No Name on the Bullet: A Biography of Audie Murphy

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9780670815111: No Name on the Bullet: A Biography of Audie Murphy

Dust jacket notes: "Once, the name Audie Murphy was synonymous with military heroism - and with good reason. In world War II, over the course of more than two years of continuous combat in Europe, this Texas sharecropper's son entered the ranks of the immortals who can claim a sustained series of hard-to-believe (but thoroughly documented) exploits on the bloody battlegrounds of Sicily, Anzio, France, and Germany. For his heroic achievements, which left some 240 German soldiers dead, Murphy received the most medals ever awarded to an American soldier, including the Congressional Medal of Honor. When the portrait of this freckled, baby-faced foot soldier appeared on the cover of Life magazine, Audie Murphy became the living symbol of America's desire for its sons to return, unravaged, from the war. After the war, Murphy went on to launch a long and surprisingly durable career as a screen actor, starring in such films as The Red Badge of Courage, The Quiet American, his autobiographical war movie To Hell and Back, and a long series of Westerns (where he was inevitably cast as 'the Kid'). But just beneath the surface of his life lay a numbness, a delayed stress relieved only by bouts of womanizing, nocturnal adventures, reckless gambling, and dangerous practical jokes. Murphy would survive into the Vietnam era as an anachronism of sorts, whose baroque schemes for financial salvation plunged him into the American political and criminal netherworld - a hero badly out of time. Don Graham tells the story of this emblematic American life in vivid detail, with a rich appreciation for the ironies and multiple meanings to be found there, and with awe at the combat heroics of this 'fugitive from the law of averages.' Audie Murphy's grave is the most visited one in Arlington national Cemetery, save JFK's, even today; No Name on the Bullet explains why this is so to a whole new generation of Americans."

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From Publishers Weekly:

The most highly decorated GI of World War II, Audie Murphy went on to become a Hollywood star who appeared in more than 40 movies. He died in a private-plane crash in 1970. Graham ( Cowboys and Cadillacs ) describes Murphy's wartime exploits and film career in engrossing detail and keeps a probing eye on his subject's character, personality and behavior, building a convincing case that Murphy was a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder. In his postwar years, the actor was a twice-married womanizer who gambled away an estimated $3 million, served as an auxiliary crime-fighter for various police departments while consorting with gangsters, devoted himself to concocting crude practical jokes and regularly threatened to kill anyone who crossed him. (Two years before his death he was tried and acquitted of attempted murder.) Aside from his awesome war record and struggle to improve his shaky acting skills, there seems little about Murphy to admire, but Graham, history professor at the Univ. of Texas, paints a portrait of a man more to be pitied than scorned. The book is the well-told tale of a lost soul who lived an extraordinary life.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Graham brings two advantages to his biography of war hero/movie star Murphy: like Murphy he was raised in rural Texas; and as a professor of English, Graham is capable of composing a literate sentence. Murphy, America's most decorated soldier in World War II, went on to become a top movie draw in the 1950s via a series of low-budget Westerns. As Graham shows, Murphy suffered acutely from post-combat stress syndrome, and until his death in a plane crash in 1971, Murphy's life was an unhappy one. No Name on the Bullet does a good job of covering both Murphy's military and film careers, and it is a biography well above the average.
- John Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, N.J.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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