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Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  44 reviews
John Ford and John Wayne were two titans of classic film and made some of the most enduring movies of all time. The genre they defined--the Western--still matters today.
For over twenty years John Ford and John Wayne were a blockbuster Hollywood team, turning out many of the finest Western films ever made. Ford, a son of Irish immigrants known for his black eye patch and f
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Nan A. Talese
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Start your review of Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero
"I played the kind of man I'd like to have been." John Wayne

What a crazy iconic pair......John Wayne and John Ford.

First of all, I'm a big fan of the big tough guy John (The Duke) Wayne. I liked his talk (great voice) and I liked his walk! As for his old westerns and war movies....many of which are discussed and dissected here....I still enjoy them.

BUT OMGOSH, John Ford, what a total shock to learn about his disgusting "brow-beating" bullying approach to directing. Often humiliating and violent,

Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: John Wayne/John Ford fans
Recommended to Thomas by: NetGalley
Shelves: biography, netgalley
This book is a gem and deserves 5 stars. If you are a fan of the iconic John Ford/John Wayne westerns, then you will enjoy this book, which provides a plot summary of these westerns and places them in a larger context, relating them to American society and the role of men and women in today's society along with America from 1930 to 1979. The book provides a lot of detail about John Ford's movie making style. Ford was a bully and an alcoholic. He did not drink while making a movie and demanded th ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Over the span of more than 20 years, John Wayne and John Ford made 14 movies together. Most were westerns, and all of them featured Wayne as a tough but kind heroically masculine figure. A man's man. One of my all-time favorite movies -- The Quiet Man -- is a classic Wayne and Ford movie.

In Wayne and Ford, Nancy Schoenberger presents interesting facts and background on both men, touching on their careers, personal life, health and relationships. I was surprised to learn that it took John Wayne
Stanley McShane
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
John Wayne, a beloved actor, director, and American icon, and film director, John Ford together created the classic western movies that continue to cement the image of a tough fighting, but triumphant masculine legacy. Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero might include a misnomer in "friendship." John Ford was brutal to the point of being vicious with his actors while simultaneously wrenching from them their best work. From Wayne and Ford's collaboration ...more
Valerity (Val)
I was interested in reading this book on John Wayne and Ford and their films. Having inherited a love of Western movies and John Wayne in particular, and having read a few articles through the years on John Wayne, I felt I knew a bit about him. John Ford was much more an unknown quantity going into it, but the author certainly did her research in this amazing double biography. I came away feeling I knew quite a bit more about both of them, historically as far as their films, and about their pers ...more
Douglas Fugate
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a dual biography with the history of Hollywood intermingled.
John Ford started filming silent movies before 1920. He hired a crew member to move scenery and other items on and off the set – Marion Morrison. In 1939 he gave then John Wayne his first leading role in a major film – Stagecoach. The working relationship and friendship would endure for the next almost 40 years.
Nancy Schoenberger’s work is an exceptional volume on the personal and professional relationship of the two men. She re
Book received from NetGalley.

John Wayne and John Ford were a well-known pair in early American film. Over the course of their careers, they made 20 films together and I have definitely watched most of them. I grew up with a father who was a huge fan of John Wayne's films and there were many Saturdays where he'd go from channel to channel trying to find another of Wayne's films once the one he was watching was finished. The book gives background on both Wayne and Ford's early lives, how they beca
Joe Kucharski
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
I finished reading Nancy Schoenberger’s introduction – a well-crafted, passionate account on masculinity from a woman’s perspective, mostly derived through cinematic heroes, such as watching John Wayne westerns, although with the obligatory nods to her father – and immediately turned to my wife stating she had to read this primer. In this world of Wonder Woman and where the glass ceiling is arguably (at least?) scratched, this is the perfect time to hear from a woman on Wayne, who was truly one ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
If you love John Wayne/John Ford western films, you’ll love this book. If not, then you won’t. 3.5 stars. This book is an enjoyable read for classic movie fans, and perhaps some American studies majors, but of limited interest beyond.

The author explores how Wayne’s giant onscreen persona continues to set a standard for American views of masculinity and patriotism. Meanwhile, his offscreen life as Marion “Duke” Morrison was less than perfect, marred by alcoholism, two broken marriages, and avoid
Casey Wheeler
I received a free Kindle copy of Wayne and Ford by Nancy Schoenberger courtesy of Net Galley and Doubleday, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as I have been a fan of John Wayne movies and in particular the ones directed by John Ford.  I have not read any biographies on either of the
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this look at one of the more legendary film collaborations of the twentieth century. As someone who grew up watching John Wayne films with her parents, the ones he worked on with John Ford still stand out in my mind. I was thrilled when I spotted this book on the new book shelves in the library I work at, and I snatched it up immediately.

Schoenberger takes us through the course of Wayne and Ford's relationship, from Wayne's beginnings as a prop assistant under Ford, through Wa
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I grew up with John Wayne movies on in the house - my father is a big fan. But this book is not a biography of Wayne and Ford. It is not a list of their movies along with anecdotes about what happened during filming. This is the story of the legend they created. They created the myth of John Wayne. They gave us the ideal man and the rules for a real man to live by. Schoenberger examines their coroboration and the development of the myth. Without realizing it, we came to believe this myth they cr ...more
Larry Sampson
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It covers all of the John Wayne/John Ford movies and also goes into some of the movies they made apart. Written with a real fan's insight the book covers a lot of territory I had already known but still had lots of new insights. They were fascinating flawed men but together they made some of the best western movies of all time. If you are a fan I highly recommend the book.
Apr 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Wayne and Ford The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero by Nancy Schoenberger
Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero
By:Nancy Schoenberger
Non Fiction
What's it's about:
John Ford and John Wayne were two titans of classic film and made some of the most enduring movies of all time. The genre they defined--the Western--still matters today.
For over twenty years John Ford and John Wayne were a blockbuster Hollywood team, turning out many of the finest Western films ever made. Ford, a son of Irish immigrants known for his black eye patc
Roopkumar Balachandran
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I am a fan of MGR a matinee idol from Tamil Nadu, India, actor turned politician and a philanthropist who is often compared with John Wayne's box office draw. Both the actors in their movies portrayed the same qualities needed to the people in those era. The title of the book "Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship and the Forging of an American Hero" and the image of Wayne stylishly holding a gun made me to request in Net galley, and I have to thank net galley and Doubleday books for giving ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received an advance reading copy of this book, for free, through Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for my honest review.

Nancy Schoenberger’s Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero is three books in one. It is a dual biography of director John Ford, as well as the frequent star of his films, John Wayne. In addition, the book takes a behind-the-scenes look at the dozen or so films on which Ford and Wayne collaborated.

Schoenberger did an outstandi
John Plowright
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Many directors have close relationships and work repeatedly with a particular actor. Martin Scorsese’s next film with Leonardo di Caprio, about serial killer H. H. Holmes, will be their fifth feature film together, Scorsese having previously made eight with Robert De Niro, which is the same number which Tim Burton has made, to date, with Johnny Depp. However, the most prolific partnership in cinema thus far was that between Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune, who made no less than sixteen films t ...more
Tom Stamper
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
You get the feeling that Nancy Schoenberger feels remorse that the John Wayne ideal no longer exists. After reading the book I feel the remorse as well. And although he shares the title with his frequent collaborator, John Ford, this really seems to be a book about Duke more so than their work together.

A lot of the book explains the dynamic between a conservative actor in a town that became progressively liberal as John Wayne matured. Ford, for instance, was a New Deal Democrat. He liked to to
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Well, Wayne and Ford was a frustrating read. I love learning about different people from the Golden era of Hollywood, and was eager to read about John Wayne and John Ford, both of whom had major success with Westerns. But I would recommend reading another book over this one. 

To start, this was a dry and boring read. In the beginning, I felt that this was written almost as a book for film students to read. I've read many books about films, and generally the author includes stories about an actor
Derrick Jeter
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nancy Schoenberger teaches English and creative writing at the College of William & Mary. She seems an unlikely candidate to write a book on two of the most masculine cinematic representatives of the twentieth century—John Wayne and John Ford—and yet, in her highly readable "Wayne and Ford" she has captured the essence of these two men. "Wayne and Ford" is an enjoyable introduction to the two men, who more than others (on film, at least), set the bar of American masculinity and perpetuated the m ...more
Jack Castillo
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. First, I am a big Wayne fan, flawed as some of his movies are he made some great ones that I still watch to this day: The Quiet Man, Stagecoach, True Grit, The Searchers, etc. The stinkers; well, who amongst us have not made some stinkers. I had some issues with Ford, a personality I knew very little about but whose movies were landmarks in my upbringing: Grapes of Wrath, 3 Godfathers and How Green Was My Valley. Ford would not fare very well in today’s #metoo environ ...more
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have always been a John Wayne fan, so I saved this book that I got through a Goodreads Giveaway to read over Christmas. I have not been disappointed.
The book covers the working relationship of John Wayne and John Ford. It shows the mentoring that both men did as well as the cruel methods Ford used when directing. I learned a lot about the aims of a director as he works to get the exact creation of the film that is in his mind. I enjoyed the detailed discussion of The Searchers, since it is one
patrick Lorelli
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book especially since I liked all of the westerns that they made together and The Quiet Man. What was extra about this story than others that I have read was the part about Ford and the way he really treated the people he worked with or worked for him. I was really surprised at the big named stars that put up with his abuse besides Wayne. Yes, the westerns were good but did he really need to go through all of the degrading that he did. The author takes you through the western ...more
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must read for fans of the cinema, John Wayne and or Westerns.

Nancy Schoenberger’s book, “Wayne and Ford- The films, the friendship and the forging of an American Hero” examines each of the films they made together, their lives both and off screen and the indelible mark they left on the world of motion pictures and our culture.

Stagecoach, Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance all iconic films made by John Ford and starred John
I have loved John Wayne my entire life. Loved his movies, loved his acting, and loved his attitude in making movies. I have not known much about John Ford, but found of course that he was the director behind many of Wayne's movies.

I read "Print the Legend: The Life of John Ford" by Scott Eyman back in 2014. I found it to be excellent and made me aware of much that was behind the scenes.

Since I've become fascinated with the dynamics between Ford and Wayne
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a concise look into the friendship of Wayne and Ford and how together they created many aspects of the Western hero and what much of America would perceive as "manly" characteristics for at least a generation. It's a fairly quick read, briefly rehashes the movies they made together but has room to discuss a few of the movies they did not make together and how they influenced each other. If I was only a fan of Westerns in general or just of Ford, I would probably only rate the book 4 sta ...more
Russell Threet
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
John Wayne and John Ford are two men that together had a lot of influence in the way in which a generation of men (and sometimes women) understood what it was to be a man. "Wayne and Ford" by Nancy Schoenberger is a sort of side by side biography in which we see the lives of thee two men unfold and the ways in which they intersect. The tumultuous nature of their relationship paired with the impact that they, together, had on American culture makes this a fascinating read for people of all stripe ...more
Patrick Macke
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
The book succeeds and is a joy to read because it takes us inside all of the John Wayne westerns we love ... the relationship between Ford and Wayne that happens along the way, essentially each being too macho to show he cares about the other, is a drag ... the author beats a couple of subjects to death, namely, Ford's sexuality and the concept of men wanting to bond with men, and in some places it is redundant and threatens to overwhelm but in the end, wouldn't you know it, John Wayne saves the ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I love all things "Old Hollywood" and I couldn't wait to read this. This book easily transitions from story to fact and back. Some books like this one cane come off like a text book and this I am happy to say did not. With back stories on the movies Ford & Wayne made together we also get to see some of the reasoning behind the choices they made. I highly enjoyed this book & I thank the publisher for sending out a copy to me to replace the one that became lost in the mail from the goodreads givea ...more
Bob Grove
Feb 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Luckily I received this book as a gift. I was very disappointed in that the author presents mostly a rehash of the work of previous authors with very little in the way of new information. I have read most of the major biographies of Ford and Wayne but would not recommend this book to people who have read nothing on the topic. Some better choices are "Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford" "John Wayne: The Life and Legend" both by Scott Eyman or "Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, ...more
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Nancy Schoenberger is a professor of English and creative writing at the College of William and Mary. She is the author of Dangerous Muse: The Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood, and coauthor with her husband, Sam Kashner, of books on Oscar Levant, George Reeves, and the relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. She lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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