A reviewer in "True West Magazine" recently said, 'One thing is certain: as long as there are writers as skilful as Elmer Kelton, Western literature will never die'. Few would disagree with this assessment of the man whose peers voted him the 'Best Western Writer of all time' and whose fifty novels form a testament and tribute to the American West. But who is this bespectacled Texas gentleman with the white Stetson and rimless eyeglasses whose friendly face appears on so many book jackets? "Sandhills Boy" is Kelton's memoir, a funny and poignant story of 'a freckle-faced country boy, green as a gourd, a sheep ready to be sheared', growing up in the wild, dry, sandhills of West Texas. The son of a working cowboy and ranch foreman, Elmer was expected to follow in his father's footsteps but learned at an early age that he had no talents in the cowboy's trade. Buck Kelton said Elmer was 'slow as the seven-year itch', and reluctantly supported his son's decision to become a student at the University of Texas, and, eventually, a journalist and writer.
Kelton writes with great feeling of his service in WWII in France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia, and the romantic circumstances which changed his life in the village of Ebensee, Austria. His life in ranch and oil patch Texas during the Great Depression is told with warm nostalgic humour animated with stories of the cowboys - and their wives and children - who gave the time and place its special flavour.
Elmer Kelton of San Angelo, Texas, a native Texan, was author of 50 Western novels and several nonfiction books. Among his best-selling books are The Day the Cowboys Quit, The Time It Never Rained, and the Good Old Boys. He was recognized with countless awards for his work and was honored as the Greatest Western Writer of All Time by the 600-member Western Writers of America, Inc. Mr. Kelton died in August, 2009, at age 83.