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The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral-And How It Changed the American West Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 17, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 244 customer reviews

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"An absorbing, meticulous account of the famous O.K. Corral gunfight as it really happened. . . . Guinn places his complex and nuanced story firmly within the context of the evolving Western frontier. . . . A great story." --"Kirkus Reviews" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jeff Guinn is the bestselling author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Last Gunfight and Go Down Together, which was a finalist for an Edgar Award in 2010. Formerly an award-winning investigative journalist and now a frequent guest on national radio and TV programs, he lives in Fort Worth, Texas.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781439154243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439154243
  • ASIN: 1439154244
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (244 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
An old Italian proverb roughly translates: "If it is not true it should be." Put in another fashion is the famous observation from the movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: "This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." The gunfight at the O.K. Corral is the stuff of legends, evoking a tale of a classic battle on the streets of Tombstone, Arizona, between the warring Earp and Clanton families. But the truth of the gunfight was far different from the legend. Indeed, the actual tale of the shooting would not even make a blip on the history radar were it not for subsequent portrayals based solely on myth rather than fact. The myths are the foundations upon which the legends are built.

While historical accounts and modern portrayals of the shooting in Tombstone are more fiction than fact, THE LAST GUNFIGHT by Jeff Guinn places the event in its historical context, offering significant insight into the true nature of the West in the late 1800s as America's continental expansion reached completion. History teaches us that the "wild west" was not as depicted in many movies and books. Cowboys did not roam the streets of communities such as Tombstone drawing down and shooting other cowboys. Actually, Tombstone had a gun ordinance in 1881, and most visitors to the city were required to surrender their weapons upon arrival. It was confusion about carrying and surrendering weapons that contributed to the O.K. Corral shooting, but as Guinn correctly notes, it was not the Clantons and Earps facing each other, drawing and shooting. In fact, it was 30 shots fired in mass confusion in around 30 seconds.

Reading THE LAST GUNFIGHT, one is struck by how little has changed in American history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jeff Guinn's book The Last Gunfight is a comprehensive, well ordered account of the myriad of factors leading up to the gunfight at O.K. corral, the fight itself and the aftermath. Considering the multitude of players, the complex patchwork of political, social and economic issues which formed the perfect storm, that became the gunfight...Mr. Guinn's book does a magnificent job of describing it all in a way that the average reader can understand, without getting too involved in the tiny details. There have been dozens of books written on the fight, the various characters such as Doc, Wyatt, Ringo, etc over the last 30 years, and this book is a welcome addition, as it is more of an overview, more comprehensive in scope then many of the previous books. This book does not play to the 1950s romantic vision of the west, but is more of a historical account, taking into count the truth where it can be found, and where the truth is less evident, the author outlines the various possible motives, or outcomes. I just finished reading this book this morning and am quite pleased to add it to my library of books on the famous event in Tombstone. I highly recommend it to other Tombstone/Earp/Doc Holliday/ O.K. corral buffs like myself.
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Format: Hardcover
This book about Wyatt Earp is well researched but I have a number of problems with it. Most of the problems are with the authors interpretations or opinions. A few examples:

1.The author many times mentioned that Wyatt Earp and his father were "determined to gain prominence." He wrote it so many times that I started to wonder if this was the author's projection. Take, for example, Wyatt's father Nicholas. Nicholas was elected wagon master of a 150 person wagon train that successfully traveled half way across America to California. I would think that this accomplishment alone would be enough prominence and respect for 99% of American males. But according to the author, it wasn't enough.

2.The author also frequently interjected that the Earp family wives were expected to remain quietly at home. I imagine that like almost of the women in frontier cities, they did shopping, attended civic events, attended church functions, listened to reading and lectures, and interacted with each other. At least the author doesn't present any evidence that they didn't. What would the author expect them to do. Go down an play a few hands of faro or attend a burlesque show?

3.There seem also to be strange omissions. In the tracking down and shooting the Dora Hand's killer, he writes: "..but one of the bullets plowed into Dora Hands right side and killed her. Wyatt and Bat Masterson let a posse in pursuit of Kenedy [the killer]. When the distance between Kenedy and the posse was about 75 yards, they exchanged shots." The author makes it sound like like the capture was immediate, easy, and swift. Actually it was the next day and 35 miles from Dodge. In the first place, 35 miles is a long distance to ride a horse.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not going to give a long winded and pompous opine of an otherwise excellent book. I've always been a fan of the Old West Story surrounding the gunfight near the O.K. Corral. And admittedly many, many years ago I fell for the fabricated myth surrounding Wyatt Earp. That's what held my fascination way back then - the classic "Good vs Bad" western story. But in the past 15 or so years I've come to realize that things in Tombstone at the time were not as black and white as Earp's bio and Hollywood would have us believe. "The Last Gufight" is a wonderful read; thoughtful, insightful and concise. I loved reading it. What I've suspected for so long is well presented in this tome. I highly recommend it to fans of the old West or just curious passer-bys. I can't see how anyone could not enjoy this book. Regrettably I feel that only those close minded individuals who still cater to the O.K. Corral myth would wish to critize it because it does burst a few balloons.
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