Ryan Mishap's Reviews > Kilrone

Kilrone by Louis L'Amour
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Mar 08, 09

bookshelves: when-i-was-a-lad

The one name titles of so many books involve odd monikers of reluctant heroes, hard men, and fast draws...and the same three or four plots replicated again and again like house designs in a subdivision.

My dad loves all his books and I read over a hundred while staving off the night terrors when growing up.

It is a strange fact about the old west, Indians, and the genocidal take over of the land now called the United States that fiction writing about them is often taken for truth (see Ward Churchill's Fantasies of the Master Race). The back of almost every L'amour novel lauds his knowledge of "how it really was" and the fact that he could've been one of the tough, honorable, lonely fighting men he wrote about. This is complete crap. L'amour was a seller of fantasy, of lies, and of ideals that white men like to think they possess.
He uses Indians simultaneously as "noble warriors" and "bloodthirsty savages" and justifies the take over of their land with the old "their time was passing..." illogic--as if there wasn't an agent behind their passing.
Reading one of his novels, one gets the feeling he never did any research required of historical novels. Details are always vague. Little reference is made to historical events, ways of doing things, or period details that would lend credence to his imaginings. His stories could just as easily been set on Mars for all the research that shows through his writing. But Americans are already disposed to believing all this romantic Old West bullshit, so you don't have to try very hard.
When a writer taps into our national myths, they don't have to be accurate or true, because most of our national myths are lies already believed.
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