The book is an adventure story filled with action, romance, humor, comradeship, tragedy, and triumph, that chronicles the early life of my father, his days as a juvenile delinquent, his military service as a decorated fighter pilot in World War I, (in the famous Lafayette Flying Corps), and his trials and tribulations in the Hollywood jungles on the way to directing “WINGS”, the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and the “Star Wars” of its generation. The book boasts 66 photographs — many never before seen– and Wellman’s heart-wrenching, history-packed letters he wrote from France during World War I.
Wellman went on to direct the films “Public Enemy”, “Call of the Wild”, “Beau Geste”, “Nothing Sacred”, and the original “A Star Is Born”, “The Ox-Bow Incident”, “Battleground”, and “The High and the Mighty”, among many others.
The foreword for the book was contributed by Robert Redford, who writes, “Maverick is a worn term that has been batted around and has described many people over time. For me, William Welllman most authentically fits this description. Feisty, independent, self-taught, and self-made, he earned his stripes as a seeker and adventurer, sure of his passions and his own mind, and not to be trifled with by the authorities who were inherited or never saw the realities of hand-to-hand conflict or earned their way through the experience of real living.”