This man was my Grandpa Aldrich’s favorite author. Grandpa had ridden the range in the Dakotas in the 1920’s and early 30’s. He was basically an Iowa farmer for his whole life, but he rode horseback on the plains just long enough to become addicted vicariously to the life L’Amour so vividly describes in his many western novels.
Grandpa read every Louis L’Amour book the Rowan library had. He read a few more besides. And I have no idea how many he read twice, three times, or more. For the last decade of his life, he did very little sleeping, being used to two hours of actual sleep a night, and spending the rest of the time reading westerns while he rested.
This reading addiction is not only one that I understand, but share. I, too, love the westerns, the heroes, the manly and poetic prose, and the sheer story-telling ability of Louis L’Amour. I have not yet read every single book he wrote while he was alive. But I am working on it.
Recently I reread the book The Daybreakers, a critical cog in the story-cycle of the Sackett family. Here is my review from Goodreads of the third time I read this book.
Louis L’Amour is a master storyteller. He created the narrator hero, Tyrel Sackett, as a young Luke Skywalker. His natural Force abilities are those qualities which make him a competent Westerner and a powerful gunfighter. His brother Orrin Sackett takes the Han Solo role from rogue pilot to New Mexico Sheriff and eventual congressman. Jonathan Pritts is the evil Emperor. He wants to take over the Mexican land grant belonging to the Alvarado family (Princess Leiah’s family on Alderaan). (Drusilla Alvarado is the Princess Leiah character). Ironically, Tom Sunday is a reverse Darth Vader. He befriends Tye, teaches him to read and how to be a good cattleman. And then he later turns on the Sackett family because of a wrong he feels from Orrin. The confrontation between Tye and his dark-side father figure is inevitable.
The writer abilities I see in the author deserve a much more detailed analysis than I can write here, but I loved this great American novel and strongly recommend it.
We have lost Louis L’Amour. He will never write another book. Which gives me a chance to read everything he wrote. But he writes so well, and is such an important part of American literature, that is only the smallest of consolations.
4 responses to “In Praise of Louis L’Amour”
L’Amour is good. Loved “Lonesome Dove.”
I grew up with Zane Grey, an earlier western author.
I love Zane Grey too. I think “Riders of the Purple Sage” is his best. My Grandfather on my mother’s side turned me on to reading Westerns. L’Amour was his favorite. I particularly like the Sackett novels. I love “Lonesome Dove” too. But I think that’s by Larry McMurtry. McMurtry is on the record as a L’Amour fan too.
I often get authors confused in my old age.
You have a memory good enough to remember Zane Grey. I have a hard time finding his books anywhere but in used bookstores. The world has mostly forgotten him. And remembering Lonesome Dove is important. That is one of the best books ever produced by the genre.