The Life and Legend
By Scott Eyman
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781439199589, 658pp.)
Publication Date: April 2014
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Scott Eyman interviewed Wayne, as well as many family members, and he has drawn on previously unpublished reminiscences from friends and associates of the Duke in this biography, as well as documents from his production company that shed light on Wayne's business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, among them "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "The Quiet Man," and "The Searchers." His evaluation of Wayne himself is shrewd: a skilled actor who was reluctant to step outside his comfort zone. 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.