Louis L’Amour: A Biography by Anita Y Tsuchiya


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Another e-book of the “Reader’s Digest” variety that obviously is aimed at the “limited” reader. Limited as in not feeling like they have the time to peruse a “proper” book versus these watered down versions. As in the American Legend series I just reviewed on Duke Wayne, this book will not break the bank and just under 2 pounds, but it is fairly limited in the amount of information that is related about this iconic author.

I was going to include this book review with my John Wayne review because it was Wayne’s role of Hondo in the picture of the same name that propelled L’Amour even further into the limelight as the film was adapted pretty faithfully from his book. He was not unknown at the time that Hondo was made (as a 3D film yet!) but the public reception of the film was such that L’Amour became even more popular as the preferred storyteller of America’s west.

I grew up reading both Louis L’Amour westerns and those of Zane Grey as well. My father was a huge fan of both authors (with a definite preference to Grey’s novels) and because he had plenty of these books around the house I read them as well. L’Amour’s life, as chronicled by several interviews and articles over the years could have stepped whole out of one of his stories.

He left home and “rode the rails” to find work and an education. He had left school at an early age to “round” out his learning as he felt the academic system used in the formal setting of  his school was lacking. Coming from a family of readers and teachers, he already knew everything that he considered important from a scholastic viewpoint and was eager to learn more than what he had current access to.

For a really great source of  information on Louis L’Amour read his autobiographical novel Education of a Wandering Man. While the book is not all-encompassing, it does relate a lot of facts from the man himself. It is a fascinating inside look at the man who created such iconic sagas with the feudal and familial Sacketts.

During his lifetime, L’Amour was: A boxer, miner, merchant seaman, naval officer, skinner and lumber man.  All these on top of being a top-notch writer of western and adventure novels. He was also an accomplished poet and his daughter Angelique has published a collection of these in Smoke From This Altar.

This biography does touch on a lot of information about L’Amour and it appears to be, again, aimed at the commuter market. For those who do not know who this fascinating man is, it is a good introduction. Sadly the only other biographical information out there is the Education of a Wandering Man and assorted interviews and magazine articles. If you are lucky enough to have access to some of his audio-books you can hear the man himself providing background and information on each of the books.

If you have had the pleasure of reading any of his books you’ll know that the “About the Author” preamble states that he was, amongst other things, shipwrecked, stranded in the Mojave Desert, and was a world traveller. This book doesn’t really relate more than the most basic of information with the odd bit of information that delves a bit deeper.

A 3 out of 5 star book just because it did tell me a few things that I did not know already, quite a feat considering that I have spent years in my spare time trying to learn as much as possible about this writer.

The author Louis L'Amour. (b: 1908 - d: 1988)
The author Louis L’Amour. (b: 1908 – d: 1988)

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

8 thoughts on “Louis L’Amour: A Biography by Anita Y Tsuchiya”

  1. Hi Mike.
    Many thanks for your thoughtful review of my biography on Louis L’Amour. You hit the nail on the head regarding Hyperink’s “best little biography” titles, which are designed to be short reads for general interest readers. (The Kindle Store on Amazon gives an approximate page count of 33 pages for this title.) It was particularly challenging trying to create a succint profile of such a prolific author and colorful character, who as you well know, lived firsthand many of the adventures about which he wrote.

    One of the editorial restrictions for these biographies was I could only use references that are publically accessible online, and free. The idea is to offer a one-chair reading experience that is both mobile and interactive–readers can look up references or explore further via a simple click of a hyperlink. Thus I am particularly pleased that I managed to dig up a few new facts for you.

    BTW, another rich source of information for L’Amour fans is the website maintained by his son Beau, www(dot)louislamour(dot)com. Thanks again and happy reading everyone!

    “I have told many, yet when I go down that last trail, I know there will be a thousand stories hammering at my skull, demanding to be told.” –Louis L’Amour

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    1. Wow! Thank you! I never expect to hear from the folks whose work I review and I’m constantly being surprised when the authors take the time out of their busy schedule to send me a comment! Thanks as well for the heads up on the website! You’ve made my day! 😀

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      1. Hi Mike. I guess you never know when someone will show up to the party. LOL! Actually, you should thank Google+, which sent me an alert about your review. At the very least, I wanted to express my appreciation for you taking the time to review my ebook. And I think you’ll really enjoy Beau’s website. Bye for now. . .AYT

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  2. Thank you for the info on Louis L’Aour audio books. Road trips with an audio book has become my favorite thing to do.
    I had been reading for years and prided myself in the size of books I was reading. I was so uninformed back then. I recall I hadn’t had a book to read and mentioned it to a neighbor. About an hour later he was at my back door with a few Louis L’Amour books. I thanked him but I was so unimpressed with these thin cowboy books until I read the first book. What an idiot I was. I consumed his library of westerns.
    My reaction and snobbery was one of those moments that changed how I thought about everything.
    Thanks for the reminder!

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