No Name on the Bullet

Don Graham, Author Viking Books $19.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-81511-1
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. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
Paperback - 396 pages - 978-0-14-013446-9
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