Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends

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9780786706853: Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends
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In a violent half-minute, in a gunfight near the O.K. Corral, Wyatt Earp became a legend. He was thirty-three. He died forty-eight years later, in Hollywood, where he worked as an advisor on film westerns. He'd had firsthand experience in the creation of American myth, and in this remarkable volume, Allen Barra illuminates fully the man who strode into our national imagination, as well as the myths that have continually reinvented him in history, film, and fiction. "Any future arguments will have to reckon with the evidence and explication that Allen Barra presents in this thoughtful, careful book." - Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World "Continually surpris[ing] . . . Barra's enthusiasm for his subject is contagious, his eye for human foible compassionate, and his nose for the odd fact irrepressible." - Atlanta Journal-Constitution "A grand, often fascinating account of a man . . . [and] legend" - Chicago Tribune "Provide[s] a fascinating glimpse into a rowdy, turbulent period in the nation's history by re-examining one of the legendary figures who made it so" - Cincinnati Enquirer "Wyatt Earp's hell-for-leather charge into the rugged territory between history and legend has never been better charted." - San Diego Union-Tribune

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Review:

Sorting through the innumerable legends about Wyatt Earp and his brothers is a monumental task, but Allen Barra, a sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal and a lifelong devotee of western lore, has tried mightily to sort the fact from fiction to determine once and for all if the Earps were heroes or villains. Judging by the cascade of films, books, and TV shows that have portrayed the Earps and their pal "Doc" Holliday, some people simply can't get enough of the legends, and those folks will find Inventing Wyatt Earp fascinating.

The central event of the Earp story is the fabled gunfight near Tombstone's O.K. Corral, a violent eruption in a simmering feud between, believe it or not, frontier Democrats and Republicans. Barra delves deeply into the motivations of all the participants and those who would later tell their stories, and he deserves credit for conducting his prodigious research with skepticism. However, the thoroughness of Barra's approach is a double-edged sword: his relentless examination of Earp's life and the various accounts of it can at times lead the narrative into a blinding sandstorm of minor details. Nonetheless, for those with a strong interest in sorting out the truth about the legends of Tombstone, this book is a valuable source. --Robert McNamara

About the Author:

Allen Barra is a sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal, the Village Voice, and the New York Sun and is the author of several books, including Clearing the Bases (available in a Bison Books edition), The Last Coach: A Life of Paul “Bear” Bryant, and the forthcoming Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780803220584: Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends

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ISBN 10:  0803220588 ISBN 13:  9780803220584
Publisher: Bison Books, 2009
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9780785814948: Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends

Castle..., 2009
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9780786705627: Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends

Basic ..., 1998
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