Friday, July 9, 2010
Great American Literature- Louis L'Amour
No favorite of your average college professor or community organizer, Louis L'Amour was nonetheless one of the greatest American storytellers and authors. At the time of his death in 1988, all 105 of his existing works were in print. This included 89 novels, 14 short-story collections, and two full-length works of nonfiction. He wrote mainly adventure stories and, most prominently, heroic tales of the west. His works of fiction typically pitted good guys in white hats versus bad guys in black hats and included none of the nuance favored by the aforementioned "intellectual" crowd. His personal life provided much of the inspiration for his writing. He grew up in North Dakota in the fading days of the American frontier and throughout his early life lived a somewhat itinerant life. He worked on ranches, in mines, sawmills and lumberyards and was also an accomplished prizefighter and fight trainer. He traveled around the country by rail with hoboes and sailed around the world on freighters as a merchant seaman. His short stories recount many of these adventures. In World War II, he served in Europe as an Army Officer in the Transportation Corps. Many of his books were made into movies and starred some of the greatest film cowboys including John Wayne, Sam Elliott and Tom Selleck. L'Amour was a favorite of President Ronald Reagan (no surprise there) who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984. I would hazard a guess that he was also a favorite of W.