FIRST ON FOX BUSINESS: Heroes of Liberty releases a new children’s book about John Wayne, championing the virtues of manhood for young boys in a culture where manhood is often condemned as “toxic.”
“We’re telling boys now that their masculinity is toxic, and it’s really, really dangerous for their emotional development and our societal development as well,” heroes of Freedom Bethany Mandel, editor and board member, told FOX Business in an interview Thursday.
“We reject men so much in our current culture. We say, ‘Believe all women’ and ‘Men have to be taught not to be rapists.’ This book is a pushback against the idea of ’toxic masculinity’.”
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“But you can’t just teach boys not to be something,” Mandel added. “You must teach them to be honorable, chivalrous and courageous. All of these qualities are so beautifully personified by John Wayne and the characters he portrayed.”
“As a mother of boys and girls trying to find books for my children to read, you have to go back decades to find strong male role models in literature,” Mandel said. She noted the Mark Twain novels and the Hardy Boys series. “It’s a major hole in the children’s literary canon. The strong, the adventurous, the honorable – all of these qualities are lacking in modern children’s literature.”
The new book, “John Wayne: Manhood and Honor,” tells the story of Marion Robert Morrison, a young man bullied because of his unmanly name. This bullying – and his father’s tragic business mishaps – led to the man who became John Wayne being tough.
Morrison got his nickname, “Duke”, from his dog – which he named after the dog in the movies with Morrison’s favorite actor, Tom Mix. He left his dog Duke at the fire station when he went to school, and the firefighters called him “Big Duke” and his dog “Little Duke”. They taught him how to fight, and he attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship.
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Morrison’s first foray into filmmaking was through a summer job – a summer job that became full-time. A famous director took a liking to the young prop guy, and history was written. Wayne would go on to become the most iconic Western actor, directing over 200 films.
In the credits of his first film, “The Big Trail”, Morrison found himself on the list of “John Wayne”. The producers gave him that screen name, and he stuck.
The book introduces children to the Wild West and the characters Wayne played. It tells the story of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”, a film in which Wayne plays Tom Doniphon, an honorable man who kills a gang leader in a duel but is not credited with saving the situation. He lets an attorney named Ranse claim the credit – and the girl. “He was the kind of man Duke loved to play: tough on his enemies, loyal to his friends, a gentleman with women, and deeply committed to those he loved.”
“John Wayne: Manhood and Honor” teaches the core virtues of manhood and honor through Wayne’s life, and it does so with stunning visuals and compelling anecdotes from the actor’s life.
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Heroes of Liberty launched on November 14, 2021 with a three-book set about Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, former President Reagan, and author Thomas Sowell. The publisher will launch a new book about a “freedom hero” every month.