Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends

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University of Nebraska Press, Jan 1, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 426 pages
7 Reviews
On October 26, 1881, Wyatt Earp, his two brothers, and Doc Holliday shot it out with a gang of cattle rustlers near the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. It was over in half a minute, but those thirty violent seconds turned the thirty-three-year-old Wyatt Earp into the stuff of legend.
In truth, however, the gunfight at the O.K. Corral neither launched nor climaxed a career that in the course of eighty-two colorful years took Wyatt Earp from an Iowa farm to the movie studios of Hollywood, where he worked as an advisor on Western films. Along the way he saw real-life action as a buffalo hunter, bodyguard, detective, bounty hunter, gambler, boxing referee, prospector, saloon keeper, and, on occasion, a superb lawman.   This authoritative biography tells Wyatt Earp’s story in all its amazing variety—a story the celebrated lawman shares with the likes of Bat Masterson, Earp’s colleague on the Dodge City police force; the tubercular, gun-toting southern gentleman Doc Holliday; and Josephine Sarah Marcus, a beautiful Jewish girl from New York City who lived and traveled with Earp throughout the last forty-seven years of his life. Biographer Allen Barra also examines the more fantastic versions of Earp’s exploits told during his own lifetime, as well as his incarnations in the myths that have flourished in our national imagination throughout the seventy years since his death.

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Review: Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends

User Review  - James - Goodreads

Excellent; comprehensive in that it not only examines the biography, it also then puts other accounts of Wyatt Earp's life into context, how it was depicted in subsequent books, movies, and television ... Read full review

Review: Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends

User Review  - Sybylla - Goodreads

This book is the most poorly written and edited piece of history I have ever read. As far as I can tell, the history itself is sound, and Barra's skepticism is healthy. But the writing is convoluted ... Read full review

References to this book

When Crime Waves
Vincent Sacco
Limited preview - 2005
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About the author (2009)

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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