John Wayne: American

Front Cover
Free Press, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 738 pages
Based on over five years of interview and archival research, John Wayne: American explains the appeal of Wayne's abiding Americanness. Indeed, we cannot understand America itself without understanding John Wayne. Born in a dyed-in-the-wool Republican town in Iowa, a football star and student leader, and a scholarship boy at USC, Wayne went to Hollywood because it was the truest meritocracy in America, the one place where his lack of wealth and connections could not hurt him. After spending the first decade of his career on Poverty Row, he emerged as a star in Stagecoach. But it was during World War II that Wayne - and America - emerged as superpowers. Wayne came to politics reluctantly, joining the mainstream of America in its confrontation with communism - and maintaining his opposition ever since. At heart, however, Wayne was a nonideological conservative. He loved his freedom, his friends, his women, and his booze. He believed in simple justice, and common decency, and he will always be beloved as a result.

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An epic biography of one of America's most popular and iconographic movie stars. John Wayne, who used to boast, ``I don't act, I react,'' brought a relentless and sometimes compelling trademark ... Read full review

John Wayne: American

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Despite its rather defiant title and a prolog that asks why "critics and historians [have] refused to grant Wayne his deserved spot in the pantheon of Hollywood greats," this is a remarkably ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

Roberts teaches at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas.

James S. Olson is Distinguished Professor of History at Sam Houston State University. He is the recipient of the university's Excellence in Teaching Award and Excellence in Research Award. He is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of more than thirty books, including "Catholic Immigrants in America" (1993); "Winning is the Only Thing: Sports in America Since 1945" (1989); "Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam" Fifth Edition (Blackwell, 2006); and "John Wayne American" (1996), which won the Ray and Pat Brown National Book Award from the Popular Culture Association. His book "A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory" (2001) won the Diolece Parmelee Award from the Texas Historical Foundation. His most recent book--"Bathsheba's Breast: Women, Cancer, and History" (2002)--was nominated by The Johns Hopkins University Press for the Pulitzer Prize in History, won the History of Science Category Award from the Association of American Publishers, and was recognized by the "Los Angeles Times" as one of the best non-fiction books in America for 2002.

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