Duke: The Life and Image of John Wayne
Almost two decades after his death, John Wayne is still America’s favorite movie star. More than an actor, Wayne is a cultural icon whose stature seems to grow with the passage of time. In this illuminating biography, Ronald L. Davis focuses on Wayne’s human side, portraying a complex personality defined by frailty and insecurity as well as by courage and strength.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 15th 2001 by University of Oklahoma Press
(first published March 1st 1998)
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This appears to be a pretty even-handed biography of perhaps America’s most famous 20th-century icon. I found it interesting and fast paced throughout. You’ll read about John Wayne’s unfortunate childhood in Iowa and California, his parents’ marital problems, his mother’s failure to make him feel loved and appreciated, and his closeness to his father as a result, his aborted football career, and his eventual rise to not merely stardom but to literally representing what America means to tens of m...more
The author says he wants to portray Wayne's significance to the country and culture more than the movies, but he doesn't really do that which suited me fine. It's about the man and the movies--and movies were pretty much all he did. Davis does a good job of portraying a deep guy whose sincerity could disarm just about anybody (except his wives).