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Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait Paperback – March 15, 2001


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Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait + Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend + Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait will be considered the definitive Holliday biography and will supplant all previously published works on the man’s life as a complete and authoritative account. This book will undoubtedly take a place among the foremost books in the Western gunfighter genre." —Robert K. DeArment, author of Alias Frank Canton

About the Author

Karen Holliday Tanner is the author of Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wild West History Association.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (March 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806133201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806133201
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 114 people found the following review helpful By gboyer@histres.com on May 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Several years ago, Karen's mother wrote to me and wondered what to do with all the wonderful Doc Holliday memorabilia she had. In many cases, my radar warns me I am dealing with a faker who is trying to palm themselves off as a family member. Not this time. I promptly wrote back and in a few weeks, Karen Tanner, the author of this book was visiting us with her husband, John, who is a history professor. Her mother was in her terminal illness, but Karen, like her mother and her husband, thought they should do something with the treasure trove of inside family information they possessed. I had hoped that someday the Holliday family would step up and tell their story. This had been partilally done by Doc's relative, Susan McKey Thomas, but it was not as detailed as I had hoped. (A fine book, by the way, highly commendable, and everyone should read it that is interested in Doc.) All that aside, I encouraged Karen to do a book and she started it right where I am sitting on the word processor on which I am writing this. After two years of field work, assisted by her husband, Karen produced the Doc book I had hoped for. It will be the ultimate work, in my opinion. You have to read it to appreciate the riches of photos, family insights, memorabilia, recollections, and rich detail that brings us Doc as he was. I can hardly say more. Read it and judge for yourself. It will be a long while before a book of this unique nature graces the field of Western history. A true treasure. A delight to read. A remarkable comparison of fact vs. the former myths that passed as biographies. Glenn G. Boyer
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Henry on January 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The first time I watched the movie Tombstone, I was heartbroken that it chose to focus on the Earp family, rather than Doc Holliday who seemed SO much more interesting! After the movie, I realized that I knew very little about this man other than his nickname. I started to search for factual information about "Doc" Holliday, and not much is available.
This is a FANTASTIC book. Forget your romantic notions about the gunslinger, and be prepared to meet the real man who is much more fascinating and WORTHY OF ADMIRATION than you would have believed previously.
The greatest weakness of this book is also it's greatest strength since the book is authored by a Holliday cousin. She has access to a wealth of information and photos that the publisher claims has never been available before its 1999 printing of this book. However, when it comes to certain scandals, you can easily see how she chooses to represent history in a favorable light. Probably best read in conjunction with other first hand but less biased sources.
Definately worth owning. A very easy read. Would make a great gift to interest a teenager in reading or in history.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Stonewall on November 14, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A true work of any historical person requires a lot of research.Karen Holliday Tanner not only uncovers a lot of research that disproves the "Fairy Tale" of Stuart Lake but uncovers facts unknown till now.Doc was a Southern Gentleman.How a person is raised,their family life,religious beliefs,whether they have a higher education background are factors that shape a man.

Thus it is appropiate this is titled "A Family Portrait".Ms Tanner explains in detail how all these factors and the life he had to live due to TB evolved into the person he had to become----not the life of Dentistry he wanted.Of course Doc was his own worst enemy towards the recovery of his TB.

Anyone who reads this and does not see a throughly researched book (such as reviewer Mr Warren----who must be clueless to excellent writing or beholding to Stuart Lake)has missed out on the closest to the truth as we can get on Doc Holliday.

If reviewers like Mr Warren can do better than a relative of Doc's then write the book and prove it.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 1998
Format: Hardcover
THE TOMBSTONE EPITAPH, July 1998 -- Review by C. F. Eckhardt, Book Bag Editor.
From the publication of this book on, any work about or mentioning John Henry Holliday, DDS, which does not list this book as a source must be considered essentially the product of imagination.
Previous serious attempts at biography of Doc Holliday had their good points, but they lacked one thing: No one had any real information on the background of the young Georgia dentist who became Doc Holliday.
The Holliday Family, for over a century, refused to even discuss their notorious relative with anyone outside the family circle. As a result, the background information in those books was based upon rumor, gossip, and a few matters of public record, some of which was relatively accurate but much of which was pure moonshine.
At long last the Holliday's have broken the silence. Tanner writes, "Enough time has past so that there is no one left who feels either shame or guilt over the life ! of John Henry." Therefore, from the Holliday family Bibles, letters, unpublished family manuscripts, genealogical records, and the gathered memories of the family, she has given us the story of a shy, retiring, handicapped child whose life was turned upside down twice -- once by the War Between the States and Reconstruction, and again by the death of his beloved mother and his father's hasty remarriage to a woman only eight years the senior of his son -- who became the legend known across the American West as `Doc Holliday.'
This is the single `must have' book on the subject of Doc Holliday. Any of the other biographies are worth reading, but only if you read them in conjunction with DOC HOLLIDAY, A FAMILY PORTRAIT will you get the full picture of the man who became Doc Holliday.
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