BCA Month Salon Beauty Fall Reading Hallo nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Learn more about Amazon Music Unlimited PCB for Musical Instruments $69.99 Handmade Tote Bags hgg17 Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon Baby Driver Available to Rent Baby Driver Available to Rent Baby Driver Available to Rent  Three new members of the Echo family Now shipping All-New Fire HD 10 with Alexa hands-free $149.99 All-New Kindle Oasis South Park Shop Now STEMClubToys17_gno



I read the electronic pre-publication copy of this book compliments of NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are mine.
I initially had no specific expectations about this book. I have read several Wayne bios and assumed that this might be a rehash of the others. To my way of thinking everything worthwhile had been said.
As it turned out, either time had blurred my recollections or Scott Eyman looked at Wayne with a fresh outlook. This was a very good book. It was broken down in three segments that covered Wayne's early life and career, his flush years as an accepted actor and bonified star, and his later years as an iconic old lion. Eyman diverted from earlier biographers by providing a lot of personal information about Wayne the actor and Wayne's personal insecurities. As Eyman readily points out, Wayne spent a good portion of his life trying to please his mother who summarily rejected him in favor of his brother who was four years his junior. By his mother's standards Wayne was incapable of doing anything right. Wayne also was publicly very low key about how he fell into movies, but he wanted to be successful and also wanted to be authentic. His attempts at getting some coaching regarding his acting are funny but also reflect a man who fought his way from the bottom up.
As for Wayne, he was often a case study in contradictions. He wanted to be a good husband and father, but he ended up coming up short in that area. Sadly, he came to the realization that he let his first marriage slip through his hands and was left with plenty of regret.He got into the movies to make money initially as a prop man and film extra.. While he wasn't a trained actor, he worked hard to learn his craft and render a good performance even when he was the king of the cheap western. When he finally had a chance to appear in better films, he continued to learn. Beyond Eyman's top notch research, this book provides a lot of detailed information about making movies on the cheap. Not surprisingly, once Wayne achieved success he would have gladly forgotten the B movies and the many years he spent making them.
This book also covers Wayne's three marriages, his familial relationships, and his conservative outlook which extended to politics.
It is also rich with a lot of anecdotes by way of family, friends, and Wayne himself. Among the greatest revelation in this book covers Wayne's relationship with Marlene Dietrich. Beyond the three films they made together, they had a sexual relationship that lasted longer than their films together with Dietrich in hot pursuit. It was Dietrich who in many ways put Wayne on the road to financial success and stability by getting Wayne to change management which was a complete game changer for Wayne.
This book does a commendable job when it comes to looking at Wayne's movie performances which evolved over the years and also defines the nature of Wayne's friendships with people like Harry Carey and John Ford. As for myself, this book was a fluid reading experience. This book moved quickly because I was never bored. It maintained its initial momentum throughout.
I found myself in the end having more respect for Wayne the man and Wayne the actor. Had I had the opportunity to meet him I don't necessarily think I would have wormed out of him the secret(s) to his successful run as an actor but I think I would have liked him because he wasn't full of himself and didn't seem to have much of an ego for someone who made it big after years of really working hard.
Well written and exactingly researched, I think this book manages to redefine Wayne for a new generation of fans and adds to his legend.
88 comments| 173 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 18, 2014
This book has to be the definitive biography of John Wayne. All of Wayne's movies, marriages, affairs, friends, and enemies receive amble coverage. The author has done an exhaustive amount of interviews with family, friend, and foe, which leaves no part of Wayne's personal or professional life unturned.

The book examines how Wayne's early life and the ten years spent making serial movie westerns for very little money shaped his character, work ethic, political beliefs, and his views on the movie industry. All of Wayne's films after Stagecoach are covered with the author providing the backstory about how the films were put together along with his relationships with directors, actors, and crews during filming. The in-depth stories about the financing of his films, the creation of his production company, Batjac, and how it survived the hard times especially the huge loss incurred making "The Alamo".

An interesting part of the book was Wayne's predictions, in 1970, about the future of pay-TV and movie industry because he got the smallest details correct. His insight that foresaw HBO being the future of TV was remarkable since it was five years before HBO aired its first movie.

If the reader is old enough to remember Wayne's death, Eyman plays on those feelings with the account of the suffering Wayne endured during the last month of his life.The chapter brought back the sadness of hearing about his death.

There have been a number of biographies written about Wayne during the past fifteen years but this book is the best without a close runner-up. The other books suffer from authors with pre-formed attitudes, inadequate research, and attacking Wayne to increase book sales.

In an odd sense, John Wayne has the same problem as Wyatt Earp in that both were so good and straight forth in their lives that many people feel the need to attack them.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This book is the finest bio of one of the most iconic actors in the existence of film. John Wayne has to many people, become a cliche: Western movie star, Action movie star, Conservative Republican spokesperson, American citizen. And much more. Too often Wayne has simply been tagged a dinosaur and untalented Hollywood product created by the press agents of the studios for which he worked. This book at last rips those undeserved labels from the man and goes on to reveal an intelligent and patriotic man who was a working actor who wanted to do his best in any role he into which he was cast. We also learn about the human side of the man, Marion Morrison, who became "The Duke" to all his friends. A family man who for forty years derided himself for destroying his first marriage through letting Hollywood overtake his self image, attitude, and sense of duty and obligation. Wayne's attempts to serve the nation in WWII are brought to light for the first time in terms we can understand. And the courage he had as he faced his own death is described with clarity and sensitivity. The book is excellent, and helps us understand how, even thirty five years after his death, Wayne movies can still draw old fans and win new ones!
The author does an exceptional job in a well researched and presented text. He also points out the reason for the success of the actor: In a career of over forty years, Wayne excelled at playing John Wayne, and convincing the fans he was the guy on the screen! He was much more than that , and more importantly (but little realized by many), he was also much less than that! Read this book if you have EVER enjoyed a John Wayne motion picture, but more so, if you have ever felt Wayne was a flat, cardboard, stereotype. This book deserves a wide audience.
Amazon delivered my copy in the usual timely nature in excellent condition. And the author delivered the goods on Wayne!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 12, 2014
I have been a John Wayne fan for twenty years (that’s half my life as I am now 40). John Wayne: The Life and Legend brings great insight into his immense life, 40+ year movie career, and his enormous personality, with details backed by extensive notes and bibliography. I loved learning about his family life and friends; directors – those that he liked and those that he disliked; and the long journey of his career from prop man, to B Westerns, to American icon. As an avid fan of classic film, I also enjoyed the details of the movie business, but best of all were the insights offered by those who knew and worked with John Wayne, especially Harry Carey, Jr., Michael Wayne, Gretchen Wayne, and Maureen O’Hara.

One thing that stands out to me about Wayne’s personality is that he could appreciate the work of actors (and directors for that matter) who differed politically… in Brando’s autobiography - Brando: Songs my Mother Taught Me - he states that “John Wayne probably did more damage than General Custer ever did to the Indians, projecting an idiotic image of a brave white man battling the godless savages of the frontier” ( p. 385), which is a naïve fantasy in the land of Brando (and he neglected to throw in John Ford as the instigator - ha ha!). John Wayne on the other hand praises Brando as a great actor, “Marlon Brando was just great… his attitude was what made it” (p. 483, about The Godfather). These two men could not have been further apart in personality, politics or acting style. John Wayne, or Duke Morrison, I should say, is a far more tolerant, intelligent, and kind person than today’s critics, or his political opposites might have us believe.

The last chapter (of the book and of his life) was truly sad. But a line from earlier in the book crossed my mind while reading the last chapter… from Tall in the Saddle (p. 147), “I like grumpy old cusses; Hope to live long enough to be one.” A life lived to the fullest and leaving generations with memorable images and great entertainment!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 2, 2014
Scott Eyman did a credible job in "John Wayne: The Life and Legend." The book focuses on the man who was born Marion Michael Morrison and became movie star John Wayne. The first portion of the book focuses on the difficult childhood young Morrison lived. Essentially rejected by his mother and living in poverty with his father, the young man learned the value of both accomplishment and of money.

Morrison goes on to USC to play football and become a pretty good student. He suffers an injury and hasn't the money to finish college. He gets a job as a stage hand on a movie lot, and the story of "John Wayne" begins.

The early crux of the story is John Ford. The great, alcoholic driven director finds and mentors young Morrison. They have a 35 year relationship- father/son, mentor/student -all the way to superstar/fading director. But one thing never waivers. John Wayne is and remains devoted to John Ford.

As John Wayne becomes an actor, then grows into a good one, we see his maturity as a man as well. He is flawed, like all men. He tries, as he often says, to be as good a man as his character becomes in the "John Wayne" films. To him, his one great flaw is World War II. He is found physically unfit to serve and his continual attempts at alternate service hit a stone wall. His failure to participate in World War II haunted him his entire life. It had an effect on his later judgements.His unwavering support for the debacle in Vietnam-including the disaster that was "The Green Berets" was the direct result of his World War II experience.

But that is not the whole story. Eyman contends, with strong support, that John Wayne was a far better actor than he was ever give credit for. Citing "Stagecoach", "The Searchers" ,"Red River" and "Liberty Valance" as examples- Eyman argues that Wayne had more range and more depth in these performances than most people- and many film critics ever understood.

This is a balanced book. Eyman cites the good and the not so good about his subject. Still, after reading it, you end up admiring the type of man John Wayne was, even if you do not agree with all of his choices.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 19, 2017
This is a very detailed book on the life of John Wayne. Given that the media of his era was much more controlled than today (i.e. no internet), reading a book like this is one of the only ways we can learn about the man Duke Morrison really was.
The only negative in my view--and not a big one--is that this book, well over 600 pages, could probably have been shortened. While I understand what the author was attempting to do, there is a lot of information and detail that can distract the reader from the narrative. At times, the book goes in another direction about the history of the movie industry and other films, actors, etc. It's personal taste, but 50-75 pages probably could have been trimmed.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 22, 2014
Much of the facts we know about this great, understated "re-actor" have been known for some time by those who know about the complexity of Marion Morrison, and how he endeavored to create the character "John Wayne" in a manner almost suggestive of someone who understood the value of a symbol, a film archetype, and then worked hard to embody it.

The real life "Duke," his genuine name applied to a little boy who did not adore the name "Marion," would barely turn his head if someone called him John. Eyman, however, compiles this information into a swift read bred in great sentence structure that creates a cinematic read; I would pare it with Dan Barden's novel: "John Wayne: a Novel," which also reveals how deeply invested the actor was in creation.

As mentioned, John Wayne referred to himself as a "reactor," and the description is apt. When you see him in "Red River," or falling down drunk in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence," or playing the low notes of Ethan Edwards's in "The Searchers," and, arguably, merely being "Duke" in "Hatari," Wayne is consistently natural and understated. He throws away many of his lines and captures something of the cadences of life by moving toward something closer to the goals of Stanislavky's method, without performing method and without ever looking as though he is making choices, which he is. There is seldom scenery chewing; when he is great, he merely is in the moment.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 21, 2017
I AM A HUGE JOHN WAYNE FAN. I LOVED READING THIS BOOK. IT IS A OUTSTANDING DETAILED ACCOUNT OF JOHN WAYNE'S LIFE FROM BIRTH TO DEATH. A VERY INTERESTING READ, I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. THE AUTHOR NAILED IT! AFTER READING THIS BOOK, I DO NOT BELIEVE JOHN WAYNE WAS A RACIST IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. HE WAS A MAN'S MAN WHO MADE SOME OF THE BEST MOVIES EVER PRODUCED. JOHN WAYNE WAS A TRUE AMERICAN AND MY MOST FAVORITE ACTOR OF ALL TIMES! IF YOU ARE A JOHN WAYNE FAN, THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 11, 2017
I never caedr for him before but I never really took the time to know the man. I do how ever like to read biographies about everyone, even if they are not on the top of my list. But after reading this very detailed story about John Wayne I have found a very fond respect for him. The book is very easy to read. Has a lot of information not just about Mr Wayne but of everyone that touched his life. I love that era of movie and stars so it was a bonus for me to get details about other actors and addresses. A must read , you won't be disappointed at all 😁😁😁
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 25, 2017
Not really sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book other than an outline of the Duke's life. What I got was the Duke plus some insights into many other film industry people and the industry itself. I have some lasting impressions of the complexity of the person and persona of John Wayne and a quote or two that I can carry into a conversation. This book is well worth the read for a movie industry historian, but especially for fans of this man who in many ways was, and is, American attitude personified.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse