I love to read but it can be hard to find decent, honest, red-pill material. I like some non-fiction, mainly biographical or historical, but probably 80% of my reading is fictional. I know this may seem heretical to some.
I hear the cry of: “How can you improve yourself by reading fake stories? You can’t learn anything from fiction!” Outrage duly noted, but I beg to differ. I’ve gained inspiration from many of the fictional stories I’ve read. Some so much that I have read these books multiple times to glean as much as possible. I believe with fiction, as with anything, you can find some good amidst the junk that is prevalent today. This isn’t a new phenomenon. We have the classics but they were also an oasis in the word deserts of their times.
I’ve thought of what I could offer to the community we belong to for a while. I don’t want to just glean from others, I want to put something back in; make someone’s life a little richer.
And something finally came along.
Months ago, on another site, a commentator asked about one of the authors I like to read. One that made a sizable impact on my life and brought out hard questions for me to face at an early age. So I helped a brother out and gave him some recommendations from this writer. I’ve thought about that moment since then but the light bulb didn’t go off until recently that I could maybe help others out as well. So the idea for this post, and hopefully others, was born. I want to expose readers to authors that I feel espouse truth and character that we could gain from emulating. I want others to be enriched as I have been. I love recommending a book and see someone else discover the joy that is in those pages.
Born Louis Dearborn LaMoore on March 22, 1908, he was the youngest of seven children in the family of Dr. Louis Charles LaMoore and Emily Dearborn LaMoore. His home, for the first fifteen years of his life, was Jamestown, North Dakota.
His grandfather had fought in the Civil War and in the Indian Wars that followed and told Louis of his experiences. Two of his uncles had been cowboys and put in him the love for the West. His father was a large animal veterinarian and taught his son the value of hard work and that a man can always find a way to solve a problem.
After a series of bank failures ruined the economy of the upper Midwest, Dr. LaMoore, his wife Emily, and their sons Louis and John took to the road. They traveled across the country in an often-desperate seven-year odyssey. During this time Louis skinned cattle in west Texas, baled hay in the Pecos valley of New Mexico, worked in the mines of Arizona, California, and Nevada, and in the saw mills and lumber yards of Oregon and Washington.
It was during this time that Louis met a wide spectrum of men that would inspire him later. He met former marshals and outlaws, soldiers and Rangers. Louis also began to box some to provide gas money. He later became coach for several Golden Glove teams. His experience as a boxer bleeds over into his hyper-realistic fisticuffs scenes.
He hoboed cross country on trains. He slept in grain bins and stacks of lumber, wrapped newspaper under his clothes to keep warm. He traveled around the world as a merchant seaman. He hiked the wilderness of the West. All of these experiences would prove invaluable in his writing. When he wrote about a cowboy stranded in the desert with no water, he was writing about something he lived through. When he describes a brawl in a bar, it was basically a flashback.
Herding cattle? Check.
Felling timber? Done that.
Louis L’Amour was a man’s man.
I fell in love with his books at a young age. I read my first L’Amour at 7 years old. My maternal grandfather had a huge collection and I raided it. Many nights I fell asleep at his house while reading one of these books. I remember these books shaping my young mind into believing that with hard work and persistence I could be anything. I learned that it doesn’t benefit one to complain about your situation. Get up and do something about it.
L’Amour was a prodigious writer, churning out hundreds of stories, but they are all worth reading. For the beginner, though, I would recommend “Sackett” and the Sackett series as a whole. The series follows a family’s journey from the fens of England to the New World. Most of them follow the protagonist of “Sackett”, William Tell Sackett.
Tell is the oldest of three boys and leaves home to fight in the Civil War. The book picks up with him heading West. Here’s how the first chapter starts:
IT WASN’T AS if he hadn’t been warned. He got it straight, with no beating around the mesquite.
“Mister,” I said, “if you ain’t any slicker with that pistol than you were with that bottom deal, you’d better not have at it.”
L’Amour’s men are like this. No backing down. They call it like they see it. You know what they mean and how they stand. I’ve taken this to heart in my life. I learned from these books to despise “yes men”. You can respect authority without boot licking.
Another lesson from this author is that perseverance and quick thinking can get you out of a lot of trouble. Countless times his characters are faced with bad times but they manage to emerge stronger because they are determined and don’t give up.
There’s also a sense of the value of family. One of my favorites, “Reilly’s Luck”, deals with a boy who is adopted by a gambler after his father dies. The gambler assumes the father role touchingly and plants the seeds of a man in the boy. This is sprinkled throughout L’Amours works as well. Men raising men, but he also brings out how a good mother stands with her man and also touches the child.
Hopefully the small amount I’ve put forth here will whet your interest in this great author. Feel free to pester me in the comments about him or any other subject. Thanks for reading.