“A Man’s Dreams Must Exceed His Fears”
John T. Wayne, the Arkansas author who shares a likeness and the name of the famous Western actor was born and raised in Missouri. He grew up not knowing who his earthly grandfather might be, but by the end of 2012, Wayne had become certain of one thing. He was the Duke’s biological grandson. Of course just looking like the man doesn’t make him John Wayne’s grandson, but all the information he has learned confirm his heritage. His upcoming autobiography will share the facts that prove he is the Duke’s grandson.
After serving two tours in the Marine Corps, Wayne began writing his stories in 1985 while attending the University of Oregon. His Gaslight Boys series, six historical novels to date, is based on the orphans created by the Civil War.
His recommended books list comes straight from his personal library, and four of them tie to the Indian assimilation that took place during and after the Civil War in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Pistol Pete, the only exception, is tied to the Reconstruction Era.
1. The Last Frontier (Howard Fast, World Publishing): This straight-up telling details Indian assimilation in old Oklahoma, the chiefs who refused the white man’s handouts and the battles that followed—an excellent education on post-war Indian affairs in the Old Southwest.
2. Picketwire Vaquero (James D. Crownover, Five Star Press): I find this book very interesting because the tale begins in old Arkansas, but moves quickly across the territory. There will be more great work from this author, who understands how pivotal a role Indians played in settling the Old Southwest.
3. The Bugles are Silent (John R. Knaggs, Sunridge): One of my favorites, this book is as good as it gets when reading about the Alamo, the struggle for Texas independence and the men who went to battle. This is a must-have for any serious collector of the Old Southwest.
4. The Confederate Cherokees (W. Craig Gaines, Louisiana State University Press): Gaines digs deep into the heart of the Cherokee Nation at the onset of the Civil War. Two factions struggle for supremacy and the ability to control the tribe. One group joins the Confederate cause and the other joins with the Federals.
5. Pistol Pete: Veteran of the Old West (Frank Eaton, Signet): This book is my one departure from the history of the old Southwest. Anyone who hasn’t read the story of Pistol Pete is missing one of the greatest tales ever told. Frank Eaton’s autobiography, this book gets better with every subsequent reading. I find this book incredible. My guess is more than one Western writer used Frank Eaton’s stories as plot ideas for their own works. The book details many events in Frank’s life. I find the stories amazing, true old West folklore, straight from the horse’s mouth.