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The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler Hardcover – March 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 444 pages
  • Publisher: BMC Publications; 1st edition (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970167814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970167811
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #962,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best book yet about Nevada's famous dude-divorce ranch business."
-- Nevada Historical Society, Reno

"Delightful reading about bygone times and glamorous people...a valuable history of a unique epoch of the West."
-- Barnaby Conrad, author, Matador

"The dude ranch culture seems now like part of a bygone culture. It feels like a past more colorful than the present (but most everything is these days). I can't think of it now without envisioning Clark Gable meeting a new divorcée or two beneath the tall pines, and romance developing. It was a special culture where marriages ended and new romances began. Maybe today no one needs to get away to get divorced; they just divorce. But certainly Nevada as a place to split, is a legend of our time."
-- Charles Champlin, former film critic and Arts Editor of the Los Angeles Times

"One of the most remarkable cultural times in the American West...and helped to define the West."
-- Andria Daley, National Trust for Historic Preservation


From COWBOYS & INDIANS
"Divorce Western-Style One thing we can always be sure of, the West is full of fascinating, little nugget-like niches and unusual stories. Given that, former dude ranch wrangler Bill McGee may have written the ultimate Western kiss-and-tell book in his and Sandra McGee s recently released The Divorce Seekers A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler. The title alone is enough to make you pick this hefty volume up, but the fact that this is a firsthand account by someone who saw that epic era of the six-week Reno divorce makes this book tough to put down....McGee had a front row seat during his years working at the Flying M.E., an exclusive dude ranch south of Reno that catered to wealthy Easterners and the occasional titled European or Hollywood celebrity many of whom were seeking a quick cure from their matrimonial bonds. Yikes! Everyone from Clark Gable to Frank Sinatra as well as Eleanor Roosevelt shows up in this page-turner."
-- William C. Reynolds, April 2005 --Cowboys & Indians Magazine

From LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Getting Reno-vated - From 1931 to the early 1960s, Reno, NV, with its six-week residency requirement, reigned as the quickie divorce capital of America. William McGee, born on a Montana ranch, landed a job as wrangler at the renowned Flying M E dude ranch in Washoe Valley in 1947. Much of his job was taking the divorce-seeking ladies out riding the Nevada mountain trails to lift their spirits. (If one of his charges, carried away by the mountain air and her impending freedom, made a pass at the young cowboy, well, he was only human.) The book is filled with candid shots of East Coast women with names like Rockefeller or Roosevelt or du Pont modeling their crisp, new Levis and silver belt buckles. And inserted period press coverage turns up visiting stars like Rita Hayworth going native. The real star of this scrapbook/memoir, however, is the longtime owner of the Flying M E ranch, Emily Pentz Wood, who entertained, even mothered her wealthy clientele of "six weekers" for more than three decades. Though it is put together rather patchily, this casual, heartfelt history of the Nevada divorce ranch era is a fascinating social document spangled with many of the period's socialites and movie stars at their most vulnerable. With a handy Reno divorce glossary, it is recommended for social history collections."
-- Nathan Ward, March 1, 2004 --Library Journal

About the Author

William L. McGee (1925- ) was born and raised on a ranch in Montana. At 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific theater from 1942 to 1946. After the war, he returned to cowboying and worked as a dude wrangler on an exclusive Nevada divorce ranch south of Reno that catered to wealthy divorce seekers who came to Reno for a six week divorce. In 1950, Mr. McGee left cowboying and made a successful transition into the film, radio and TV industry. In 1971, he launched Broadcast Marketing Corporation ("BMC"), a consulting and publishing company. Under the imprint "BMC Publications", he authored numerous sales guidebooks for the broadcasting industry. Mr. McGee is a member of Broadcast Legends and Western Writers of America. He appears in two special features produced for 20th Century Fox for the re-release on DVD of the 1939 film, CHARLIE CHAN IN RENO.


Sandra McGee is a former publicist for the performing arts. She is a member of Western Writers of America. 


Books by William L. McGee

-Bluejacket Odyssey, 1942-1946: Guadalcanal to Bikini, Naval Armed Guard in the Pacific

-Vol. I, The Amphibians Are Coming! Emergence of the Gator Navy and its Revolutionary Landing Craft

-Vol. II, The Solomons Campaigns, 1942-1943: From Guadalcanal to Bougainville, Pacific War Turning Point

 

Books by William L. McGee and Sandra McGee

-Vol. III, Pacific Express: The Critical Role of Military Logistics in World War II

-The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler

-Learning To Cope With Sight Loss: Six Weeks at a VA Blind Rehabilitation Center (Booklet and Audio CD formats)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
78%
4 star
11%
3 star
11%
2 star
0%
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See all 9 customer reviews
This is definitely a worthwhile read and a great coffee table book!
D. Geraghty
I hope so, anyway, because I can't imagine one individual having the misfortune of meeting so many people who talk like characters in badly written fiction.
Patricia Lamprey
The old days of the romantic Nevada dude ranch unfold in a format reminiscent of "The Love Boat".
Lucie Newton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Lamprey on March 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
McGee discussing a fascinating era in our social history, and I'm happy to see some sort of documentation of the period, but I felt that there were some things that detract from the enjoyment of the book.
One is the pictures. The quality of many is very poor, and very rarely is the reproduction good. I know the pictures are old, but lots of them are very hard to make out. More distracting is the fact that they are often not closely related to the text. It often seemed as though McGee found a bunch of old pictures and felt he had to use all of them regardless of their quality or relation to his text. And maybe he was given a quota of solid text pages? I suppose some of the pictures are supposed to be representative, but they're often many years (as many as 80) off from events in the text and frequently of people who don't figure in the text at all (just a bunch of folks around a generic craps table in Reno, for instance, or little tiny horseback riders off in the distance). At first, I'd read the captions trying to figure out how the pictures related to what I just read. I finally gave up and started just glancing at the caption to see IF the picture related.
More disturbing is the change in writing style from section to section. The author does best when he's doing straight reporting. He's much less successful at dialog. I doubt that anyone would remember conversations in as much as much detail as McGee puts on paper, so I'm surmising that he's creating dialog that gives the sense of the conversation rather than reporting verbatim. I hope so, anyway, because I can't imagine one individual having the misfortune of meeting so many people who talk like characters in badly written fiction.
Worse than the general dialog is the dialog in the sex scenes.
Read more ›
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "watsonja" on April 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Half a century old and I've only lived one year west of the Mississippi, yet the West still seduces me! Cowboys and log cabins, railroads and dude ranches... To find a book brimming with stories and photographs of no-names and celebrities on a Nevada divorce ranch in the 1940's, that was a nostalgia trip; then to read the deeper lines of a hundred romances lost and found, that was a serious journey into the evolving role of women. If only I had a family room with a roaring fireplace, THE DIVORCE SEEKERS would be one of a half dozen books strewn generously across the coffee table. Instead, this intriguing volume invites people in my waiting area at work to reminisce, to feel, to laugh. Sometimes they look like little birds, circling, chirping and pointing toward this picture or that. You'd think they found the last worm on earth!
Jeff Watson
Washington, D.C. (USA)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Geraghty on November 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you love history, Clark Gable, Ava Gardner and cowboys, this book is for you. Being from Minnesota and working at Lake Tahoe in the mid-70's and now being a resident of Reno, I found this book to be a lot more than it's title indicates. Yes, the Reno area was known for being the Divorce Capital of the World, but Bill McGee takes the reader into the back mountains of the Sierras, into the world of New York socialites settling in Virginia City and into what must have been a unique place to live and work - the Flying ME Ranch. The Flying ME was located in what I think is one of the most beautiful spots in Northern Nevada today - Franktown. Even before I knew of the dude ranch, this spot between Carson City and Reno is one of beautiful ranches with white picket fences, Ponderosa Pines and mountain views second to none.

Bill and Sandra take the reader back to a time that was unique and one that will probably never exist again. The photography is wonderful and probably tells a story all by itself.

This is definitely a worthwhile read and a great coffee table book!

D. Geraghty

Reno, Nevada
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Clark Arthur Williams on November 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
THE DIVORCE SEEKERS has all the potential for a good film...a great setting in 1940s Nevada, interesting characters, cowboys, beautiful and intelligent women, a little-known social epoch, and terrific story potential for conflict, love interest and resolution.

A great reflection on the 'not so long ago' good old days.
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Format: Hardcover
The McGees have pulled together a remarkable historic and pictoral event in Nevada history. Nevada's easy divorce laws attracted the rich and famous to well known Divorce Ranches, complete with horses and swimming pools. Bill McGee was a wrangler at one of the better known "ranches". McGee introduced divorcees to horses and the spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountains. As the daughter of a former owner of one of the nearby smaller divorce sites (we didn't offer horses or a pool), I was impressed with the results of the McGee's research. Many of the photos have not been produced before; they interviewed many of the ranch's former "guests" and provided information not available earlier. This book is truly a collector's item. The Divorce Ranch years brought many new residents from the East who subsequently enriched northern Nevada's cultural community. Before the McGee's this Nevada saga was largely overlooked.
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