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Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City
     

Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City

4.0 1
by Robert Rebein
 

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In Dragging Wyatt Earp essayist Robert Rebein explores what it means to grow up in, leave, and ultimately return to the iconic Western town of Dodge City, Kansas. In chapters ranging from memoir to reportage to revisionist history, Rebein contrasts his hometown's Old West heritage with a New West reality that includes salvage yards, beefpacking plants, and

Overview

In Dragging Wyatt Earp essayist Robert Rebein explores what it means to grow up in, leave, and ultimately return to the iconic Western town of Dodge City, Kansas. In chapters ranging from memoir to reportage to revisionist history, Rebein contrasts his hometown's Old West heritage with a New West reality that includes salvage yards, beefpacking plants, and bored teenagers cruising up and down Wyatt Earp Boulevard.

Along the way, Rebein covers a vast expanse of place and time and revisits a number of Western myths, including those surrounding Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, the Cheyenne chief Black Kettle, George Armstrong Custer, and of course Wyatt Earp himself. Rebein rides a bronc in a rodeo, spends a day as a pen rider at a local feedlot, and attempts to "buck the tiger" at Dodge City's new Boot Hill Casino and Resort.

Funny and incisive, Dragging Wyatt Earp is an exciting new entry in what is sometimes called the nonfiction of place. It is a must- read for anyone interested in Western history, contemporary memoir, or the collision of Old and New West on the High Plains of Kansas.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“For a young Rebein, the world of wrecked cars became a wonderland, and he writes lyrically of the things that turned up in them, from porn to lighters to photographs to ammunition. . . . A minor but well-crafted work, and an all-too rare glimpse of daily life in rural America.”
— Kirkus Reviews

"'We'd been raised for export,' Rebein notes of his Dodge City upbringing. Yet this expatriate warmly merges his personal history with Dodge's history and culture to find his own place under the stars of the Great Plains of Western Kansas."
— Thomas Fox Averill, author of Rode

"Charming, searching, and haunting all at once, this book makes me nostalgic for my own handful of years on the Great Plains."
— Bob Cowser, Jr., author of Green Fields

“Language and stories are two vital aspects of memoir. Dragging Wyatt Earp excels on both counts…. Rebein’s memoir gives us a chance to think about our own relationship with our own hometown, recall our own stories, our own dreams. The book helps us remember the things we treasured in our town, what we took away from that place and what we left behind.”
Emporia Gazette

“Charming, searching, and haunting all at once, this book makes me nostalgic for my own handful of years on the Great Plains.”
— Bob Cowser, Jr., author of Green Fields

“‘We'd been raised for export,’ Rebein notes of his Dodge City upbringing. Yet this expatriate warmly merges his personal history with Dodge's history and culture to find his own place under the stars of the Great Plains of Western Kansas.”
— Thomas Fox Averill, author of rode

Kirkus Reviews
An affecting memoir of life in small-town Kansas. Wyatt Earp's old haunt is still haunted by him, or at least some version of him, the heroic lawmaker that brings in tourists. Rebein (Hicks, Tribes, and Dirty Realists: American Fiction after Postmodernism, 2001) will have none of that: His Earp is "the greatest bouncer the West ever knew," a man skilled at rolling drunk cowboys and shaking down former Confederate soldiers. More than that, Earp lends his name to a strip of asphalt that runs through the heart of Dodge City, where drag racing and beer drinking formed the heart of Saturday night. Rebein's upbringing was eccentric but not particularly hard, by his account. His father was the master of the add-on and the remodeling project, but was otherwise fairly normal, though with twists. The owner of scrap heaps and habitué of body shops and other places where metal was king, he had a penchant for accumulating junkyard dogs, "all of them troubled in some way, unmanageable by anyone but him." For a young Rebein, the world of wrecked cars became a wonderland, and he writes lyrically of the things that turned up in them, from porn to lighters to photographs to ammunition. Elsewhere, he deconstructs aspects of small-town life on the Western plains, including the rodeo, which as a teenager he shunned as yet one more thing that spelled hick-dom but for which he has an older fellow's appreciation, and the casino, which has become a mainstay of Dodge City--and even more of a draw than the legend of Wyatt Earp. A minor but well-crafted work, and an all-too-rare glimpse of daily life in rural America.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804011426
Publisher:
Ohio University Press
Publication date:
02/20/2013
Edition description:
1
Pages:
236
Sales rank:
709,849
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Robert Rebein grew up in Dodge City, Kansas, where his family has farmed and ranched since the late 1920s. A graduate of the University of Kansas and Washington University in St. Louis, as well as England's Exeter University, Rebein teaches creative writing and directs the graduate program in English at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis.

In addition to Dragging Wyatt Earp, he is the author of Hicks, Tribes, and Dirty Realists, a study of the role of place in contemporary American fiction.

He lives in Irvington, on the east side of Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife, Alyssa Chase, and their two children, Ria and Jake.

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Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Robert did an excellent job of portraying what Dodge City was in the past and has become today.  I really enjoyed his juxtaposition of decisions the founding fathers made to attract the cowboys fresh from the cattle drive with the decisions Dodge City citizens are making today to continue to bring revenue to this historic city.  As a person who came of age in this interesting place, I particularly enjoyed his  memories of dragging Wyatt Earp.  His writing about the beautiful prairies and the role General George Custer played in the eventual  settlement of Kansas was very intriguing to read.