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Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  112 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
This revelatory volume tells for the first time Earp’s entire astonishing story.
Hardcover, 426 pages
Published January 28th 2009 by Castle Books (first published 1998)
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Katherine Addison
This is a wildly uneven book. When Barra is on his game, he's very good indeed; when he's off it, like the little girl in the nursery rhyme, he's horrid.

His purpose in the book is to explore the process by which Wyatt Earp became a legend. He's very interested in Wyatt's appearances in popular culture; he talks about the movies and the TV shows and also the children's toys and comic books and other ephemera. He's very good at tracing the paths which misinformation has taken, the ways in which th
Jan 26, 2012 Natalie rated it it was ok
I really wanted to love this book. After having read Doc by Mary Doria Russell (one of the best historical fictions ever), They Call Me Doc by DJ Herda and Doc Holiday's Woman by Jane Claudia Coleman, I was intriqued to find out what Doc Holliday's best friend, Wyatt Earp, was like.

I had a lingering doubt though hoping this wasn't going to be "yet another account of the fight at the OK Corral," and thankfully it wasn't.

But I just couldn't get into this. Its goal isn't biography, which I had hope
Matthew Godlewski
Nov 28, 2015 Matthew Godlewski rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This is an interesting read on Wyatt Earp and his legend. The book is written mainly to debunk a lot of other books, both positive and negative, that have come out regarding Wyatt Earp and the gunfight in Tombstone that many take for fact, most of them written in the 1920s and 1930s. The one book he truly takes issue with, since it has been called the definitive Earp book and has cemented his legend in American culture, is Frontier Marshal by Stuart Lake. As pointed out in this book, ...more
Herb Hastings
May 17, 2016 Herb Hastings rated it really liked it
If, like me, you grew up in the era of The Western, you should love this book. The author dissects how the legend of Wyatt Earp was created and how it changed over time. He tries to piece together the facts of the man's life but admits' at times, that the truth is elusive and tells you what he prefers to believe.

The main shortcoming of the edition of this book I read is occasional sloppy editing. For example he refers to someone's "ancestors" as still living in the town of his birth when in cont
Apr 04, 2013 Sybylla rated it did not like it
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 and confusing. No attempt is made to create a narrative, but rather a series of incidents presented vaguely. I was not surprised to read that the author was not a historian, but a sports writer.

That said, it is hard for me to rate this book this low. The facts and story itself is fascinating, I just
Jul 07, 2010 Dee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having watched the movie "Wyatt Earp" based on this book, decided to read the book. Only got 1/2 way through though. The story of Wyatt's life in pretty matter of fact. He and his brothers and all of their wives lived in pretty rough circumstances in the West. They were interested in making enough money to live comfortably. Everyone did not always get along. Wyatt was pretty handy with a gun, didn't like shooting at people. Didn't always make the people in his community happy. The inv ...more
Oct 17, 2014 James rated it it was amazing
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, and also fills in details of the western settlement, cattle drives, land management, law enforcement.
Mar 26, 2008 Rae rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio-memoir
This and Casey Tefertiller's biography of Earp are the most definitive and accurate life stories. Earp and his image fascinate me. My only criticism of this book is the editing--it borders on abysmal--way too many typos. Also, the author refers to John Wesley Hardin as Harding throughout. Sloppy.
May 08, 2011 Kim rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, american
Full of interesting information about one of the most famous lawmen of the Old West, but it felt very disorganized, and that made it very hard to read. Plodding through it became something of a chore.
Alison Fletcher
Aug 07, 2014 Alison Fletcher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that this book was more of a 3 1/2 stars.It was an interesting point of view but it seemed that the author had a slight obsesion with Wyatt Earp. all in all it was ok
Mar 10, 2010 Patrick rated it it was ok
Shelves: biographies
Extremely interesting and well-researched, but inexplicably full of typographical errors.
Jul 12, 2013 Pat rated it really liked it
Would have given it a 5 star because of the wonderful historical details, but it was a bit long-winded.
Jun 16, 2009 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superb research by the author but the book is in a class by itself when it comes to the incredible typos.
Clay Davis
Nov 07, 2012 Clay Davis rated it it was amazing
A great book that gets as close as any at trying to separte the legend from the msn.
Mar 03, 2008 Barb rated it really liked it
I haven't finished this book yet, but I find Wyatt Earp the man very interesting. The movie "TOMBSTONE" is the only movie that closely dipicts what happened there.
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