"You can't beat this story for drama. . . . An omnibus of everything ever known, spoken, or written about Doc Holliday." -Publishers Weekly "An engagingly written, persuasively argued, solidly documented work of scholarship that will surely take its place in the literature of the Old West." -Booklist In Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend, the ...
"You can't beat this story for drama. . . . An omnibus of everything ever known, spoken, or written about Doc Holliday." -Publishers Weekly "An engagingly written, persuasively argued, solidly documented work of scholarship that will surely take its place in the literature of the Old West." -Booklist In Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend, the historian Gary Roberts takes aim at the most complex, perplexing, and paradoxical gunfighter of the Old West, drawing on more than twenty years of research-including new primary sources-in his quest to separate the life from the legend. Doc Holliday was a study in contrasts: the legendary gunslinger who made his living as a dentist; the emaciated consumptive whose very name struck fear in the hearts of his enemies; the degenerate gambler and alcoholic whose fierce loyalty to his friends compelled him, more than once, to risk his own life; and the sidekick whose near-mythic status rivals that of the West's greatest heroes. With lively details of Holliday's spirited exploits, his relationships with such Western icons as Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, this book sheds new light on one of the most mysterious figures of frontier history.
Without doubt, Doc Holliday, The Life and the Legend by Gary L. Roberts is the best biography written about the 19th century gunfighter, drunkard, gambler and dentist, Doc Holliday. This includes the most comprehensive historical account of the famous gunfight in Tombstone, Arizona between the Earps, Doc Holliday and the Clantons and McLaurys?.
Dr. Roberts meticulously traces the trail of John Henry Holliday from his native Georgia through Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado before he was laid to rest in Glenwood Springs, Colorado after dying in 1887 from tuberculosis at the age of 36. Dr. Roberts takes the real measure of the man and successfully separates a great part of the legend from the real person. There has been so many disparate interpretations of this complex individual in previous biographies.
One of the most appealing traits of Holliday was his friendship with Wyatt Earp. He was loyal to his friends as this book clearly demonstrates. Dr. Roberts shows the good, bad and ugly of his character in a well-written narrative.
The best section of the book is his description of and causes for the gunfight at the OK ? or as he characterized it as the ?Fremont Street Fiasco.? It was ?bloody miscalculations that neither side really wanted but that both sides believed the other side wanted.? The Cow-Boys, the Clantons and McLaurys, as well as the Earps, set themselves up with miscommunication, male testosterone and rumor. The business community supported the Earps and was opposed to the Mexican cattle rustling and lawlessness of the Cow-Boys.
One of the interesting aspects of Dr. Roberts? interpretation is the support the Earps and Doc Holliday had from the well-to-do citizens of Tombstone, Wells Fargo & Co., and Republicans. During the subsequent trial of the Earps and Doc Holliday for murder and the Wyatt Earp posse riding out to avenge the murder of Morgan Earp by the Cow-Boys, this support was evident. They had the best-paid lawyers and actual financial support from Wells Fargo. The political climate and its effect in Arizona contributed substantially to the final results.
If you want to read a well-researched history of the Old West, Doc Holliday, the Life and Legend is the best of the lot.
May 10, 2007
I have been doing a lot of reserch into the life of John Henry Holliday and the time period surrounding the infamous gunfight. I strongly recommend this book. I am not a fast reader, but I finished this book within the matter of a week. "Doc" Holliday comes to life as a real person. This book is not a rehash of the legends surrounding Holliday and his life. This book is finely researched and well written.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-02-27 Roberts, an authority on western history, takes on John Henry Holliday, legendary gunman, drinker, gambler and dentist (hence "Doc"), best known for some adroit shooting at the OK Corral on October 26, 1881. This is part biography, part debunking of myths and part archive of accounts of the lives of Holliday and the Earp Brothers written from the time they were alive up to the present. Roberts is effective in evoking the influences that formed his subject's character. Born in Georgia in 1851, Holliday absorbed the manliness and rebelliousness instilled in young men of his prosperous class in antebellum Southern culture. Holliday also acquired expertise in drinking, whoring and gambling, as well as a taste for violence. Roberts is measured in evaluating the myths associated with Holliday's exit from Georgia and his nomadic life in Texas, Colorado and Arizona. This brings the author to Tombstone, and the fray featuring Holliday and the Earps against the Clantons and McLaurys. You can't beat this story for drama, and Roberts provides a step-by-step account of the gunfight. Some chapters are unduly packed with Roberts's massive research. But without it, the book would not have been what the author plainly intends-an omnibus of everything ever known, spoken or written about Doc Holliday. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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