Education of a Wandering Man Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Education of a Wandering Man.
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Education of a Wandering Man Summary & Study Guide Description

Education of a Wandering Man Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L'Amour.

In "Education of a Wandering Man," famed writer of the American West, Louis L'Amour, provides a detailed account of his unique education. Reading was the foundation of L'Amour's education and his later phenomenal success as a writer. He had been exposed to reading from the time that he was born. Not only was the L'Amours a family of readers, they would discuss what they read and learned each day at the dinner table. From these discussions, L'Amour learned to analyze and question what he learned which served to fuel a growing hunger to read more and learn more.

When L'Amour was just twelve years old, he wanted a bike. His father told him to get a job and buy it himself. L'Amour took his advice and began delivering messages and mail for Western Union. It was a serendipitous point in L'Amour's young life. Magazines were among the material that L'Amour delivered. A naturally curious young man, L'Amour peeked inside and read short stories and reports of scientific advancements and became intrigued with the written word. It was the beginning of a love affair that would last a lifetime.

At sixteen, L'Amour was forced to quit school because of family economics. Although his father was a veterinarian and had served in various law enforcement capacities, times were tough leading up to the Great Depression and money was tight. But L'Amour had another reason to leave school - he felt that his "education" at school was standing in the way of a true education. He was happy to leave. L'Amour seemed to have no trepidation about taking off into the world at such a young age. It seemed his destiny.

L'Amour, a tall sixteen-year-old young man, convinced the captain of a seafaring vessel that he was twenty-two. L'Amour got a job on the ship and sailed across the Atlantic. At the same time that his high school class was graduating back in Jamestown, North Dakota, L'Amour was hanging out with a crew of seasoned and rugged sailors in a bar in Singapore.

Having been a sparring partner for some boxers in his hometown, L'Amour made some money on the side by signing up for boxing matches. Boxing was an important factor in the lives of many poor young men at the time. If these young men had some talent and ability, they could sometime parlay their skills in the ring into a lucrative career. When L'Amour was stateside, he rode the rails with the other hobos who were looking for seasonal work. The pre-Depression, hobo was a valuable and respected element of the work force. After the Depression, however, jobs were scarce and the hobo persona devolved into the more modern definition of the term "hobo."

L'Amour worked in mines, skinned cattle, harvested, served in the military during World War II, and did scores of other odd jobs to support himself. However, all the while, L'Amour was locked into a process of self-education. No matter what job that he had, L'Amour was observing and learning. He loved to hear the tales of old-timers about their struggles in taming the wild west. And he read—he read anything and everything he could get his hands on. The only time he didn't read was during his service in the military. It was impossible to read most of the time during the war. However, it didn't stop him from thinking and observing and hearing the stories that others had to tell. He never forgot those stories.

Louis L'Amour had a unique education, one that probably stands unparalleled before and since. L'Amour became one of the most successful and prolific American writers of all time. However, even as an accomplished writer, his education didn't end. His hunger to read and learn never ebbed. His education was endless as was his thirst for knowledge. In his later years, he did not wander the world physically but his mind never stopped wandering through the infinite knowledge that was available in books.

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