Gregory Kirschling
September 06, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

McGilligan begins his monster bio of Hollywood’s Dirty Harry in 1634, when Clint’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather sails in from England…. Good God, the ace film historian must know more about the Eastwoods than the Eastwoods do! Yet all McGilligan’s meticulous and credibly researched legwork has unearthed only blight on the family tree, as far as Clint’s concerned. Rebutting Clint’s cultivated simple-man mystique, his unauthorized biographer paints the Paint Your Wagon star as cheap, distant, vain, short-tempered, bitter, self-important, stubborn, vindictive, ungrateful, smug, manipulative, abusive, womanizing, misogynistic, and homophobic. (Eastwood is, however, always kind to animals.) The trouble here is that McGilligan so completely flays Clint as a person and a moviemaker that it’s unclear why he’s held a 40-year grip on superstardom.

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