- High-Lonesome Books
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- 6.22(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.64(d)
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Real Wyatt Earp: A Documentary Biography based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Steve Gatto¿s ¿The Real Wyatt Earp¿ presents the story of Wyatt Earp based on contemporary accounts, not old-timer recollections that often are rife with error and misstatement. Unfortunately, when the contemporary accounts are compared to information attributed to or about Wyatt Earp, glaring inconsistencies are found. In recent years Earp buffs and writers have tried to shield Wyatt from all blame, often downplaying his role in telling exaggerated stories about his whereabouts. Fortunately, Gatto does not care that the facts rip apart Earp¿s credibility and tear apart much of the Earp myth that was started in most cases by the old lawman himself. In reading Gatto¿s book, one quickly finds that Earp misrepresents his whereabouts to hide his misdeeds, fabricates stories to add to his reputation, and takes credit for killing Johnny Ringo who in real life likely committed suicide. Gatto does praise Earp¿s lawman abilities at times, but also reminds readers that much of his actions following the ¿Gunfight Near the Ok Corral¿ were based on personal animosities rather than some noble pursuit of justice. I highly recommend Steve Gatto¿s book. It presents a view of Earp that most writers go out of there way to downplay or completely ignore. Gatto realizes that the mythical Wyatt Earp will always be with us, whether in print or on film and that is to be accepted. As Gatto concludes, ¿it matters little to most people that the majority of Wyatt¿s purported feats evaporate when the historical record is examined. But now and then readers come along who are more interested in history than hero stories.¿
While the book handles the Earp saga somewhat faithfully, it jumps around a great deal and leaves out many important segments in the man's life. Gatto seems to pick out many of the stories that most Earp historians concede as ridiculus and then harps on their lack of truth as though it is one of the great crimes of historical documentation. Gatto offers nothing new in this book. He simply re-tells much of the folk lore and then uses his own opinions to substantiate why the stories are ridiculus. Gatto continually makes the assumption that all of the far fetched stories that he cites are from Earp's own mouth. Most credible historians devoted to the Earp story will tell you that no one can be sure where these stories originated. A great many of the people who have studied this unique individual agree that so many writers, film makers and story tellers have simply taken incredible liberties with Earp and history. Gatto seems to have been drawn into the stories and sadly enough could not separate fact from fancy before he wrote the book. If readers would like to read a much better account of this era and the unique events that took place then pick up a copy of 'And Die In The West' by Paula Mitchell Marks. A 5 star book.