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The McLaurys in Tombstone, Arizona: An O.K. Corral Obituary (A.C. Greene) Hardcover – July 30, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This important work provides new insight into the two brothers who died on that fateful day, and to the family that carried the scar. This book is essential for any student of Tombstone and the gunfight.”—Casey Tefertiller, author of Wyatt Earp: The Life behind the Legend



“A major benefit of this work is the inclusion of previously unpublished letters from within the McLaury family. For the first time we have an inner look at how the McLaurys viewed some of the significant events presented by Paul Lee Johnson.”—Roy B. Young, editor of the Wild West History Association Journal



“Given the limited personal material to work with, Johnson has done a masterful job of the lives and times of important figures in the Tombstone story. It comes together as a very human story. Even the unanswered questions are more tantalizing because of the story he tells. Johnson has written a book indispensable to the story of Tombstone and the Cow-Boy troubles.”—Gary L. Roberts, author of Doc Holliday


"Until now little reliable has been written on the McLaurys, but this has been substantially remedied with the publication of The McLaurys in Tombstone, Arizona, which attempts to bring their lives, careers and motivations into the light of historical fidelity. Years of patient and extensive research by author Paul Lee Johnson has produced a carefully-crafted volume, replete with much contemporaneous documentation."--True West


"Make no mistake--Paul Lee Johnson is one exceptional researcher. His work on the McLaurys in Tombstone, in addition to providing a meticulous chronicle of these two young men and their family, is the best compendium available of events in that boomtown during the apex of its brief, notorious arc, 1879-1882. . . . Johnson has produced a needed counterweight to bring the Tombstone story into balance, speaking for those who did not survive to speak for themselves."--Wild West History Association Journal


"In piecing together the narrative of the three McLaury brothers, Paul Lee Johnson has filled a major gap in an oft-told tale. He skillfully recounts the familiar background story with clarity and freshness, and he has produced a volume that is a notable addition to the literature of Tombstone's most compelling drama."--Journal of Arizona History


"The Earp brothers and even the dashing Doc Holliday cannot escape the author's attempt at leveling the playing field of historical memory. . . . [T]his entertaining book will serve to remind its readers that victors cannot lay total claim to history."--Southwestern Historical Quarterly


"Paul Lee Johnson’s more nuanced approach to the O.K. Corral drama presents a far more complicated picture of the McLaury brothers. The author has painstakingly pieced together the McLaurys’ backstory through secondary works and primary sources that include newspaper articles, private letters, unpublished manuscripts, public records, and interviews with McLaury descendants. Johnson shows that Frank and Tom were not the black-hearted desperados that history has made them out to be. In many ways, they were just like other settlers who headed West hoping for a better life."--New Mexico Historical Review

About the Author

 PAUL LEE JOHNSON is the author of several articles on the famous gunfight in Tombstone, Arizona, and a featured speaker at the annual Tombstone Territory Rendezvous. He is director of the Nightwatch program at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. He and his wife, Mary, have two grown children.

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Product Details

  • Series: A.C. Greene
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University of North Texas Press; First Edition edition (July 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157441450X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574414509
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,387,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. A. Petro on November 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The elaborate,and sometimes,tediuos research presented in this volume sheds light on the "other" two victims of the historic gunfight-the brothers McLaury. If you are an afficianado of western lore, this book is a treasure trove of newspaper articles,first-hand letters and just plain old,good research. It presents a portrait of two ranchers,the McLaurys,who lived on both sides of the law in order to survive and thrive in the Tombstone area. One might say it was their bad luck to be with the "cowboys" on that fatal day in October of 1881. It also sheds light on the fact that there were no really "good" or "bad" guys but forces both personal and political that erupted on that day. I would highly recommend this to the Western historian;the casual reader might find it a bit overwhelming.
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Format: Hardcover
The most in depth study to date on two of the often-misunderstood participants at the gunfight near the OK Corral. It is true that history is written by the winners but now Paul L. Johnson has stepped in to represent two of the deceased. Tom and Frank McLaury were not able to tell their story because they were killed in that bloody street fight.

Will McLaury, attorney and brother of Tom and Frank, is revealed as a struggling attorney, father, loyal brother, and a man with an inner struggle as he attempts to bring about justice for his dead brothers.

Paul covers a complex political, social and environmental landscape in a way that readily allows the reader to follow the shenanigans in a struggling mining town. Tombstone, Arizona, wanted to be a cultured city but instead was plagued by rustlers, stagecoach robbers, Indians, and political factions made up of lawmen, gamblers, miners, journalists and attorneys.

The author separates Tom and Frank from the broad brush approach by pointing out they were not Confederate Texas drovers but Yankees, whose brother Will was a Republican attorney. Available information on the brother's time in Arizona is put into context with the tapestry of a rugged and rural Arizona county, bordering Mexico.

McLaury family members were interviewed to help compose a background not only on the story of the family but the relationships within the family. The book is not an anti -Earp or pro-cowboy approach but a revelation of new information and fresh observations.

The McLaury Brothers is thoroughly researched and gives an honest account of two struggling ranchers/cowboys, caught on a violent frontier.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a newcomer to American Western History and in particular to the 1880-1885 time period of Tombstone, however, I would easily say that Paul Johnson did not leave very many stones "unturned". I was blown away with the depth & detail of the political background presented that lead up to the famous gunfight in October of 1881. Mr. Johnson placed a number of "small", somewhat inconspicuous happenings in that region of the country that put a third dimension to it all. I loved it. The book surrounds the reader with much more of the reality of the issues that shaped the people that lived in that region. I will have to say that at times it seemed to get carried away with too much detail but overall, in my opinion, WELL WORTH THE READ, if you are into American Western History. Thank you Mr. PAUL Johnson. I will look forward to any of your other books.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent review of correct facts in the history of my great uncles, Tom and Frank Mc Laury. Mr. Johnson did an excellent job of research and am very proud to say I was able to help with the history. I know that many, many hours, days and years have gone into the writing of this book. Kudos to Mr. Paul Lee Johnson.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The OK Corral story is one American THINKS they know ... until someone like Paul Johnson scrapes away the dust and the myths, and reveals a whole new set of facts and a whole new perspective on it. Kudos for an excellently written and historically written - and just plain fun - history of the McLaury family and how they became a lost corner of American history.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As a distant cousin to the McLaury boys (3rd cousin, 4x removed) I have only ever known the stories that my grandfather would tell me when I was a child. Many of us kids always thought that he was just full of stories and pulling our leg since his name was spelled different from Tom & Frank. Recently I came to find out that several generations, after coming to America from Ireland and Scotland had changed the spelling back and forth and then back to the traditional again (McClaughry). I have not had the opportunity to read this book as of yet, but greatly look forward to reading the various news clippings, letters and insights from my ancestors to discover the truths about the McLaury Boys and that fateful day in 1881, in Tombstone, AZ! (Their 2x great grandfather, Thomas McLaughry - born in 1717 Ireland, is my 6x great grandfather). After I have the chance to read it, if I don't agree with a 5 star rating. I will come back and amend my review.
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