Louisiana Man

Fiction - Western
184 Pages
Reviewed on 06/09/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Louisiana Man is a historical western novel written by Lloyd Antypowich. Tom Menzer left his family's farm in Louisiana when he was nineteen years old. He wanted to be a cowboy and decided to head to Texas, a part of the country known for cowboys and large ranches. His skills with horses soon attracted the attention of the boss at the Bar X Ranch. His name was Ross O'Riley, and he quickly became attached to the young man and treated him as a son. Ross helped Tom set up his first homestead, with the aid of Mex and Patchy, Tom's friends who also worked at the Bar X. Tom learned about Indians and the stresses between them and the encroaching settlers from Ross. Ross counseled that respect would go a long way with the tribes, and Tom took that wisdom to heart and would rely upon it his whole life. Tom ended up leaving Texas after a wealthy rancher's sons assaulted Tom, Mex and Patchy, leaving one son wounded and the other dead. Jones, the aggrieved father, would be hounding Tom wherever he went in his quest for vengeance.

Lloyd Antypowich's historical western novel, Louisiana Man, brings the west to life with a focus on the impact of the western expansion on the American Indian tribes and their way of life. Tom Menzer's life and successes are intimately wound up with the Indians he encounters, and his diplomatic skills and caring nature make him a credible and attractive character. I especially enjoyed Tom's work with the wild horses he finds and works with in the open lands. The author sets his story in a succession of locations, which gave me a grand perspective to compare and contrast life in Texas, North Dakota and Alberta during the latter part of the nineteenth century. His coverage of the plight of the American Indian is comprehensive and compassionately related. Louisiana Man is a rich and evocative work whose main character is resilient, resourceful and kind. It's highly recommended.

Roy T. James

Louisiana Man by Lloyd Antypowich begins with Tom Menzer from Louisiana heading for Texas, with a strong desire to become a cowboy and attain great repute. His life is a struggle; he is neither able to resign to the life of a white man nor find reliable companionship with a native Indian. He travels further where, in Oklahoma, he manages to build enduring friendships with a group of natives. The village chief is impressed and offers his adopted daughter Raven Feather, a lovely maiden, to Tom. Tom and Raven start their life as a happy and close couple, building their ranch, tending fields until one day when Tom becomes the father of twin girls. Now Tom continues doing all that he was doing and more, to encounter more exciting events of life.

Louisiana Man by Lloyd Antypowich is a story of endurance, love and vision. The struggles the young Tom underwent in the initial days of his apprenticeship with the west, like learning to shoot from the hip and branding livestock, and how fruitfully he used those times to learn and master those skills, make for interesting reading. His intimate relationship with Raven and close attachment to his daughters has been made visible by expressive sentences in the novel. This is a good story, quite moving and deeply enjoyable. As the author mentions towards the end, “There were not too many tracks that Tom didn’t leave a few hoof prints on.”

Maria Beltran

In Louisiana Man, Lloyd Antypowich introduces us to a young wandering character by the name of Tom Menzer, who is all set out to explore the frontier. He is nineteen, and has quite a passion for becoming a cowboy. He saddles up, leaves his hometown of Pontchartrain, and heads out west to Texas where he finds work. Life pans out well for the young man. With hard work and patience, he begins to build a better life, later putting together his own ranch and befriending a neighboring tribe of Native Americans with whom he wishes to stop the killing between the natives and the white men. Trouble begins, however, when he becomes the target of a rich rancher, but things start to look up after Ross and the other cowboys help him out. He travels to Omaha and befriends the natives, and his life’s journey continues. Will he finally find the life he dreams of?

Readers will enjoy traveling and experiencing the homesteading life that Tom Menzer aims to achieve in Louisiana Man. His adventures in the frontier are wonderful page turners. The author, Lloyd Antypowich, wastes nothing in painting his life, the people, and the landscape on the written page. His portrayal of the rifts and friendships between pioneers and the natives is spot-on and realistic, definitely not one made out of cardboard characters. It’s a great western book – one that vividly features all the classic elements of the western genre and is highly entertaining. The Louisiana Man brings us back to a time when Indians and cowboys inhabited this part of the world and a man needed a lot of courage and vision to pursue his dreams. Tom Menzer is a certified cowboy whose life is full of action and adventure. It was a great pleasure to get to know him.