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Publisher's Summary

John Wayne was one of Hollywood's most famous and most successful actors, but he was more than that. He became a symbol of America itself. He epitomized the Western film, which for many people epitomized America. He identified with conservative political causes from the early 1930s to his death in 1979, making him a hero to one generation of Americans and a villain to another. But unlike fellow actor Ronald Reagan, Wayne had no interest in politics as a career. Like many stars, he altered his life story, claiming to have become an actor almost by accident when in fact he had studied drama and aspired to act for most of his youth. He married three times, all to Latina women, and conducted a lengthy affair with Marlene Dietrich, as unlikely a romantic partner as one could imagine for the Duke. Wayne projected dignity, integrity, and strength in all his films, even when his characters were flawed, and whatever character he played was always prepared to confront injustice in his own way. More than 30 years after his death, he remains the standard by which male stars are judged and an actor whose morally unambiguous films continue to attract sizeable audiences.

Scott Eyman interviewed Wayne, as well as many family members, and he has drawn on previously unpublished reminiscences from friends and associates of the Duke in this biography, as well as documents from his production company that shed light on Wayne's business affairs. He traces Wayne from his childhood to his stardom in Stagecoach and dozens of films after that. Eyman perceptively analyzes Wayne's relationship with John Ford, the director with whom he's most associated and who made some of Wayne's greatest films.

Wayne was self-aware. He once said, "I’ve played the kind of man I’d like to have been." It's that man and the real John Wayne who are brilliantly profiled in Scott Eyman's insightful biography of a true American legend.

©2014 Scott Eyman (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A long but interesting book

There are very few people that I would spend 26 hours listening about their life, however, John Wayne is one of them. The story talks about thousands of different conversations Wayne had in an attempt to let us know the real John Wayne. I was happy that it didn't pull punches about his faults. He was a bad husband and a bad investor, but a good father, great actor and loyal friend. The story points out mannerisms that we all know which I had thought where natural that were calculated. His political views were far to the right and often painfully blunt but I am not sure that they were not part of his persona. He played by a set of rules that he learned at a young age and was reluctant to move from them as he aged. He was, like many actors of his time, a big teenager, always living a very fast paced lifestyle of hard drinking and hard living. Yet I was very impressed that he found time for his children. He was cultured playing chess frequently and reading poetry but kept that under wraps to protect his image.

The book held my attention throughout and I still admired Wayne after I was finished.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bert Byers
  • Sevierville, TN United States
  • 11-08-14

If you loved the "Duke," you'll love this book

Where does John Wayne rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Is definitely one of the best. I know of and saw most of the movies. The author takes you back stage and tells you about the making of the blockbusters and those not so. Students of the film industry should be required to read this book. You are constantly being told how much a movie made ($) and the back stories about where it was made.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This is naturally all about John Wayne. From "Stagecoach" to the "Shootist" you learn so many things you did not know before you wonder if you should be taking notes for the inevitable quiz tomorrow.

What about John McLain’s performance did you like?

I think this is the first book I've listened to by McLain and he easily slips into a Wayne sounding voice without overdoing it. I wouldn't hesitate to listen to another book voiced by McLain.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were several such moments but I don't mean to give anything away, but John Wayne dies and Scott Eyman writes about that event like he was there. Throughout the book he writes like he was there at major events in the "Duke's" life.

Any additional comments?

Eyman does not write a love story. There are times you may dislike John Wayne for what he did or how he reacted to something but as you listen you sense what you are hearing is the truth. I cried when he died. I cried again when he died in his book, John Wayne: The Life and Legend.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A must read for any level of John Wayne fans

If you could sum up John Wayne in three words, what would they be?

The real man

What did you like best about this story?

This is a story about a man we all want to be. But even John Wayne was not obtainable all the time by Duke Morrison. The Duke came the closest to anyone. Bottom-line you will learn the man was the myth and vice versa. But he was human, like us all. What he had was integrity.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did both laugh and cry. My wish would have been to meet him in person.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My Hero!!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

great stories about John Wayne's life and the lives of those who he worked with.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The Duke of course

Did John McLain do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes, he did a nice job of trying to sound like the Duke.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Most chapters were pretty long but I did manage to do whole chapters at a time.

Any additional comments?

I had trouble with the audio which was frustrating and detracted from the total enjoyment of the book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Pulls no punches.

I wanted to read this because John Wayne was by far my dad's favorite actor. When I was at his house every movie which came out starring him was a necessity. I think I enjoyed dad enjoying these movies more than I enjoyed seeing them myself. But they were good escapism. Totally unbelievable to the extreme. This is the reason one wishes to watch movies. I think.

This is not a hero worshipping book. It is apparantly John Wayne warts and all. Also one finds out more regarding the actors surrounding him than one may want. No real surprise but I think dad would have not been amused.

At first I thought the narrator was irritating. But then he would quote the Duke. Then I realized why he was picked to read it. He did a great job of immitating the Duke. A long book like this takes dedication to go from beginning to the end. I think it was worth it. I was saddened to learn of how much he suffered at the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good story, narrator needs help with pronunciatio

Story is good, since it's about John Wayne what else could it be? Narrator Is pretty good most of the time . That makes it more jarring when he stumbles over the pronuncecation of the word argosy and Claudette Colbert's name. The amount of money each movie made is relentlessly proclaimed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story of a great man.

Although I don't write many reviews I had to write a review for this book. I thought the book was excellent and well thought out.
It was extremely interesting as it went through the struggles and achievements of John Wayne both as a man and as a
legend. Even though he was a little ahead of my time, I enjoyed his movies and liked the way he came over as
a tough man, but with a gentleness about him. How well the author explained Wayne's character, both as Duke, the actor
and as Wayne, the true American patriot. Five stars for this read. If there were ten stars I would give it that,
The narrator was excellent. All in all, a terrific all around Audible experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

TALL IN THE SADDLE

JOHN WAYNE: The Life and Legend
By Scott Eyman
Last year, out of 102 books read, the best non-fiction book was FOUNDATION: The History of England by Peter Ackroyd. This year, even though we are only 20 weeks into the year, I believe it will be Scott Eyman’s JOHN WAYNE: The Life and Legend. It would be difficult to be too generous with the superlatives. I have read over 5,000 books, been a movie buff all my life, and recorded and rated every book I read and every movie I saw since I was 15. Over several hundred of these books have been ‘movie-related’ – autobiographies, biographies and histories – this is the best of them.
I ‘read’ the Audible edition, narrated superbly by John McLain. The treatment is admiring without being sycophantic. In preparation Scott has interviewed numerous people on the inner and outer circles of John Wayne’s world and carried out a huge amount of research, which he has then formed into a finely honed, solid, entertaining and widely appealing work.
I have been a John Wayne fan for years. Norma and I watched THE QUIET MAN and THE SEARCHERS again last year, the tenth and sixth time respectively for me. I knew a reasonable amount about both the actor and the man, but Scott has filled in so many gaps and expanded both my knowledge and appreciation immeasurably.
My tastes, both in what I read and write, like General Adrian Marshall, the lead character in my novel THE PRICE TO PAY, are eclectic. For these reasons I feel this outstanding biography will appeal not only to the movie buff, or those who read a lot of autobiographies and biographies, but to anyone who appreciates the celebration of a life well lived. On another level it will appeal to anyone who will be touched by the honouring of a man, who, despite his faults, exemplified the qualities to which we should all aspire: love of family, reliability as a friend, staunch patriot, a clear-eyed focus on the goal, which was fuelled by vigorous ambition, and finally, courage to face the next day when the sunrise was in doubt.
Ultimately, Scott Eyman shows us that John Wayne was more than a ‘B actor’ who struggled up from the mire to emerge into the sunlight of fame, fortune and stature; he also epitomised both legend and myth, and became a figure even his detractors could admire and respect.
I cannot thank you enough, Scott, for providing me with 26 hours and 3 minutes of pleasure. This is an audio book to which I will return again and again, and which I will recommend enthusiastically.
What next? I will buy Hank and Jim, and look forward to another most enjoyable Scott Eyman outing.
My email address is: ericjdrysdale@gmail.com


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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excellent depiction of the man

when I was 10 years old I ran my Boston Whaler a ground on John Wayne's Beach. He came out and I thought I was going to get a real ass chewing and it was the most gentle giant of a man. He had his companion bring us out a bowl of candy for us to Feast on and then helped us relaunch our boat and Say Goodbye. I'll never forget that day and the man this book just reinforces everything I knew from my 1 meeting with him.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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the best

this book was awesome and by the end of it. I was crying as if the Duke died yesterday.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brendamo
  • 01-14-15

AMERICAN ICON

Would you consider the audio edition of John Wayne to be better than the print version?

I would imagine the audio book to be better as the narrator did a very reasonable impression of john wayne.

What other book might you compare John Wayne to, and why?

Cant really think of any other book to compare it with, as john wayne was a one off.

What does John McLain bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He really did sound like John Wayne which i found made this book much more entertaining.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes I would have quite happily listened to the whole story all in one sitting as I really enjoyed it.

Any additional comments?

Was'nt too sure about buying this book as I was'nt a huge fan of his but I am glad i did! I really enjoyed listening to John Mclains narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. Ronald Baird
  • 04-16-15

Superb story of the great American Actor John Wayn

Written with great clarity, the Life of a john Wayne will resound, down through the ages. His humanity and kindness will endure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • J G Belam
  • 04-12-18

Scott Eyman is a talented detailed Biographer

Scott Eyman’s biography of John Wayne is detailed and interestingly written
The best John Wayne biography I have read
John McLain is a talented narrator
Great book great listen

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • steve
  • 10-24-17

Hero worship

John Wayne, my favourite actor all my life, man and boy. Never will be equalled

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-18-16

best Wayne book ever. great!!

If you are a fan of John Wayne this book is a must . It is like your in the presence of the duke . Great great book . The fact the narrator sounds like Wayne is brilliant. This has to be the best Wayne book ever.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Starskey
  • 03-18-16

Good

Reader's voice eventually grows on you after 12 hrs + and he develops some emotion which is lacking at start....... Long. Very good. His mimickry of Wayne's voice is good. Great biography.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Teresa Cooper
  • 10-06-15

The big man.

Not what I thought it would be. It was infinitely better. The life of John "Duke" Wayne from a childhood filled with a unloving mother and a weak father to a pain filled death from cancer. Good book, good narration. Would I recommend this book ? In the words of the Duke " Hell yes ".