Zane Grey: His Life, His Adventures, His Women

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Zane Grey was a disappointed aspirant to major league baseball and an unhappy dentist when he belatedly decided to take up writing at the age of thirty. He went on to become the most successful American author of the 1920s, a significant figure in the early development of the film industry, and a central player in the early popularity of the Western.


Thomas H. Pauly's work is the first full-length biography of Grey to appear in over thirty years. Using a hitherto unknown trove of letters and journals, including never-before-seen photographs of his adventures--both natural and amorous--Zane Grey has greatly enlarged and radically altered the current understanding of the superstar author, whose fifty-seven novels and one hundred and thirty movies heavily influenced the world's perception of the Old West.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Although fans of Zane Grey may be taken aback to discover certain characteristics or traits of this famous writer, what emerges from Pauly's text is an honest and straightforward account of the charms and foibles of a man who defined and lived his life as he saw fit."--Journal of the West

Jonathan Miles
The revelations about Grey's blue cache of journals and photos - and about Grey's considerable harem of mistresses, who openly shared him with his wife and one another - make Thomas H. Pauly's biography a major correction to the wholesome image Grey enjoyed for almost a century … The Zane Grey who emerges here is self-absorbed and adolescently melodramatic, oblivious to money and incapable of business (even though, by 1929, he was earning four times the salary of Babe Ruth). He was petty and brittle in his friendships, loving though largely absent as a father, prescient and passionate in his environmentalism, supremely competent and knowledgeable as a fisherman (he held several world angling records) but, most of all, outlandishly deluded about himself and the world he inhabited.
— The New York Times
Library Journal
Since most Americans associate the name Zane Grey with cheap paperback Westerns in a revolving metal rack behind the Coke machine at the local stationery store, this fascinating new biography (the first since Frank Gruber's 1970 Zane Grey) is guaranteed to open some eyes. Pauly (English, Univ. of Delaware) has an admirably complete grasp of the various facets of his subject, e.g., Grey's connection to the nascent film industry, his consuming hunger for ever larger and swifter ships, the nature of his novels, and why they filled such an American need. Grey's childhood (in Zanesville, OH, where else?) was central. His stern, hard-working father, Lewis, was fast supplanted as a role model by poorhouse inhabitant Muddy Miser, who played a real-life Nigger Jim to the dashing but confused teenager. Enrolled in Penn State's dental school but playing semi-pro baseball, Zane was soon (and until the end of his days) embroiled in affairs of the heart and groin with the first of the numerous women who sometimes simultaneously played such a gigantic role in his life that they're part of this book's title. By age 30, he was a practicing dentist and an aspiring novelist whose trips west finally inspired him to try his hand at the then-unknown genre of Western. By the 1920s, he was the most popular writer in the country, regardless of literary critics' perpetual sniping. This absorbing biography is highly recommended for all collections.-Charles C. Nash, Cottey Coll., Nevada, MO Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252074929
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 845,589
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas H. Pauly is a professor of English at the University of Delaware. He is the author of books on Elia Kazan and the historical background of the musical Chicago.

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