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Whiskey, Six-Guns and Red-Light Ladies: George Hand's Saloon Diary, Tucson, 1875-1878 Paperback – June, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: High Lonesome Books (June 1995)
  • ISBN-10: 0944383300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0944383308
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,979,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jim Turner on February 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Every town should be blessed with such a great record of their rowdy past, and thanks to Neil Carmony for editing this diary and making it available to all. George Hand came to Tucson in 1872 as an enlisted man and died there twenty years later. It is unusual for a blue-collar male to be so faithful to writing, and through his words one gets a clear view of his side of life in the Wild West. Sometimes it wasn't so wild, as boredom, heat, dust and disease took its toll. Hand describes the Mexican flavor of Tucson, the various types of settlers, forms of entertainment and just plain everyday life.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By STEPHEN T. McCARTHY on January 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
The miner, Civil War soldier, butcher, Saloon-keeper and night watchman, GEORGE HAND, kept a diary throughout most of his adult life. This book includes all of the entries from his Tucson, Arizona saloon-keeping years of 1875 through 1878, as well as his separate "obituary" sections encompassing the years '72 through '87. Don't let the cheesy, unfortunate title fool you, WHISKEY, SIX-GUNS & RED-LIGHT LADIES is an absolute gem! While I couldn't bring myself to give it the same number of Stars that I awarded to Lamsa's translation of THE HOLY BIBLE and Stormer's truly essential political tome, NONE DARE CALL IT TREASON: 25 YEARS LATER, this really is a Five-Star, must-own book for anyone interested in American West history!

Through HAND's day by day observations, we get an extraordinarily clear picture of life in the untamed Southwest territory of the 1800s. The Old West comes vibrantly alive as this common working man records his unvarnished impressions of what was then an unruly outpost on the frontier. WHISKEY, SIX-GUNS & RED-LIGHT LADIES is far from being a dry cataloging of names and events because the effervescent and humorously ironic personality of GEORGE HAND weaves wit and fascinating details into the simple diary, thus exhibiting for us the many textures of real Western life. The dust, heat, danger, boredom, "romance" and hardship of the authentic Wild West are on display on nearly every page. For example :

1875, JUNE 21. "...Cockeyed Jones left for Sonora -- what for, no one knows, not even himself."
SEPT. 30. "...Bedford was drunk all day -- he talked several men nearly to death."

1876, JAN. 27. "...In the evening I had a singing match with Morgan, with McDermott critic and sufferer. It was decided in my favor."
JUNE 25. "...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roger Karber on August 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
Reading George O. Hand's diary is an interesting but somewhat tedious process.. to a point. Adapting to the daily staccato of his jottings takes a bit of perseverance, but the pattern has the profound effect that at a certain point you literally feel you've passed from your world to his. He wasn't writing to impress anyone, just briefly chronicling the routine activities of his surroundings in post civil war Tucson, Arizona. As a barkeep and surveyor, in a remote military outpost, he reported on a lifestyle that can still be felt in the barrio neighborhoods which survive largely in tact in downtown Tucson. His maps and diary entries show there were no less than 36 saloons spread around only a few dozen blocks adjacent to Camp Lowell. Hookers, drunks, duels, and human folly play prominently in his descriptions of the interactions between town leaders and followers.. funerals are practically a daily activity. For anyone caring to experience Tucson in the late 1870's and early 1880's, George O' Hand's diary offers an amazing first hand account that will make you feel like you were there. You will never see the barrios the same way again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paula J. Marshall on September 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
George O Hand's diaries are an interesting spotlight to life in the late 1800's in the Tucson Arizona area. Boredom interspersed with excetement, arrival of the stage with letters from the outside world and day to day activities in the young town-- are all described. No one else can provide the same level of details George can. The extras in the book with photos an explainations made his diaries even more understandable. I also bought the book with his Civil War era diaries.
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