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David Sterritt's balanced study of Clint Eastwood's career as star, director, and cultural icon accepts what many Eastwood enthusiasts have known since the early 1990s - 'The aging Eastwood, more invested than ever in the resonance of myth and the indeterminacy of the past, is the most interesting Eastwood of all.' Eastwood's impromptu and off-putting speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention helps Sterritt realize that Eastwood is an odd figure, a contrarian who resists categorization over time, a progressive libertarian who uses his venerable persona and newfound off-camera auteur status to question every facet of his life and times. He both reflects and deconstructs key American archetypes. The Man With No Name and Dirty Harry support the American belief in the regeneration of violence, yet later Eastwood films such as Unforgiven, Mystic River, and Gran Torino contemplate the guilt and denial associated with that same violence. Eastwood's iconographic individualism eventually gives way to a contradictory need for community and sacrifice in films as diverse as The Outlaw Josey Wales and Jersey Boys. His longstanding association with unassailable masculinity comes at the expense of female empowerment and male self-awareness - from Two Mules for Sister Sarah and Play Misty for Me to Million Dollar Baby and J. Edgar Eastwood knocks down the phallus, confronting us with male figures wracked with personal doubt and patriarchal regret. Eastwood is now the most successful star/auteur in American film history - no one, not even Charlie Chaplin or Woody Allen, can match his longevity. Sterritt's book recognizes this, while still acknowledging that many critics, both from the left and the right, have major reservations about Eastwood and his work that belie his complexity and enduring legacy.