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John Waynes America Paperback – March 2, 1998
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Dennis McLellan Los Angeles Times A stunning book...essential reading for anyone interested in Wayne and popular culture.
Molly Haskell The New York Times Book Review I hope this new book will find its way into the hands of those who are ready to think seriously about a pivotal figure in our culture, a figure who was a great star and a flawed man.
Mark Feener The Boston Globe No one has ever written better about the cultural ideology of John Wayne's career than Garry Willis does here.
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Top Customer Reviews
First, there is Wayne the person, the man. Wills doesn't devote much space to this level, though the book's subtitle, i.e. "The Politics of Celebrity", might suggest otherwise. Very little is presented of Wayne's personal life or controversial political stances. Most of what is presented are efforts to either debunk popular fictions from the early years, or to pass along opinions of others, which about the man are usually unflattering, (Ford's disapproval of Wayne's lack of war service). Clearly the author believes Wayne's mythic status comes from the screen and not from the private individual.
The second level is Wayne the actor, the commanding screen presence. Despite many insights along the way, Wills falters badly by spending way too much time on seemingly irrelevant details of John Ford's personality and film style, many of which (the diagrams of seating arrangements in "Stagecoach", for example), shed no light on Wayne the actor.Read more ›
My favorite parts of the book were those that dealt with the mythmaking that went into the creation of "John Wayne," the symbol of everything best about America and those dealing with his films and relationship with John Ford. Although extreme fans of Wayne may be somewhat offended by some parts of the book (e.g., Wayne's stringent avoidance of military service in WW II and the misinformation about his early life, such as his being a potential football star felled by an injury, when in fact he was dismissed from the USC football team for not being very good), I think everyone will come away from it having a better sense not only Wayne's shortcomings but his very real accomplishments. A fine book in every way.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wildly distorted "hit piece." Another Lefty cheery-picking sources to beat his own ideological drum.
Nothing more than that.
To anyone who loves The Duke, but is honestly curious and rigorous about history: BUY. THIS. BOOK.Published on July 15, 2014 by Tanner the Seeker
It is not a true biography of the man, but rather focuses on the establishment of his screen image. It also relates a lot of very interesting information about the art of making... Read morePublished on August 3, 2013 by Person One
THIS IS THE WORST BOOK IVE READ IN YEARS. GARRY WILLS BABBLES ON AND ON AND ON. DONT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY ON THIS P.O.S. Read morePublished on January 9, 2008 by kevin clement
Anyone seriously interested in John Wayne's position as America's icon needs to read this book, which is filled with information about the making of his films and the evolution of... Read morePublished on June 17, 2006 by moose/squirrel
I enjoyed the book to some extent but I have a few problems with it. Too often I get the feeling that Wills is driving a tack with a sledge hammer. Read morePublished on March 6, 2006 by Ernie Wild