- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (March 2, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684838834
- ISBN-13: 978-0684838830
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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John Waynes America Paperback – March 2, 1998
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Steve Neal Chicago Sun Times A fascinating and insightful study about the making of an American myth. Of more than a dozen books about Wayne, John Wayne's America is by far the best; it is a fresh and original interpretation of his film career and of his impact on American culture.
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.
About the Author
Garry Wills, the author of eighteen books, lives in Evanston, Illinois, and teaches at Northwestern University.
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Originally, I felt that a 3 star rating would be appropriate for the text, however, his conclusion chapter proved to be one of the most important passages I have read regarding American culture and history. Throughout his text, he traces Wayne's character as a reflection of various cultural virtues and values. From the way he walked to his refusal to shoot a man in the back in movies, John Wayne was the man Americans wanted to see their country embodied by. In the end chapter, he elegantly summarizes the significance of the frontier myth and its cultural legacy that he emphasizes is still pressing today. In doing so, he takes the whole narrative of John Wayne's legacy and mythic status that he presents in the bulk of the text and demonstrates how his mythology fits into the survival and prominence of the frontier myth that defines American culture.
Overall the author presents a largely readable and intelligent analysis of Wayne's momentous career and masterfully elaborates on a greater importance to Wayne's lifetime of accomplishment and influence.
I also disagree with Will's accessment of some of the "important" films in Wayne's career. "Big Jake" was just another "let's crank out a John Wayner" in my opinion. The familiar tension with the female lead that we usually saw with Wayne, a mundane plot, and Richard Boone's portrayl of the villain is so bad it borders on parody. And "Rio Bravo". Critics of Wayne's films seem to love this movie for some reason. It is by far the best of the later Hawks movies. But that isn't saying much. It's an okay movie but that's all. On the other hand I was pleased to see Wills give some ink to "Tall in the Saddle". It amazes me how many so-called John Wayne fans I have encountered who aren't familiar with this film. This is more or less an extended "B" movie but it was well filmed and just plain fun to watch. It was important to the development of Wayne as Wills points out. This book is a good read but could have been a lot better. It's very thick in the middle and very thin at the end.
Most recent customer reviews
Nothing more than that.