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Inventing Wyatt Earp
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An authoritative biography telling Wyatt Earp's story in all its amazing variety

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Bison Books EditionPrefaceIntroduction1. Wyatt: The Odyssey2. "Bloody Kansas" -- Wyatt Earp in Wichita3. On to Dodge City4. Tombstone: The Iliad5. "Three Men Hurled into Eternity"--The Streetfight in Tombstone6. Wyatt Earp on Trial7. Wyatt Earp Unleashed: The Vendetta Ride8. Putting Clothes on a Ghost: The Life and Legend of Doc Holliday9. The Lion in Autumn10. Hollywood Gunfighter11. Print the Legend12. Wyatt ReduxBibliographyIndex

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.

Reviews

The Western is a genre that seems eternal. Wyatt Earp, the hero or villain of the OK Corral affair, depending on whose book you read or film you see, is a figure of seemingly unending interest. Following Stuart Lake's 1931 classic Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal and Casey Tefertiller's fine Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend (LJ 12/97), Barra (Wall Street Journal sports columnist and author) has written an intriguing biographical and historical study of the legend of Wyatt Earp as it occurs in text and film. Barra sees Earp as very much a hero‘but not for the familiar reasons offered by his mythologizers, who have often reduced the complexity of the man. A well-written and carefully documented book; highly recommended for popular biography and Western history collections.‘Charles V. Cowling, Drake Memorial Lib., Brockport, NY

"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 Review "Engaging, detailed and refreshingly pugnacious." New York TImes Book Review

Wall Street Journal sportswriter Barra (That's Not the Way It Was) does an admirable job of discounting the stories and outright lies told by Earp's contemporaries by using firsthand accounts and newspaper stories of the time. Barra concludes that the legend we know as Wyatt Earp is really a compilation of many of the characters who frequented the streets, barrooms and card games of the Wild West. But most scholars agree that Earp was intelligent, strong and generally a just lawman. A particularly interesting section concentrates on the shoot-out at the OK Corral and the subsequent trial and lasting animosity between Earp and his associates‘his brothers and Doc Holliday‘and the gang of "cowboys" who forever harassed them. Barra also chronicles Earp's romantic interests, including his and marriage to Josephine Sarah Marcus, a Jewish actress from New York. Barra's writing alternates, somewhat awkwardly, between a rather folksy tone and some academic detail, but readers who grew up with the legend of Wyatt Earp, both in literature and in film, will be intrigued by Barra's comprehensive and detailed dismantling of the popular myths surrounding this figure. (Dec.)

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