Wednesday, January 14, 2015

American Titan: Searching for John Wayne

I loved John Wayne.  I grew up watching "The Duke" epitomize on the screen what it meant to be an American.  My favorite movies are of his are:  The Quiet Man,  The Longest Day,  The Sands of Iwo Jima, The Cowboys, The Searchers, True Git and The Shootist.   He always reminded me of my Dad - a gentle but gruff man who always tried to do the right thing.  
It was interesting to get a glimpse of the man.  For example,  I had no idea that his family traveled to California by covered wagon. ( That's just so hard to imagine) His father was a pharmacist who had difficulty keeping a job.  His family often subsisted off of money raised by Marion's ( John's real name) paper route.  His dog's name was Duke and Duke would follow him to school every day and then hang out with the local firefighters.  The firefighters taught young Marion to fight ( you can imagine with a name like that, he was bullied a lot) and the same firefighters gave him the nickname Duke.  For many years, he actually went by the name Duke Morrison.
There are so many wonderful tidbits and great stories in this book.  There was also a lot that was difficult to reconcile with my image of of John Wayne.  Like anyone else, he was a human being that had many facets to his character. I'm glad I read this book and I will always be a fan of the Duke. 4/5 stars only because of the occasional liberal bent of the text.

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