The Making of an American Legend
The College of General Studies welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Glenn Frankel for a conversation about his book The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend on February 6, 2014, from 4 to 6 p.m.
In 1836, Comanche raiders kidnapped nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker from her home in East Texas. Her uncle searched for her for nearly a decade, driven by his obsessive hatred for Indians; meanwhile, the Comanches raised Cynthia Ann as one of their own. She married a warrior, with whom she had three children, and lived as a Comanche for 24 years, until she was “rescued” by the Texas Rangers. Cynthia Ann returned to her white relatives and never saw her Comanche family again. Her story has been retold in operas and plays, and in Alan Le May’s 1954 novel, which legendary director John Ford adapted into the classic film The Searchers, starring John Wayne and Natalie Wood.
“[I] was entranced by The Searchers as a boy coming of age in the 1960s,” Frankel writes in the introduction to The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend. “Everything about it thrilled and frightened me. There was dust and grit in every scene, and even the gunshot sounds seemed sharper and more real than in other Westerns. And the climactic moment when the uncle [Wayne] chases down his niece [Wood] and must decide whether to wreak his terrible revenge made me weep with fear and pleasure.”
Frankel watched The Searchers more than 10 times during his career as a foreign correspondent for the Washington Post, and when he retired to take a teaching position at Stanford University, he began to write a book about the film. His book quickly became “about a lot more than just the making of a movie. It was about the making of an American myth, and how that myth has developed over a century or more.”
Join Frankel at CGS for a conversation about The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, which Kirkus Reviews calls a “clearly written account of an obsessive search through the tangled borderland of fact and fiction, legend and myth.” Associate Professor Kevin Stoehr, author of Ride, Boldly Ride: The Evolution of the American Western, will introduce Frankel with a brief presentation on the evolution of the Western genre. A book signing will follow the event.—Lara Ehrlich
Reprinted from The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, by Glenn Frankel. Copyright © 2013 by Glenn Frankel. Used with permission of Bloomsbury USA