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John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  171 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
No legend ever walked taller than Hollywood icon John Wayne. Now, author Michael Munn's startling new biography sets the record straight on why Wayne didn't serve in World War II, on director John Ford's contribution to Wayne's career, and the mega-star's highs and lows: three failed marriages, and two desperate battles with cancer. Munn also discloses publicly, for the fi ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by New American Library (first published June 28th 2003)
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May 21, 2008 Chelsea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having grown up with John Wayne movies always in my home, there was a place in my heart for this man. But after reading the wonderful book, I have an entirely new respect for him. It was well written and I believe, as accurate as they come. Most of it was straight from John Wayne's mouth and from those closest to him. He told the story wonderfully.
TR Jensen
While reading a review of True Grit by a friend today, she said she hadn't seen the John Wayne version. Well, that reminded me that I am a big John Wayne fan and grew up watching his movies. Then I remembers that I read this book last year and was way behind on my reviews. So.

Sometimes you don't want to know so much about the stars you grew up idolizing and wanting to be like. I guess it was his characters that I liked so much. Stoic, bold, honest, willing to stand up when everyone else runs fo
Jul 21, 2015 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, film
Truth be told, I've never been much of a John Wayne fan. I own hundreds of movies on DVD, and none of them feature Wayne. However, reading David Morrell's essay "John Wayne: The Westerns" made me realize that Wayne's persona and fifty-year career are quite fascinating in and of themselves. You don't have to be a fan to appreciate that John Wayne was a one-of-a-kind. A legend.
Biographies of celebrities are difficult because each reader is likely to enjoy a different sort of emphasis and level of
Anthony Taylor
Feb 12, 2009 Anthony Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good biography of the iconic actor. It is distinguished from many other biographies by the majority of the book being constructed of direct quotes from colleagues, friends and family rather than interpretations and paraphrases of quotes. This adds more wait to the subject matter and gives a more complete portrait of the man. In addition to this the author managed to conduct a candid interview with Duke in the early 1970's that clearly demonstrates how the actor felt about key events in hi ...more
Andy Hickman
Jan 11, 2016 Andy Hickman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Munn, 'John Wayne: The Man Behind The Myth' (London: Robson, 2004).

In a dramatic opening Munn rebukes the critics who savaged John (Duke) Wayne's 'The Alamo' (1960) by quoting Laurence Olivier saying, “Critics, laddie, know #### all!” (p.ix)

Two things make this biography different from many others. Firstly, Duke wanted Munn to write his biography and gave him personal interviews and many contacts to follow up. Secondly, Munn describes in detail the communist conspiracy to kill Wayne as o
Mar 06, 2013 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2013
An admirable and objective biography, a quick and easy read, perfect for a movie lover or a Duke lover. Munn makes no secret of his admiration for JW but presents potentially unflattering details in a fair light. A loving portrait fairly told. I loved it and will likely read it again.
Feb 19, 2009 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If your heroes are flawless don't read this book.

Wayne's "clear-cut sense of right an wrong" on screen didn't always find it's way off screen. If you can accept that you'll enjoy the book for the insights, highlights and trivia it offers on Wayne and his movies.
Sep 01, 2011 Gayle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. If anyone is a fan of John Wayne, this would be the biography to read. It goes into details and stories about the Duke that haven't been told anywhere else. Just a little hint, assassins.
Nov 18, 2010 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Well-written biography of Duke Wayne. While Wayne was what he was on the big screen, he was much much more--and much much less. Munn's book shows the human frailties and the heroic qualities of America's movie star.
Jeff Carpenter
Aug 25, 2010 Jeff Carpenter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-cinema
Discusses many aspects of Wayne the man and the career. Included are the 2 battles with cancer, his marriages, and the contribution that John Ford made to the Duke's career. Great reading for Duke fans.
May 29, 2014 McKayla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
My dad would watch a John Wayne western eveytime it was on TV. You could count on some channels even having a John Wayne weekend. I don't have cable so I am not sure if that is still a thing. We even bonded over the comical aspects of Rio Bravo. That was all I knew of the legend, just what my dad would watch over and over again. The only thing that drew me in was that Stalin tried to have him killed. Then the Chinese followed by the Vietnamese. An interest read to say the least.
Jan 08, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of biographies and was really excited to read this John Wayne book. This one had some great facts and gave some new information I hadn't known about. However, this may be the slowest book I've ever read about someone famous. It delves heavily into each director, actor, and stuntman Wayne has ever worked with. Although it begins with insight into his films, the details dragged on and I found it to be a chore to finish. Just depends what you are looking for in a biography. I prefer a ...more
Matthew Dambro
Nov 16, 2015 Matthew Dambro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good biography but not as comprehensive as Roberts and Olson's John Wayne: American.
Don Halpert
Apr 20, 2014 Don Halpert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great biography of John Wayne. Worth the read. I learned a lot about the great man.
Mar 09, 2015 Jayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book for the John Wayne fan. Also, a quick read.
Apr 03, 2016 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
The Cult of the Duke lives on. A light read full of gossip and movie lore. Adoring, reverent, one dimensional, popcorn fun; not to be taken too seriously but still full of interesting details re: the studio system and Wayne's hard stand against communism, peppered with plenty of Wayne's salty quotes - yet one has the feeling that there is a "real" book here that has been sacrificed at the fan-boy's altar.
Aug 15, 2013 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Interesting background on the man, the movies he made, the people he worked with. Munn used interviews with Duke and family and fellow movie business people to write a book that was interesting without being gossipy and trite. If you're looking for a tell-all or inside gossip, this isn't the book.
Jeff Wombold
Nov 11, 2014 Jeff Wombold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book cleared up a lot of myths that I always heard about John Wayne. A very interesting read about a true American icon. It's a shame that the one thing he's always wanted to do, he never got a chance to; if you want to know what that is, read the book.
James stone
Jan 20, 2013 James stone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, fun
This book is not for those who have put duke on a pedestel, but rather for those who want to know the actual john wayne. This book doesn't hide his warts, but shows his bad choices and reasons for them. I highly recommend this book for all real wayne fans.
Dwight Ternes
This was more a book about John Wayne's relationship w/ Directors and fellow actors, not necessarily about the man and his personal life. Was an OK book, but will not really change your opinion about Wayne based on what is was before reading this.
Aug 13, 2008 Selma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Living Legend and American Hero! His films said it all about his Character. Too bad his personal life wasn't alway happy. I enjoy "The Quiet Man" and "True Grit" the best!
Dec 15, 2009 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Wayne attacked by commies! truth is better than fiction!
Brian Thompson
Good bio on a great actor
Louise Carlson Stowell
Louise Carlson Stowell marked it as to-read
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Jul 25, 2016
Drew rated it it was ok
Jul 25, 2016
Rob Aiken
Rob Aiken rated it liked it
Jul 14, 2016
Julianna marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2016
Emma Dargue
Emma Dargue marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2016
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Jun 23, 2016
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