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, adapted into one of Hollywood's most legendary films, The Searchers, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne. In his new book The Searchers, 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.
GLENN FRANKEL is director of the School of Journalism and G.B. Dealey Regents Professor in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He was a longtime Washington Post reporter, editor and bureau chief in Jerusalem, London and Southern Africa, and he won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for “balanced and sensitive reporting” of Israel and the first Palestinian uprising. He also served as editor of the Washington Post Magazine, deputy national news editor and Richmond, Va., bureau chief. 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 the Alan Paton Award, South Africa’s most prestigious literary prize. He and his wife live in Austin.
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