Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Louis L'Amour for Western Wednesday

One of the best writers of western books is going to be the focus of our post today.

Many consider him as the best writer of western books in the industry. He had a very distinctive style, and that was one reason for his popularity.

Louis L’Amour born

Louis L’Amour, the prolific author of scores of bestselling western novels, is born in Jamestown, North Dakota.

An indifferent student, L’Amour dropped out of high school at age 15. Over the next two decades, he traveled around the world working in an amazing variety of jobs. At various times, he tried his hand at being a cowboy, seaman, longshoreman, prizefighter, miner, and fruit picker. During World War II, L’Amour served time in Europe as an officer in the tanks corps.

After returning from the war, L’Amour began writing short stories and novels. His spare, flinty style caught the eyes of several editors, and L’Amour began to make a living as a writer. His big break came when a novel he wrote at the age of 46 became the basis for the popular John Wayne movie Hondo. Although L’Amour had not set out to become a writer of Westerns, he began producing more of what readers and editors clearly wanted. He wrote several other screenplay/novels, including the epic 1962 movie, How the West Was Won. By the mid-1970s, he had written 62 books, most of them Westerns.

L’Amour’s best-loved novels feature three pioneering families: the Sacketts, the Chantrys, and the Talons. L’Amour produced convincing and moving historical novels that spanned centuries and celebrated the strength and spirit of the American West. Most of his books also feature rough-hewn but intelligent men. “When you open a rough, hard country,” L’Amour once said, “you don’t open it with a lot of pantywaists.” In the tradition of classic Westerns like Owen Wister’s The Virginian, women primarily serve as love interests in need of protection.

Using extensive historical research to ensure authenticity, L’Amour avoided many of the simplistic cliches and racist stereotypes of earlier Westerns. Although he occasionally cast Indians as villains, he also offered sympathetic portraits that reflected an understanding and sympathy for different cultures and history.

Although he had written 108 books by the time he died in 1988, L’Amour considered himself a serious author and blamed the lack of critical respect on the fact that his books were Westerns. Still, having sold more than 225 million copies of his novels, L’Amour was one of the most popular and influential western authors of the 20th century. In recognition of his vivid depictions of America’s past, Congress awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal in 1983.

This gentleman had quite the career. No wonder he was so well thought of in his profession.
Coffee out on the patio this morning.


linda m said...

I read a couple of his books and thought he was a very good author. Not too shabby for a high school drop out. Rain all day here then turning into snow - YUCK. What can I say except it's March and I live in WI.

Chickenmom said...

Loved his books - he made the characters seem real. A nation is built with strong men and women - not ones wearing a tutu and riding unicorns. I'll bring the Dunkins.

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
Not too shabby is right. Pretty popular, even today!
Thanks for stopping by this morning!

Hey Phyllis...
Making characters seem alive is the main goal of a good writer. Pretty much spot on with the description of the people.
Thanks for coming over today!

JO said...

I have read a few of his books because I kept seeing them in almost every house I visited, not to mention hearing about him everywhere. I found them interesting and sometimes you just couldn't put one down. Like Linda said not to shabby for a drop out.

Going to be a beautiful next few days so after coffee going to load up for a few days of camping while it isn't to hot.

Jim said...

I have a whole box full of them and am reading one now. Love his books.

HermitJim said...

Hey Jo...
Lots of people have him around. Not being able to find a stopping point is a good sign.
Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Jim...
My dad used to have all of his hard back books. Quite a collection, let me tell ya.
Thanks for coming over today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

There is nothing better than a good cowboy story. They can contain mysteries, love stories, along with the horses, cattle, cowboys, and sixguns.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
Yeah, I figured you would have some favorite cowboy stories or books for that very reason!
Thanks for the visit today!