The Searchers by Glenn Frankel
The Making of an American Legend

80%

14 Critic Reviews

As framed and enriched by Frankel, “The Searchers” is another such epic; recounting the making of what he calls “an American legend,” he has retold it well.
-NY Times

Synopsis

In 1836 in East Texas, nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker was kidnapped by Comanches. She was raised by the tribe and eventually became the wife of a warrior. Twenty-four years after her capture, she was reclaimed by the U.S. cavalry and Texas Rangers and restored to her white family, to die in misery and obscurity. Cynthia Ann's story has been told and re-told over generations to become a foundational American tale. The myth gave rise to operas and one-act plays, and in the 1950s to a novel by Alan LeMay, which would be adapted into one of Hollywood's most legendary films, The Searchers, "The Biggest, Roughest, Toughest... and Most Beautiful Picture Ever Made!" directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne.
Glenn Frankel, beginning in Hollywood and then returning to the origins of the story, creates a rich and nuanced anatomy of a timeless film and a quintessentially American myth. The dominant story that has emerged departs dramatically from documented history: it is of the inevitable triumph of white civilization, underpinned by anxiety about the sullying of white women by "savages." What makes John Ford's film so powerful, and so important, Frankel argues, is that it both upholds that myth and undermines it, baring the ambiguities surrounding race, sexuality, and violence in the settling of the West and the making of America.
 

About Glenn Frankel

See more books from this Author
Glenn Frankel worked for nearly thirty years for the Washington Post, as a reporter, a foreign correspondent, and editor of the Washington Post Magazine. As Jerusalem bureau chief, he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for "sensitive and balanced reporting from Israel and the Middle East." His first book, Beyond the Promised Land: Jews and Arabs on the Hard Road to a New Israel, won the National Jewish Book Award. His second, Rivonia's Children: Three Families and the Cost of Conscience in White South Africa, was a finalist for South Africa's prestigious Alan Paton Award. Frankel is currently the director of the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
 
Published February 19, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA. 432 pages
Genres: History, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Searchers
All: 14 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Nov 04 2012

A thoroughly researched, clearly written account of an obsessive search through the tangled borderland of fact and fiction, legend and myth.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by J. Hoberman on Feb 22 2013

As framed and enriched by Frankel, “The Searchers” is another such epic; recounting the making of what he calls “an American legend,” he has retold it well.

Read Full Review of The Searchers: The Making of ... | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Nov 12 2012

Frankel’s retelling is a gripping portrayal of a mesmerizing period of American history.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by RICHARD SNOW on Mar 08 2013

Eloquent.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by David Kipen on Mar 01 2013

When a writer can't clearly communicate his own enthusiasm — however conflicted — for the film closest to his heart, he may be a great journalist, but a fine critic he's not. When Frankel quotes a few brilliant writers on "The Searchers"...the shortfall shows.

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Chris Nashawaty on Feb 20 2013

...well-researched dual history...Frankel doesn't add much that's new to that story. Instead, it's his account of Parker's abduction and the quarter-century quest to recover her that casts a haunting, harrowing spell.

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USA Today

Above average
Reviewed by Bill Desowitz on Feb 21 2013

‘The Searchers’ puts an iconic Western under the lens.

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Oregon Live

Excellent
Reviewed by Steve Duin on Feb 23 2013

Frankel's graceful ability to separate, and harmonize, legend and fact does honor to both.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Good
Reviewed by Colin Fleming on Feb 26 2013

The Searchers has a grip that few works of art do and, as is made plain throughout these pages, a will befitting its hard-traveled back-story.

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Denver Post

Good
Reviewed by Douglass K. Daniel on Feb 24 2013

Frankel's excellent research and analysis and his fine writing raise the bar for the "making of" film book. His narrative details the life of a modern legend...

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Bookmarks Magazine

Excellent
Reviewed by Jon on Feb 19 2013

Glenn Frankel, beginning in Hollywood and then returning to the origins of the story, creates a rich and nuanced anatomy of a timeless film and a quintessentially American myth.

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BookIdeas.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Paul Markowitz on Feb 20 2013

The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend is not just one intriguing tale but in fact three instructive and fascinating stories melded into an enthralling whole.

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Shelf Awareness

Good
Reviewed by Tom Lavoie on Feb 19 2013

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel very smartly explores new territory with The Searchers.

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The Hollywood Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Martin Scorsese on Mar 08 2013

The author does an excellent job of addressing that craziness and how it played out in American history and in the Western genre.

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Reader Rating for The Searchers
79%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 335 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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