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John Wayne's America (Paperback)

Author:  Garry Wills
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Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0684838834
ISBN-13: 9780684838830
Sku: 30318716
Publish Date: 4/10/2007
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8.5H x 5.5L x 1T
Pages:  384
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Lincoln at Gettysburg" brings his eloquence, his wit, and his on-target perceptions of American life and politics to this fascinating, well-drawn portrait of John Wayne, a true 20th-century hero. "Deeply satisfying at every level".--Michael Stern, "San Francisco Chronicle". of photos.
From the Publisher:
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Lincoln at Gettysburg" brings his eloquence, his wit, and his on-target perceptions of American life and politics to this fascinating, well-drawn portrait of John Wayne, a true 20th-century hero. "Deeply satisfying at every level".--Michael Stern, "San Francisco Chronicle". of photos.The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lincoln at Gettysburg brings his eloquence, wit, and on-target perceptions of American life and politics to this fascinating, well-drawn protrait of a twentieth-century hero. In this work of great originality?the biography of an idea?Garry Wills shows how John Wayne came to embody Amercian values and influenced our cultoure to a degree unmatched by any other public figure of his time. In Wills's hands, Waynes story is tranformed into a compelling narrative about the intersection of popular entertainment and political realities in mid-twentieth-century America.
Although he died in 1979, John Wayne remains the archetype of the American cowboy. In this biographical study, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gary Wills traces the path by which the famed American actor became the emblem of Americans' idealized self-understanding in a culture largely devoid of historical traditions.
Author Bio
Garry Wills
Raised a Roman Catholic, Wills had a Jesuit education and entered a seminary. His first book was on the Christian writer G. K. Chesterton (known for the Father Brown mysteries), and he later wrote BARE, RUINED CHOIRS, about religion, and a short book on St. Augustine. Wills attended Yale University and received a Ph.D. in classics in 1961; his dissertation was on Aeschylus. He has been both an academic, teaching at Johns Hopkins and Northwestern universities, and a journalist. His early pieces were for the National Review, and he has also written for Newsweek and been a syndicated columnist, usually writing on political matters. A writer with a wide range of subjects, including the Declaration of Independence, presidents Nixon and Reagan, and John Wayne, Wills won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for LINCOLN AT GETTYSBURG.


Publishers Weekly
"Not only is this stunning book essential reading for anyone interested in Wayne and popular culture, it's a key text in Wills's continuing investigation into the meaning of America." 01/06/1997

Kirkus Reviews
"A major achievement in cultural criticism that will not be easily surpassed." 01/15/1997

New York Times
"...Mr. Wills brings his usual acumen and fluency to this discussion..." - Michiko Kakutani 02/21/1997

San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"'John Wayne's America' is deeply satisfying at every level, form sending us back refreshed to a new appreciation of great movies to deepening our understanding of the forces of cultural production. Read it, pilgrims." - Michael Stern 02/23/1997

New York Observer
"In this latest book, both the range of [Wills'] learning and his delight in making unexpected connections are abundantly apparent." - Adam Begley 03/03/1997

New Yorker
"If this book is not Wills at his absolute finest, that is largely because he co-stars in it with John Wayne. The trouble is not that wayne dwarfs Wills--he doesn't--but that the myth of John Wayne comes apart at a single touch, as, of course, most celluloid myths tend to do." 04/07/1997

Washington Post Book World
"Wills is, as is also commonly known, a meticulous scholar and a lucid writer. Both characteristics are evident here. But unlike the books upon which his reputation rests, this one is largely the elucidation, at far too great a length, of the obvious. By contrast with Wills's deservedly honored 'Lincoln at Gettysburg', which is almost as much a model of brevity as the great speech it analyzes, 'John Wayne's America' is flabby and dull. In detail that too often passes from the revealing to the stupefying, Wills discusses the particulars of Wayne's films, both famous and forgotten, yet in the end he tells us nothing significant about Wayne that we did not already know." - Jonathan Yardley 03/02/1997

New York Times Book Review
"To his credit and our continuing edification, Garry Wills, polymath extraordinaire, is no snob. He has that rare quality, more common to French intellectuals than our own, of refusing to be bound by categories of importance. As much at home with the rhetoric of Cicero as with the paradoxes of Presidential politics and the arcana of obscure Hollywood westerns of the 1920's, he brings the full weight of his erudition to bear on John Wayne as a symbol of manhood fore generations of Americans--what he terms the embodiment of an American Adam, "untrammeled, unspoiled, free to roam," Wayne, he says, is an eligiac figure who stands astride a perpetually receding, endlessly idealized frontier....Indeed, Mr Wills sets himself a perverse, paradoxical task: to rescuer Wayne from both his idolaters and his detractors and, while doing so, to disabuse the film cognoscenti of a couple of presumably cherished myths....I hope this new book will find its way into the hands of those who are ready to think seriously about a pivotal figure in our culture, a figure who was a great star and a flawed man." - Molly Haskell

Los Angeles Times Book Review
"The story of how [Wayne's] image of a war-fighting man came to be--the story, in fact of how most images come to be--is normally a subject neither for biographers nor for critics, even though everyone agrees that we live in an age of the dominant image. A biography of an image is a much-needed project for our times. And who better to write about the Wayne image than our best popular historian of the ways in which religion intersected with politics, from the nation's founding to the campaign trail...from the battlefield to the graveyard....As a writer who has warned intellectuals that they ignore the fundamental (as well as fundamentalist) importance of religion at their own risk, there is a logic to his special interest in Wayne another ignored but popular phenomenon....Garry Wills is a remarkable writer who has a wonderful idea for a biography appropriate to our times. Thing of 'John Wayne's America' as the first test run of a not yet perfected form." - Tom Engelhardt 03/02/97

"This book is vexing but endearing." - John Bowen 05/03/1997

"Wills has done us the service of unpacking one of the biggest bundles ever." 06/09/1997

"No one has written better about the cultural ideology of John Wayne's career than Wills does here....Wills's sensitivity to the larger implications of John Wayne as an 'auteur des politiques' is superb." - Boston Globe

Product Attributes

Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0384
Product attributePublisher:   Simon & Schuster
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