is for delving, discovering, learning.

Often I think of what pitiful foo
Jun 01, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing
One of the best autobiographies I've ever read. Even if you're not a fan of his Westerns, it's worth reading for the real-life drama...a life lead to its fullest.
Feb 25, 2009 Sharon rated it it was amazing
I read this book every couple of years.

L'Amour was one of the great writers.

Having said that, I purchase copies of this book to give to struggling high school students so they can see that others before them struggled and became successful. They can see the work it takes to become successful without a formal education.

One quote from one of those high school students: "I never knew you could learn something from books."

I recommend this book for everyone, whether they like Louis L'Amour or not, e
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All About "Education of a Wandering Man" 5 22 Oct 20, 2012 07:58PM  
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Louis L'Amour was an American author. L'Amour's books, primarily Western fiction, remain enormously popular, and most have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death all 101 of his works were in print (86 novels, 14 short-story collections and one full-length work of nonfiction) and he was considered "one of the world's most popular writers".
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“A book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think.” 103 likes
“I have read my books by many lights, hoarding their beauty, their wit or wisdom against the dark days when I would have no book, nor a place to read. I have known hunger of the belly kind many times over, but I have known a worse hunger: the need to know and to learn.” 62 likes
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