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Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life

3.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  63 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Finalist for the 2014 Weber-Clements Book Prize for the Best Non-fiction Book on Southwestern America

In popular culture, Wyatt Earp is the hero of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, and a beacon of rough cowboy justice in the tumultuous American West. The subject of dozens of films, he has been invoked in battles against organized crime (in the 1930s),
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by Hill and Wang (first published June 25th 2013)
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I actually own a small card game titled "Wyatt Earp" that is essentially a rummy variant. The theme itself is paper thin, but there are small boards that depict various famous outlaws from the Wild West and ostensibly it is Wyatt Earp who is believed to have dealt with them all. Having now read this book, I wonder if he should be the titular character...or if he should have his own outlaw board in the game!

I was rather surprised at how varied a life he led, dabbling in the world of bordellos an
Jul 30, 2014 Garryvivianne rated it liked it
Wyatt Earp as everybody thinks they know about him, was a law abiding lawman. Movies like Gunfight at the OK Corral made him to be a hero & always against crime. Well, this book, filled with historical notes about the times was very interesting & showed that the "hero" & "lawman" stories were pretty much made up by Wyatt Earp himself. He & most of his family were law breakers, he himself was a con man, a gambler, a brothel bouncer & a thief. Even his family did not know what ...more
Jack Buechner
I forgot to decline the HBOMC distribution that included this…so why not read it? No pressure which allowed me to truly skim the pages as I went from this cousin with Confederate allegiances to this brother who was a recruiter for the Monmouth, Il. Dragoons (USA). The gunfight at the OK Corral (spoiler alert) took place in the vacant lot behind the corral. I learned more about the politics of the southwest up to an including the early days of Hollywood. Worth reading and now it goes to the AAUW ...more
Gaylord Dold
May 06, 2014 Gaylord Dold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Isenberg, Andrew, Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life, Hill and Wang (Farrar Strauss and
Giroux), New York 2013 (296 pp. $30)

Gardner, Mark Lee, Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, The Northfield Raid, and the
Wild West’s Greatest Escape, William Morrow (Harper Collins), New York,
2013 (309 pp. $27.99)

Like the Lincolns half a generation before them, the Earps migrated from the semi-feudal upper South of Kentucky, crossed the Ohio River, and settled in rapidly commercializing central Illinois where Walter Earp
Sep 16, 2013 Hal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Andrew Isenberg presents in the book on Wyatt Earp a more realistic biography of the man that became an icon of the lawless as wells as law and order western frontier. Earp through his own devices as well as his connections particularly to early Hollywood and publishing houses managed to portray his own select view of how he led the way for law and order in this rough and tumble environ.

The book seems honest and forthright in clarifying the facts behind Earp's real life as opposed to the glorifi
This was a good biography of Wyatt Earp. There wasn't any information that particularly jumped out at me as being new, but it was a fairly unbiased and realistic look at the man, separating him from the legend that television made of him.
Jan 06, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, research, library
This was a fascinating biography, though it made me glad I didn't have an idealized picture of Wyatt Earp in my head. As it turns out, Earp was a horse thief, gambler, and con artist among other non-admirable traits. He was also a master of constructing his public image in the dawning age of media celebrity, and that's perhaps the most instructive element of this book. It made me want to write about anti-heroes with a good sense for the public mood.
Brenda Dobson
Aug 09, 2014 Brenda Dobson rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book - couldn't put it down - highly recommend it!
Dave Kempf
Book is well researched but author a definite dislike of his subject, Wyatt Earp. I appreciate his refutation of various myths but feels he goes a bit far when interpreting a comment by Bat Masterson to accuse Earp of homosexual activity. Isenberg really dislikes Earp & therefore has a difficult time being unbiased.
Rachel Parrott
Feb 21, 2015 Rachel Parrott rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Isenberg gives a good unbiased view of the life of Wyatt Earp seeking the man behind the legend. Readers also get looks at many aspects of the Old West painting the landscapes of Earp’s life.

My copy came through Goodreads First Reads.
Aug 16, 2013 Nichol rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life left much to be desired. It was scant and the author completely glosses over the women of Earp's life. The last third of the book barely mentions Joesphine. I was very disappointed in this telling of Earp's story.
Dave Kempf
Book is well researched but author a definite dislike of his subject, Wyatt Earp. I appreciate his refutation of various myths but feels he goes a bit far when interpreting a comment by Bat Masterson to accuse Earp of homosexual activity.
John Walker
Jul 13, 2013 John Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book that shows Wyatt Earp probably the way he really was. Interesting information on the dark side of Dodge City, Wichita and of course Tombstone in Earp's time.

Great Read
Sep 01, 2013 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read quite a few books about Wyatt Earp and this one ranks as one of the best! Takes apart the "myth" about Wyatt Earp in a very well written and concise manner.
Jan 21, 2015 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. I was really disappointed with this I thought it would be really interesting but I found it rather dry and boring.
Clay Davis
You would think with Wyatt Earp in the title he would be in most of the book at most he was just in half of it.
It's sure going to be hard to watch those reruns of Wyatt Earp now on the Western Channel!
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