Lady at the OK Corral

Lady at the OK Corral

by Ann Kirshner

Debbie Weiss (09/02/13): Judy, Gail and I belong to the same book club and this was last month's book selection. I never would have selected this book on my own, but sometimes you are pleasantly surprised by the group's book selection and your horizons are broadened. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Lady at the O.K. Corral. I found the book reading more like a research paper, very dry and to me, boring. As it is, the author is an academic and possibly this was the subject matter that she and her graduate students were researching. I must say though, that I did come away from this read with a greater understanding of the Alaskan gold rush, the old West and of the life of Wyatt Earp.

Gail Reid (09/02/13): One thing that a book club will do for you is often take you in a direction that you would never travel alone. To that end, Lady at the OK Corral may be my first-ever encounter with the Old West.

I agree with every comment that Judy has made; in particular, the author's inability to support the significance of Wyatt Earp's common-law wife Josephine's Jewishness, because it mattered very little in the book. The writing was often dry, filled with historical minutiae that few people appreciate.

Negative comments aside,I thought the author did a coompelling job of rendering life in the Old West. At the first call of a gold or metal strike, Josie and Wyatt pulled up stakes, made camp out of nothing in California, Nevada or Alaska and set about prospecting and setting up saloons and brothels (to Josie's chagrin). This itinerant life appealed to them and they were well suited in this regard. The couple liked nothing better - even in advanced age - than sleeping under the stars. It is these passages that I thought introduced me to the best parts of the Old West. ***+

Judy Stanton (07/28/13): I find that some books have a great story behind them, but once you know the storyline, the author almost has to work harder at maintaining your interest. The story of Josephine Marcus Earp, a Jewish lady who became Mrs. Wyatt Earp, sounds like it would be a great read. However, frankly, I put it down after 50 pages and didn't intend to return was I not reading it for a book club. I did return, and waded my way through it, and although I found parts interesting -- learning about the pioneering spirit of Americans; the gold rush in Nome, Alaska; the development of boom towns in the wild west; and even how Hollywood got turned on to Westerns -- too often I felt that Kirschner was reiterating the research facts rather than trying to make this a compelling book read. I think she spent too much time ...and I frankly breezed through ....the issue of various folks trying to write about Wyatt Earp's life, and the issues with Mrs. Earp finding a life after his death. Still, it did reveal a story behind the wild west/cowboy TV shows and movies many of us watched growing up, and revealed the real story behind some of them.

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