Rough Drafts 3/13

It’s hard to believe he’s been gone for a quarter of a century, but this year marks the 25th anniversary of the passing of novelist Louis L’Amour.

The legendary author is the undisputed king of Western fiction, with sales that reached into the hundreds of millions of copies while he was alive. His death has hardly slowed the demand, as any visit to a bookstore will demonstrate.

Country rocker Charlie Daniels was a personal friend of L’Amour’s, and to commemorate this anniversary, we sought Daniels’ assessment of L’Amour’s best books (see p. 64). Upon learning of his friend’s death, Daniels wrote a poetic tribute to the author who had inspired him so much. Shared here is a stanza from “Top Hand” that expresses a sentiment we all ought to adopt: “Hey, come on all you fellers, get your chins up off the ground. Ain’t no need in y’all a-moping, ain’t no need in being down.‘Cause old Lando’s guns are blazing, and there’s Indians on the plains. And there still ain’t no gunslinger half as fast as Utah Blaine.”

•••

We got our hands on a cracking good Civil War book, Wayne D. Jorgenson’s Every Man Did His Duty, about the colorful First Minnesota volunteer Union unit. This is a sumptuous volume, coffee table-sized, turned out on fine coated stock and lavishly illustrated. For those whose interests run to the Apache Wars, this book’s mini-profiles include a five-page vignette of Al Sieber, former chief of scouts under Gen. George Crook.

—Jesse Mullins

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