Penn State

William James Lamont Jr. - Professor of Vegetable Crops, Penn State University

Book Title: Lonesome Dove

Author: Larry McMurtry

Book Description:

You are probably scratching your head and wondering why an Extension Vegetable Specialist would be choosing "Lonesome Dove" as his selection for the library. You probably thought that I would select some intellectual read on vegetable crop physiology or vegetable crop production by some well-known author in my field. I started to do exactly that but then paused to reflect on what I thought Dr. Erickson was trying to accomplish with this program. He stated that we should choose a book that has some special meaning to us and it will be identified as such with a nameplate honoring our achievement of tenure and/or promotion. That is why I chose "Lonesome Dove".

For those that have never read the book, I suggest that you check it out and give it a read. For those that look at the cover, I am sure your first thought will be that it is just another western novel. I suggest that it is actually a tale about life although the setting is the old west and its characters cowboys. For me it holds many truths that I have tried to follow in my journey through life and in my career in academia. It is about being a visionary, about friendships strong and lasting forged in the heat of conflict, about overcoming great hardships, about giving one's word to a friend and keeping it. It is about loving and caring, about dealing with impending death, about honor and a code of conduct that means that even one's friend is not exempt from punishment. It is about leadership, and about having the skills needed to survive but not boasting about them but having a quiet confidence in one' abilities. I keep "Lonesome Dove" on my file cabinet in my office as a powerful reminder of the simple and lasting truths of life hoping that I would have been worthy to ride with Captain Call and Gus.


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U.Ed. LIB 04-64      last updated 8/10/10 wh