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American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood Hardcover – October 6, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eliot, biographer of stars ranging from Walt Disney to Bruce Springsteen, tackles the life, career and artistic challenges of Clint Eastwood. In 1954, at age 24, Eastwood was married and working at an Oakland, Calif., gas station when he was brought to Universal by director Arthur Lubin and signed to a learning contract. After years of uncredited appearances and bit parts in B films, he finally got his break when he was cast as Rowdy Yates on CBS's Rawhide, seen for eight seasons (1959–1965). His role as the poncho-clad Man with No Name in Serge Leone's innovative westerns triggered a solid movie career, followed by the popular Dirty Harry series. In 1971, he made his directorial debut (Play Misty for Me) and later racked up multiple nominations and awards, including Oscar wins for directing Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. Updating previous biographies, Eliot analyzes both box-office bombs and successes while also probing the never-ending drama of Eastwood's modus vivendi, his financial empire and his personal relationships. Married twice, Eastwood has seven children by five different women. Although Eastwood did not consent to be interviewed and key sources asked not to be named, Eliot documents a wealth of details in this well-researched, comprehensive biography that will not disappoint Eastwood's fans. (Oct.)
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“The story of a man who goes from small-time jazz pianist and gas-station attendant to Hollywood leading man reads like a rich movie plotline. All the sex, brawls, and gunslinging are here.”

Praise for Reagan: The Hollywood Years

"A fascinating portrait."

"Eliot' s book is poised to provide something interesting: a fresh look at subject matter well worth dusting off. . . . The genesis of Reagan's later public persona is closely charted here."
New York Times

Praise for Jimmy Stewart"It was a wonderful–and long–life, and Eliot . . . covers it all."
USA Today

"Elucidates how a skinny guy with zero sex appeal molded himself into an enduring star."
Entertainment Weekly

"Stewart deserves critical reassessment and a seat closer to the front row of the film pantheon. Eliot makes a solid case for Stewart's merits, and he gives us a decent, eminently likable man."
Hollywood Reporter

Praise for Cary Grant"A fascinating and thorough portrait . . . Eliot does a good job of cracking the screen fantasy."

"Highly readable . . . Glimpses of the debonair leading man's dark side are the most intriguing elements of this welcome biography."
People (three stars)

"Keeping the actor's astonishing career firmly in view, Eliot assembles a portrait that shows the dark shadows behind the gleaming facade, while also revealing Grant' s own shrewdness in maintaining that fictional persona."
Washington Post

Choose Your Own Autobiography
Step right into Neil Patrick Harris's shoes in an exciting, interactive autobiography that places the reader squarely in the driver's seat. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307336883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307336880
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #923,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marc Eliot is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed biography Cary Grant, the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince, and most recently American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood, plus the music biographies Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen, To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles, and Death of a Rebel about Phil Ochs. He has been featured in many documentaries about film and music and has written on the media and popular culture for numerous publications. He divides his time among New York City; Woodstock, New York; and Los Angeles. Visit him at

Customer Reviews

Book is a must read for Eastwood fans.
Robert R. Musser
Although Marc Eliot's book American Rebel takes Eastwood up to present date, we as fans and readers, don't really glean any more insight into Clint Eastwood `the man.'
Michael P. Naughton
To Clint Eastwood the good guy always wins.
Robert C. Olson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Stamper VINE VOICE on November 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Eliot does a good overall job giving us Clint Eastwood the young actor with the struggles and conflicts that future legends must endure to make it. I learned a lot more about Rawhide especially in how the network used his contract to keep him from taking movie work even during hiatus. That struggle led to Clint doing Spaghetti Westerns, something the network figured wouldn't compete with his Rowdy Yates persona. Although Eliot doesn't address it, the reader can surmise that the network conflict gave him an opportunity of a lifetime. Maybe Clint never would have clicked in a conventional Hollywood career.

I had always considered Don Siegel a mentor to Eastwood, and although that is mostly true in Eliot's account, Clint was always itching to direct himself and other than their first pairing it was Clint that chose Siegel rather than the other way around. By their last teaming, they were no longer on the same page and their friendship was hurt as a result.

Eliot also has another contention that I had never heard. Eastwood was resistant to working with other big name actors, especially actresses, because he didn't like to be overshadowed. His pairing with Burt Reynolds was a power struggle between them both and Blake Edwards. Eliot suggests that his all-star cast in UNFORGIVEN was an all-out attempt at Oscar nominations. To me it didn't seem like Clint cared about such things back then making weak efforts like THE ROOKIE, and PINK CADILLAC. But in the last ten years it does seem like nearly every movie is directed squarely at the Academy so maybe Eliot is on to something.

I always heard that Eastwood shoots are lean, but I was surprised at how many movies, even long ones, that he shot in 30 days.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By R. Riis VINE VOICE on October 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The story of Eastwood's personal life is well done, but I would have appreciated more on Eastwood's creative life as an actor and auteur. Most of his groundbreaking 1960s-1970s films receive a few pages of surface details but almost no analysis (Eastwood's or the author's) of his work or the creative process behind it. Surely a whiole book could be written about Eastwood's participation in those early Sergio Leone films. Presumably Eastwood had some thoughts about the characters, the scripts, the cinematic style? How about Eastwood participation in the box-office dud, "Paint Your Wagon"? The film is mentioned almost in passing, but the book's list of Eastwood-related musical recordings omits any reference to Clint's three songs on the soundtrack to the film, and the film is not even included in the book's index. The book is worth reading but it's not the definitive biography I had hoped for.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There is probably not a more iconic Hollywood figure today than Clint Eastwood, nor for that matter is there a more private one. Now, New York Times bestselling author Marc Eliot ( Reagan" The Hollywood Years, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart) to a large degree demystifies Eastwood by putting carefully examining the movies he has had made and his life to date.

As Sondra Locke with whom Eastwood had a 14 year relationship said, "People can know him for years and never be sure of what he's thinking. He's one of the warmest people in the world, but there's a certain distance, a certain mystery to him." Readers will not discover Eastwood's thoughts but much light will be shed on his journey from college dropout/playboy to become one of the most successful and respected men in the film industry. It was a twisted path marked by 2 marriages and 7 children. His romantic liaisons were often with co-stars, and he once said, "There is only one way to have a happy marriage, and as soon as I learn what it is I'll get married again.

He's played many a tough loner and, according to Eliot, Eastwood was tough, hanging out in "seedy bars" and playing jazz piano in his younger days. Little would one think that the tall, lanky fellow who for over 7 years co-starred in TV's Rawhide and churned out spaghetti Westerns would one day be a multiple Academy Award Winner. But, he was and to paraphrase a song he did it his way.


- Gail Cooke
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By My2Cents TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Clint Eastwood has long been a favorite actor of mine, so when I heard about the new biography, I was anxious to read more about this amazing man. Boy did I learn a lot too! Despite the fact that Clint Eastwood was a womanizer, probably a lousy husband and a not very involved father, no one could say that the man did not have talent and that he worked hard to accomplish what he did in his 50 years on screen. Probably one of the most iconic stars in Hollywood, he starred in westerns, thrillers, drama, romance and comedies. Some other interesting facts for me were:

* He was married to just two women: Maggie Johnson (former swimsuit model) from 1953 - 1984) and his present wife Dina Ruiz (a former anchor woman and 35 years younger than him) from 1996 - present.
* He has (7) children from (5) different women: (2) from his first wife, (1) from his present wife, (2) from airline stewardess, Jacelyn Reeves, (2) with Frances Fisher, a British born American actress, and (1) by former exotic dancer Roxanne Tunis.
* He also had a (14 year) relationship with Sondra Locke who starred in several movies with him.
* Nominated for 5 Academy Awards and acted in more than 40 films.

Not wanting to give out too much information about Eastwood and his life, let me just say that, in my opinion, if you are an Eastwood fan and want to find out more details about him and his acting career, this book might be a good biography to start with. My understanding is that Clint Eastwood was not interviewed for this book, so the information contained within came from multiple sources and interviews. I cannot say whether the information is accurate or not since I knew very little about Eastwood prior to reading this book. I liked the book and would RECOMMEND it.
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