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Publisher's Summary

John Wayne was one of Hollywood's most famous and most successful actors, but he was more than that. He became a symbol of America itself. He epitomized the Western film, which for many people epitomized America. He identified with conservative political causes from the early 1930s to his death in 1979, making him a hero to one generation of Americans and a villain to another. But unlike fellow actor Ronald Reagan, Wayne had no interest in politics as a career. Like many stars, he altered his life story, claiming to have become an actor almost by accident when in fact he had studied drama and aspired to act for most of his youth. He married three times, all to Latina women, and conducted a lengthy affair with Marlene Dietrich, as unlikely a romantic partner as one could imagine for the Duke. Wayne projected dignity, integrity, and strength in all his films, even when his characters were flawed, and whatever character he played was always prepared to confront injustice in his own way. More than 30 years after his death, he remains the standard by which male stars are judged and an actor whose morally unambiguous films continue to attract sizeable audiences.
Scott Eyman interviewed Wayne, as well as many family members, and he has drawn on previously unpublished reminiscences from friends and associates of the Duke in this biography, as well as documents from his production company that shed light on Wayne's business affairs. He traces Wayne from his childhood to his stardom in Stagecoach and dozens of films after that. Eyman perceptively analyzes Wayne's relationship with John Ford, the director with whom he's most associated and who made some of Wayne's greatest films.
Wayne was self-aware. He once said, "I’ve played the kind of man I’d like to have been." It's that man and the real John Wayne who are brilliantly profiled in Scott Eyman's insightful biography of a true American legend.
©2014 Scott Eyman (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jack Merritt on 11-11-14

A long but interesting book

There are very few people that I would spend 26 hours listening about their life, however, John Wayne is one of them. The story talks about thousands of different conversations Wayne had in an attempt to let us know the real John Wayne. I was happy that it didn't pull punches about his faults. He was a bad husband and a bad investor, but a good father, great actor and loyal friend. The story points out mannerisms that we all know which I had thought where natural that were calculated. His political views were far to the right and often painfully blunt but I am not sure that they were not part of his persona. He played by a set of rules that he learned at a young age and was reluctant to move from them as he aged. He was, like many actors of his time, a big teenager, always living a very fast paced lifestyle of hard drinking and hard living. Yet I was very impressed that he found time for his children. He was cultured playing chess frequently and reading poetry but kept that under wraps to protect his image.

The book held my attention throughout and I still admired Wayne after I was finished.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Bert Byers on 11-08-14

If you loved the "Duke," you'll love this book

Where does John Wayne rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Is definitely one of the best. I know of and saw most of the movies. The author takes you back stage and tells you about the making of the blockbusters and those not so. Students of the film industry should be required to read this book. You are constantly being told how much a movie made ($) and the back stories about where it was made.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This is naturally all about John Wayne. From "Stagecoach" to the "Shootist" you learn so many things you did not know before you wonder if you should be taking notes for the inevitable quiz tomorrow.

What about John McLain’s performance did you like?

I think this is the first book I've listened to by McLain and he easily slips into a Wayne sounding voice without overdoing it. I wouldn't hesitate to listen to another book voiced by McLain.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were several such moments but I don't mean to give anything away, but John Wayne dies and Scott Eyman writes about that event like he was there. Throughout the book he writes like he was there at major events in the "Duke's" life.

Any additional comments?

Eyman does not write a love story. There are times you may dislike John Wayne for what he did or how he reacted to something but as you listen you sense what you are hearing is the truth. I cried when he died. I cried again when he died in his book, John Wayne: The Life and Legend.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Brendamo on 01-14-15


Would you consider the audio edition of John Wayne to be better than the print version?

I would imagine the audio book to be better as the narrator did a very reasonable impression of john wayne.

What other book might you compare John Wayne to, and why?

Cant really think of any other book to compare it with, as john wayne was a one off.

What does John McLain bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He really did sound like John Wayne which i found made this book much more entertaining.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes I would have quite happily listened to the whole story all in one sitting as I really enjoyed it.

Any additional comments?

Was'nt too sure about buying this book as I was'nt a huge fan of his but I am glad i did! I really enjoyed listening to John Mclains narration.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mr. Ronald Baird on 04-16-15

Superb story of the great American Actor John Wayn

Written with great clarity, the Life of a john Wayne will resound, down through the ages. His humanity and kindness will endure.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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