Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Education of a Wandering Man

I haven’t done a book posting lately, because I’ve been so busy reading and doing other things that I haven’t had time. Been saving them up for a winter day when there’s nothing else going on. But this one I had to share. I just finished Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour, and I highly recommend it!

L’Amour, most widely known as a writer of westerns, was much more than that. He wrote over 100 books, many of them westerns, to be sure, but a great many of them were set in ancient times – in the Middle East and Asia, and even in modern day settings. They all shared a common characteristic – the author’s love of historical accuracy, and his desire to teach, through his writing, the impacts one single man can have on the world around him.

Given all this, one would suspect that L’Amour was a highly educated man, with a study lined with degrees from the most prestigious universities. Well, he did have many of those degrees, but they were honorary, given in recognition of an education attainable only in the way he attained it. He left school at age 15, with a hunger for knowledge that never left him, and traveled the world on ships, trains, trucks, and on foot, working his way, and ever learning through the vast number of books he acquired and read.

In Education of a Wandering Man he says “No one can ‘get’ an education, for of necessity an education is a continuing process. If it does nothing else, it should provide students with the tools for learning, acquaint them with methods of study and research, methods of pursuing an idea.”

He also says “The idea of education has been so tied to schools, universities, and professors that many assume there is no other way, but education is available to anyone within reach of a library, a post office, or even a newsstand.”

This book is an account of just such an education – one acquired by an attempt to satisfy a hunger for learning that is indeed rare in modern times. That he was still hungry for learning in his late 80s (he died at age 88) says much for this man. He lived to learn, and to pass on his leaning, hoping to instill that passion in others.

I only hope I can pass on that passion to my own grandkids, and I highly recommend this book to anyone with like interests.

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