Film historian Neibaur surveys Eastwood’s westerns, from the 1959–65 television series Rawhide to Sergio Leone’s 1967 classic A Fistful of Dollars to 1992’s Oscar-winning Unforgiven. It’s an interesting approach to Eastwood’s cinematic career; although both as an actor and as a director, Eastwood has tackled a wide variety of subjects and styles, he’s probably most commonly associated with westerns, and it was in that genre that, Neibaur suggests, Eastwood defined himself as an actor and director. Charting the production of each film, its cultural impact, and its impact on Eastwood’s career, the book shows us a working actor who became a movie star, a filmmaker, and a cultural icon. The book isn’t just a history of Eastwood’s career in westerns; because he was so involved in the genre, the text is also, in some ways, a history of screen westerns from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. For fans of books about moviemaking, and especially Eastwood’s fans, it’s a real winner.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, February 2015.