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With These Hands

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Overview

The timeless fiction of Louis L'Amour is both unforgettable and undeniably American, deftly capturing the heroic bravery and intrepid spirit that make this nation great. L’Amour ’s legacy of work remains unparalleled, setting a standard of excellence that few other writers have matched. Now With These Hands pulls together some of L’Amour's very best work—eleven newly rediscovered stories that have never before appeared in a single volume.

From a South Seas island paradise to the...

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Overview

The timeless fiction of Louis L'Amour is both unforgettable and undeniably American, deftly capturing the heroic bravery and intrepid spirit that make this nation great. L’Amour ’s legacy of work remains unparalleled, setting a standard of excellence that few other writers have matched. Now With These Hands pulls together some of L’Amour's very best work—eleven newly rediscovered stories that have never before appeared in a single volume.

From a South Seas island paradise to the icy reaches of the Arctic, from the dark, gritty streets of urban America to the rugged landscape of the untamed West, the stories gathered in With These Hands combine razor-sharp characters with breathtaking action and historic detail. Here are tales of adventure, mystery, passion, suspense, and the Old West as only L’Amour can tell them. The result is a collection that profoundly echoes the highs and lows of the human experience, while proving that life’s most vital moments can occur when and where we least expect them.

All of the classic L’Amour themes are represented: honor, loyalty, and standing up for what’s right despite the odds. These dramatic stories grab hold of the reader with a power and immediacy unsurpassed by any other writer. An exotic island in the Coral Sea is transformed into a tropical nightmare when it’s taken over by a band of hijackers—and only a daredevil pilot can stop their brutal carnage. A former boxer blows the lid off a vicious crime ring—and finds that his worst enemy is not a thug with a gun but his own tenacious curiosity. A down-on-his-luck rancher discovers the key to his own redemption—and desperately hopes that his revelation has not come too late for him to win the one thing he wants most of all. A private eye navigates the twists and turns of a labyrinthine whodunit—and proves that the greatest risk to a man’s honor is his own greed.

The title story "With These Hands" is a powerful tale that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, as an oil company executive finds himself the sole survivor of an Arctic plane crash. Fighting for his life against the perilous cold and looming starvation, he resists the temptation to surrender to death—only to discover a life-affirming strength he never knew he had.

Vivid in scope and displaying the diverse talents of a master storyteller, the stories in With These Hands are certain to be treasured by both old and new fans, celebrating the incomparable imagination of a timeless American author.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Classic L’Amour entertainment...All of L’Amour’s characters are fast with their fists, guns, mouths and wits, defending honor and battling greed and evil."—Publishers Weekly
From The Critics
The author of 119 books, all still in print, L'Amour may be best known for his tales of tough ranchers, dastardly cattle thieves and cowgirls in distress. This latest story collection includes only one Wild West tale. The rest of the book features World War II dramas, hard-boiled detective mysteries and thrilling adventures. At the center of these is always a rugged man's man trying to make his way out of a tough situation. "With These Hands," the title story, is about a lone businessman trying desperately to stay alive after a plane crash in a mountain wilderness. "Gloves for a Tiger" is about a boxer given the chance to fight the man who left him for dead in Africa. Much of the collection is predictable but entertaining. Sometimes it's nice just to sit back and read a good old-fashioned thriller.
—Michael Phillips

Publishers Weekly
The fourth and final posthumous Bantam collection of L'Amour's short stories comprises 11 adventures written in the 1940s and 1950s that call to mind pulp magazines, as tough men and curvy women trade snappy banter against a backdrop of mayhem and testosterone. Cowboys, boxers, detectives, pilots, sea captains and damsels in distress are L'Amour's heroes here, and no corny clich is left untried. Still, these stories pack a solid punch of action, color and grim violence, in settings from Hollywood to the South Seas and Japan. Only one is a western, with rustlers and romance turning the head of a young cowboy, while three feature young, idealistic prizefighters pounding on bad guys. L'Amour was a clever mystery writer, too, with a talent for clues and suspense. In "Corpse on the Carpet," a Good Samaritan saves a kid from a mugging only to find himself in the middle of kidnapping, robbery and murder. In "Police Band," a bored and curious bystander and a sharp police detective team up unexpectedly to solve a series of crimes. Long-time L'Amour character Turk Madden appears in two stories, one of which is an action-packed wartime spy drama set in Japan. Sea captain Ponga Jim Mayo, another L'Amour favorite, steers a tramp steamer through submarine-infested waters with a hot cargo and a nest of enemy spies aboard in "Voyage to Tobalai." Best is the title story, a gritty and haunting account of an oil company executive's desperate struggle to survive in the Arctic wilderness after a plane crash. All of L'Amour's characters are fast with their fists, guns, mouths and wits, defending honor and battling greed and evil. There may not be much sophistication in this volume, but it's classic L'Amour entertainment. (May) Forecast: There are over 260 million copies of L'Amour's books in print. With These Hands, which is as archetypal L'Amour as the first three books in this Bantam series, should appeal to all his devoted fans. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The final volume in a series of four posthumous titles (Beyond the Great Snow Mountains, 1999, etc.) collecting tales never before published in book form, many in genres we don't associate with the Western writer. L'Amour (1908-88) came from pioneer stock and traced his family back to 1600. Before committing fully to a writing career in his mid-'30s, he led a vastly adventurous life. He sailed around the globe, was shipwrecked in the West Indies and stranded in the Mojave Desert, worked as a miner, lumberjack, cattle skinner, carnival barker, elephant handler, and a boxer (winning 51 of 59 fights); during WWII, he served as an officer in the Transportation Corps. Included herein is the ferocious boxing saga "Gloves for a Tiger," the second short story he sold. Also here are the wrap-ups for a number of early series clearly from his pulp days, although no provenance is given for any story. (Those interested can turn to louislamour.com for more information.) L'Amour is still finding his voice in many of these fictions, which echo genre styles of the day. For instance, in "Corpse on the Carpet," his lengthy LA thriller about detective-to-be Kip Morgan: "She was sitting just around the curve of the bar, a gorgeous package of a girl, all done up in a gray tailored suit." It's pulp, but it's catchy pulp; flurries like "I'd thrown my Sunday punch and all I got was rebound" keep readers lost in a hardboiled, lobster-bright time-warp filled with phrasings now as formal and stately as harpsichord notes from an 18th-century drawing room ("I whipped my right up into his solar plexus"). The lone Western, "Six-Gun Stampede," is voiced in that "Anyways, I'm just fixin' dinner" coziness. Far stronger isthe title story, a Jack London-ish man-against-nature classic, telling of an oil company executive crashing in the Arctic wastes. The Ghost writes on. Wonderfully.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553584912
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/29/2003
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 585,340
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.89 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis L’Amour is undoubtedly the bestselling frontier novelist of all time. He is the only American-born author in history to receive both the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of his life's work. He has published ninety novels; twenty-seven short-story collections; two works of nonfiction; a memoir, Education of a Wandering Man; and a volume of poetry, Smoke from This Altar. There are more than 300 million copies of his books in print worldwide.

Biography

Our foremost storyteller of the authentic West, Louis L'Amour has thrilled a nation by chronicling the adventures of the brave men and women who settled the American frontier. There are more than 260 million copies of his books in print around the world.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Louis Dearborn LaMoore (real name); Tex Burns and Jim Mayo
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 22, 1908
    2. Place of Birth:
      Jamestown, North Dakota
    1. Date of Death:
      June 10, 1988

Read an Excerpt

Fighters don't dive


Nimbly “Flash” Moran parried a jab and went in fast with a left to the wind. Stepping back, he let Breen get a breath. Then he flicked out a couple of lefts, put over an inside right, and as Breen bobbed into a crouch and tried to get in close, he clinched and tied him up.

They broke, and Breen came in with a flurry of punches that slid off Moran’s arms and shoulders. Then Moran’s hip moved and a left hook that traveled no more than four inches snapped Breen up to his toes. Breen caught himself and staggered away.

The gong sounded, and Flash Moran paused . . . then he slapped Breen on the shoulder and trotted to his corner.

Two men were standing there with Dan Kelly. He knew them both by sight. Mike McKracken, an ex-wrestler turned gambler, and “Blackie” Marollo, small-time racketeer.

“You’re lookin’ good, kid,” Kelly said. “This next one you should win.”

“You might, but you won’t stop him,” Marollo said, looking up. “Nobody knocks Barnaby out.”

McKracken studied Moran with cold eyes. “You got paper on him?” he asked Kelly.

“I don’t need any,” Kelly said. “We work together.”

“Well, if you had it, I’d buy a piece,” McKracken said. “I need a good middle. Money in that class now with Turner, Schmidt, and Demeray comin up.”

“I wouldn’t sell,” Kelly said. “We’re friends.”

“Yeah?” Marollo shot him a glance. “I’d hate to see somebody come along an’ offer him a grand to sign up. You’d see how much friendship matters.”

Flash Moran looked at Marollo, then dropped to the floor beside him.

“You’ve a rotten way of looking at things, Blackie,” he said. “We aren’t all dishonest, you know!”

“You’re pretty free with that lip of yours, kid. Maybe somebody will button it up one day. For keeps.”

Moran turned, pulled his robe around him, and started for the dressing room.

“That kid better get wise or he won’t last,” Marollo said. “You tell him, Kelly.”

“You told him yourself,” Kelly replied. “Didn’t you?”

Dan Kelly turned and walked up the aisle after Flash. Behind him, he heard Marollo’s voice.

“That punk. I’ll fix him!”

“You won’t do nothin’ of the kind,” he heard McKracken growl. “We got too much ridin’ on this to risk trouble.”

The voices faded out with the distance, and Kelly scowled.

In the dressing room the trainer spoke up. “Keep an eye on Marollo, kid, he’s all bad.”

“To the devil with him,” Flash said. “I know his kind. He’s tough as long as he has all the odds with him. When the chips are down, he’ll turn yellow.”

“Maybe. But you’ll never see him when he doesn’t have the difference.” Kelly looked at him curiously. “Where you goin’ tonight?”

“Out. Just lookin’ around. Say, Dan, what do you suppose is bringing Marollo and McKracken around to the gym? One or the other’s been down here five days in a row.”

“Probably sizing you up, figurin’ the odds.” Kelly knotted his tie. “Well. I’ve got a date with the wife.”

Shorty Kinsella was lining up a shot when Flash Moran walked into Brescia’s Pool Room. He looked up.

“Hiya, champ! How’s about a game? I’m just winding up this one.”

He put the last ball in the corner and walked around, holding out his hand.

Moran took it, grinning. “Sure, I’ll play.”

“Better watch him.” The man who Kinsella had played handed Shorty five dollars. “He’s good!”

Moran racked the balls. “Say, what do you know about Blackie Marollo?”

Shorty’s smile went out like a light. He broke, and ran up four, then looked at Flash thoughtfully.

“Nothing. You shouldn’t know anything either.”

Flash Moran watched Kinsella make a three-cushion shot. “The guy’s got me wondering.”

“Well, don’t. Not if you want to stay healthy.”

Flash Moran finished his game and went out. He paused on the corner and peeled the paper from a stick of chewing gum. If even Shorty Kinsella was afraid to talk about Marollo, there must be more behind Blackie than he’d thought.

Suddenly, there was a man standing beside him. He was almost as tall as Moran, though somewhat heavier. He lit a cigarette, and as the match flared, he looked up at Flash over his cupped hands.

“Listen, sonny,” he said, “I heard you askin’ a lot of questions about Marollo in there. Well, cut it out . . . get me?”

“Roll your hoop.” Flash turned easily. “I’ll ask what I want, when I want.”

The man’s hand flashed, and in that instant of time, Flash saw the blackjack. He threw up his left arm and blocked the blow by catching the man’s forearm on his own. Then he struck. It was a right, short and wicked, into the man’s wind.

Moran had unlimbered a hard blow, and the man was in no shape to take it. With a grunt he started to fall and then Moran slashed him across the face with the edge of his hand. He felt the man’s nose crunch, and as the fellow dropped, Moran stepped over him and walked around the corner.

So, Blackie Marollo didn’t like to be talked about? Just who was Blackie Marollo, anyway?

Up the street there was a Chinese joint, a place he knew. He went in, found an empty booth, and sat down. He was scowling, thoughtfully. There would be trouble. He had busted up one of Marollo’s boys, and he imagined Blackie wouldn’t like it. If a guy had to hire muscle, he had to keep their reputation. If it was learned they could be pushed around with impunity, everybody would be trying it.

Moran was eating a bowl of chicken and fried rice when the girl came in. She was slim, long-legged, and blond, and when she smiled her eyes twinkled merrily. She had another girl with her, a slender brunette.

She turned, glancing around the room, and their eyes met. Too late he tried to look indifferent, but his face burned and he knew his embarrassment had shown. She smiled and turned back to the other girl.

When the girls sat down, she was facing him. He cursed himself for a fool, a conceited fool to be thinking a girl of her quality would care to know anyone who earned his living in the ring.

Several times Moran’s and the girl’s eyes caught. Then Gow came into the room and saw him. Immediately, he hurried over, his face all smiles.

“Hiya, Flash! Long time no see!”

“I’ve been meaning to come in.”

“How are you going to do with the Soldier?”

“Think I’ll beat him. How’re the odds?”

“Six to five. He’s the favorite. Genzel was in, the fellow who runs that bar around the corner. He said it was a cinch to go the limit.”

For an instant, Flash was jolted out of his thinking of the girl.

“Genzel? Isn’t he one of Marollo’s boys?”

“Yes. And Marollo usually knows . . . he doesn’t know about this one, does he, Flash?”

“Hell no!” he paused a moment. “Gow,” he said. “Take a note to that girl over there for me, will you?”

Hurriedly, Moran scribbled a few lines.

I’d like to talk to you. If the answer is yes, nod your head when you look at me. If it is no, the evening will still be lovely, even if not so exciting.

reilly moran

Gow shrugged, took the note, and wandered across the room. Flash Moran felt himself turning crimson and looked down. When he looked up, his eyes met those of the girl, and she nodded, briefly.

He got up, straightened his coat, and walked across the room. As he came alongside the table, she looked up.

“I’m Ruth Connor,” she said, smiling. “This is Hazel Dickens. Do you always eat alone?”

She moved over and made a place for him beside her in the booth.

“No,” he said. “Usually with a friend.”

“Girl?” Ruth asked, smiling at him.

“No. My business partner. We’re back here from San Francisco.”

“Are you?” she asked. “I lived there for a while. On Nob Hill.”

“Oh.” He grinned suddenly. “Not me. I came from the Mission District.”

Ruth looked at him curiously.

“You did? Why, that’s where all those tough Irish boys come from. You don’t look like them!”

He looked at her again. “Well, maybe I don’t,” he said quietly. “You can come a long way from the Mission District without getting out of it, though. But probably that’s just what I am . . . one of those tough Irish boys.”

For a moment, their eyes held. He stared at her, confused and a little angry. She seemed to enjoy getting a rise out of him but she didn’t seem to really be putting him down. So many times with girls this very thing happened, it was like a test but it was one he kept failing. Her friend stayed quiet and he was unsure of what to say or how to proceed.

The door opened then and three men came in. Flash grew cold all over.

“Sit still,” he told the girls softly. “No matter what happens.”

The men came over. Two of them had their hands in their coat pockets. They looked like Italians.

“Get up.” The man who spoke was short, very dark, and his face was pockmarked. “Get up now.”

Flash got to his feet slowly. His mind was working swiftly. If he’d been alone, in spite of it being Gow’s place, he might have swung.

“Okay,” Moran said, pleasantly. “I was expecting you.”

The dark man looked at him. “You was expectin’ us?”

“Yes,” Flash said. “When I had to slug your friend, I expected there would be trouble. So I called the D.A.’s office.”

“You did what?” There was consternation in the man’s voice.

“He’s bluffing, Rice,” one of the men said. “It’s a bluff.”

“We’ll see!” Rice’s eyes gleamed with cunning. “Tell us what the D.A.’s number is.”

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 9, 2011

    Great stories

    He writes real good short story collections. I havent read all of the stories here but I liked all the ones I read so far. I would love to see more of his full length novels like Last of the Breed and Haunted Mesa, Lonesome Gods, but he has passed on.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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