The most recommended books on Wyatt Earp

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10 authors created a book list connected to Wyatt Earp, and here are their favorite Wyatt Earp books.
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Book cover of Doc

Michelle Rene Author Of Hour Glass

From my list on western historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in West Texas, westerns were just as good as bedtime stories to me. I grew up with all the greats… and the not as greats. The quality didn’t always matter because the spirit was the same. Freedom, opportunity, and possible lawlessness. Survival of the quickest draw. An untamed place where anything could happen. Someone once said that the western genre was America’s genre. It was invented here and our frontier spirit inspired the world. When I decided to write Hour Glass, I channeled the independent spirit of those westerns I grew up with. I wrote the first draft in sixteen days out of pure passion for the subject matter. 

Michelle's book list on western historical fiction

Michelle Rene Why did Michelle love this book?

This book is probably the closest title to my own. Doc is centered around everyone’s favorite dandy gunslinger, Doc Holliday. It is a truly entertaining and informative tale of the real Doc’s life before his legendary stand at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone. While Wyatt and Morgan Earp play important roles in the story, Doc Holliday is definitely your Huckleberry. 

If you love it like I do, the author wrote a continuation called Epitaph: An O.K. Corral Story. You won’t be sorry.

By Mary Doria Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Doc as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The year is 1878, peak of the Texas cattle trade. The place is Dodge City, Kansas, a saloon-filled cow town jammed with liquored-up adolescent cowboys and young Irish hookers. Violence is random and routine, but when the burned body of a mixed-blood boy named Johnnie Sanders is discovered, his death shocks a part-time policeman named Wyatt Earp. And it is a matter of strangely personal importance to Doc Holliday, the frail twenty-six-year-old dentist who has just opened an office at No. 24, Dodge House. Beautifully educated, born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday is given…


Book cover of Epitaph

Venetia Hobson Lewis Author Of Changing Woman: A Novel of the Camp Grant Massacre

From my list on the old west with in-depth characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an amalgam of all of my varied interests and varied employments from actress and singer to corporate paralegal at a movie studio. Since my teenage years, I’ve loved to research. That joy leads into writing factually-accurate historical fiction set in the West. Delving into the private lives of both the fictional and the real people gives the reader a better understanding of the characters’ designated paths leading to the events upon which my novel is based. My recommendations for the best books set in the West with in-depth characters have qualities I’ve employed in my novel. Some of these books also delve into characters from differing races, reflecting most towns in the Old West.

Venetia's book list on the old west with in-depth characters

Venetia Hobson Lewis Why did Venetia love this book?

Perhaps Arizona’s most widely recognized event, the thirty seconds of gunfight at O.K. Corral in Tombstone isn’t the main emphasis in Epitaph. That belongs to Russell’s engrossing depictions of the intensely personal relationships between the Earp brothers, their girlfriends and wives, their routines, and addictions.

As I found out in researching for my novel, if you get the accurate facts about the personalities and actions of the good and the bad people, who actually lived in the Old West, you’re well on the way to writing a novel.  

John Philip Clum started the newspaper in Tombstone and called it Epitaph, because “No tombstone is complete without its epitaph.” To complete your reading about the Old West, include Epitaph.

By Mary Doria Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Epitaph as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mary Doria Russell, the bestselling, award-winning author of The Sparrow, returns with Epitaph. An American Iliad, this richly detailed and meticulously researched historical novel continues the story she began in Doc, following Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday to Tombstone, Arizona, and to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

A deeply divided nation. Vicious politics. A shamelessly partisan media. A president loathed by half the populace. Smuggling and gang warfare along the Mexican border. Armed citizens willing to stand their ground and take law into their own hands. . . . 

That was America in 1881.

All those forces came to…


Book cover of Ride the Devil's Herd: Wyatt Earp's Epic Battle Against the West's Biggest Outlaw Gang

Mark Warren Author Of The Long Road to Legend: Wyatt Earp, an American Odyssey Book One

From my list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a teacher of primitive survival skills. As a young boy, I was fascinated with the concept of courage. At seven, I read the pseudo-biography of Wyatt Earp, a wonderfully written account of a courageous man. This book began my lifelong interest in Mr. Earp. Eventually, I met many of the giants in Western history research and accompanied them into the field. After 65 years of collecting the facts, I wanted to use my novelistic skills to portray the life and times of Wyatt Earp as best as the record shows.

Mark's book list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field

Mark Warren Why did Mark love this book?

Boessenecker has achieved a fine reputation for honesty and thoroughness in his research, plus he has learned how to structure his books to carry a reader forward as a novel does. His book puts into scope how major an event it was for Wyatt Earp to go up against the organized crime gang (known as the “cow-boys”) that had corrupted Southern Arizona. Many of these outlaws had drifted west from New Mexico after taking part in the bloodbath called the Lincoln County War. Ride the Devil’s Herd is more than a history book. It’s a great ride in itself.

By John Boessenecker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ride the Devil's Herd as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Best Book Award by the Wild West History Association

A ripsnortin' ramble across the bloodstained Arizona desert with Wyatt Earp and company… A pleasure for thoughtful fans of Old West history, revisionist without being iconoclastic. —Kirkus Reviews

Wyatt Earp is regarded as the most famous lawman of the Old West, best known for his role in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. But the story of his two-year war with a band of outlaws known as the Cowboys has never been told in full.

Drawing on groundbreaking research into territorial and federal government records,…


Book cover of The Buntline Special

Julie Bozza Author Of Writ in Blood

From my list on set in the weird Wild West.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a good story that crosses genres; seeing where they mesh together, playing with where they differ, and letting the various parts spark into a whole that’s greater still. Though my writing usually takes place in the “real” everyday world, I often introduce supernatural elements. Partly because, while I’m an atheist, I still believe there are more things in the universe and on earth than we yet know. And partly because these elements, whether real or imagined on the part of the character, can act as splendid metaphors – or help to understand a state of mind. 

Julie's book list on set in the weird Wild West

Julie Bozza Why did Julie love this book?

This short novel is heaps of fun! It’s another take on the Tombstone story, told from Doc Holliday’s point of view with great wry wit. This Doc is an engaging and unexpectedly kind character, with little or no hint of his reputed “mean disposition”. Weird elements include steampunk – with Thomas Edison living in Tombstone and bringing not only electric light but cyborg sex workers – as well as an undead Johnny Ringo, and supernatural justice wielded by the Native American shamans. It’s delightful!

By Mike Resnick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Buntline Special as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to a West like you've never seen before, where electric lights shine down on the streets of Tombstone, while horseless stagecoaches carry passengers to and fro, and where death is no obstacle to The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo. Think you know the story of the O.K. Corral? Think again, as five-time Hugo winner Mike Resnick takes on his first steampunk western tale, and the West will never be the same.


Book cover of Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Posse Rider: The Story of Texas Jack Vermillion

Mark Warren Author Of The Long Road to Legend: Wyatt Earp, an American Odyssey Book One

From my list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a teacher of primitive survival skills. As a young boy, I was fascinated with the concept of courage. At seven, I read the pseudo-biography of Wyatt Earp, a wonderfully written account of a courageous man. This book began my lifelong interest in Mr. Earp. Eventually, I met many of the giants in Western history research and accompanied them into the field. After 65 years of collecting the facts, I wanted to use my novelistic skills to portray the life and times of Wyatt Earp as best as the record shows.

Mark's book list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field

Mark Warren Why did Mark love this book?

Researchers/writers today make great use of the Internet, but perhaps no one does it better than Peter Brand. Living in Australia, he can make only infrequent trips to America, yet he seems to be able to mine records on the Internet to find the nuggets that others have missed. His revelations about the loyal men who attached to Wyatt Earp in his quest to avenge his assassinated brother, Morgan, have expanded our knowledge of the Earp story to a tremendous degree. Brand is also a personal friend of mine. Each new publication of his throws new light on the shadowy episodes that Earp aficionados want to better understand. It is quite an accomplishment for Peter to gain the status he has achieved among historians. Who would believe that an Aussie could become one of the vanguards of Western research?

Book cover of Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend

Mark Warren Author Of The Long Road to Legend: Wyatt Earp, an American Odyssey Book One

From my list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a teacher of primitive survival skills. As a young boy, I was fascinated with the concept of courage. At seven, I read the pseudo-biography of Wyatt Earp, a wonderfully written account of a courageous man. This book began my lifelong interest in Mr. Earp. Eventually, I met many of the giants in Western history research and accompanied them into the field. After 65 years of collecting the facts, I wanted to use my novelistic skills to portray the life and times of Wyatt Earp as best as the record shows.

Mark's book list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field

Mark Warren Why did Mark love this book?

I know Gary Roberts personally, and I have always considered him to be “the voice of reason” in debates concerning Western American history. He is, in my opinion, one of the top three most authoritative researchers in the field of Wyatt Earp. Others who know him treat his conclusions as the final word on a topic. His scholarly work is beautifully written for all levels of readers, from beginner to aficionado to expert. His book on Doc Holliday can be thought of as the companion reader to Mr. Tefertiller’s book.

By Gary L. Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Doc Holliday as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"You can't beat this story for drama...An omnibus of everything ever known, spoken, or written about Doc Holliday." -Publishers Weekly "An engagingly written, persuasively argued, solidly documented work of scholarship that will surely take its place in the literature of the Old West." -Booklist In Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend, the historian Gary Roberts takes aim at the most complex, perplexing, and paradoxical gunfighter of the Old West, drawing on more than twenty years of research-including new primary sources-in his quest to separate the life from the legend. Doc Holliday was a study in contrasts: the legendary gunslinger who…


Book cover of Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend

Mark Warren Author Of The Long Road to Legend: Wyatt Earp, an American Odyssey Book One

From my list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a teacher of primitive survival skills. As a young boy, I was fascinated with the concept of courage. At seven, I read the pseudo-biography of Wyatt Earp, a wonderfully written account of a courageous man. This book began my lifelong interest in Mr. Earp. Eventually, I met many of the giants in Western history research and accompanied them into the field. After 65 years of collecting the facts, I wanted to use my novelistic skills to portray the life and times of Wyatt Earp as best as the record shows.

Mark's book list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field

Mark Warren Why did Mark love this book?

The public was introduced to Wyatt Earp’s story by Walter Noble Burns and Stuart Lake around 1930, but the novelistic liberties taken by these two writers produced two books of fantasy. Other writers who reacted to this fiction swung to the other end of the spectrum and wrote damning indictments against Wyatt Earp. Tefertiller gives us the facts and leaves it to the reader to parse Wyatt Earp, the man.

I have visited many a Sonoran Desert site with Mr. Tefertiller—places where events in the Earp saga took place. There we have engaged in conversations and batted around ideas. I judge him to be a most reliable and dedicated researcher/writer.

By Casey Tefertiller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wyatt Earp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Quite impressive. I doubt if there has been or will be a more deeply researched and convincing account." --Evan Connell, author Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Bighorn "The book to end all Earp books--the most complete, and most meticulously researched." --Jack Burrows, author John Ringo: The Gunfighter Who Never Was "The most thoughtful, well-researched, and comprehensive account that has been written about the development and career of an Old-West lawman." --The Tombstone Tumbleweed "A great adventure story, and solid history." --Kirkus Reviews "A major contribution to the history of the American West. It provides the first…


Book cover of Little Big Man

Alice Duncan Author Of Domesticated Spirits

From my list on humanity and its often savage inhumanity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been blessed (or cursed) with a vivid imagination since childhood. Add to that the fact that my first three years were spent on a farm in Maine with nobody around but my mother and my sister, and I grew into a person who is happy alone and making up stories. After my family moved to California, I went to school with all colors, races, and religions and my sense of inclusiveness is abundant. Most of my stories deal with unfairness imposed upon humans by other humans. Nearly all of my books are funny, too, even when I don’t mean them to be. Absurdity is my pal.

Alice's book list on humanity and its often savage inhumanity

Alice Duncan Why did Alice love this book?

This is the story of Jack Crabbe. Jack was reared by both white and Cheyenne folks.

His story is a masterpiece and describes the destruction of Native Americans along with their way of life (including the bison they relied on). According to Jack, he even participated in the Battle of Little Big Horn and was the only white man who survived.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in American history and who wants to read about it in an entertaining way. There’s no way to disguise the hateful way European settlers wiped out native tribes and/or enslaved Natives and Blacks, but at least this is an engaging account thereof.

By Thomas Berger,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Little Big Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I am a white man and never forget it, but I was brought up by the Cheyenne Indians from the age of ten.' So starts the story of Jack Crabb, the 111-year old narrator of Thomas Berger's masterpiece of American fiction. As a "human being", as the Cheyenne called their own, he won the name Little Big Man. He dressed in skins, feasted on dog, loved four wives and saw his people butchered by the horse soldiers of General Custer, the man he had sworn to kill.

As a white man, Crabb hunted buffalo, tangled with Wyatt Earp, cheated Wild…


Book cover of A Wyatt Earp Anthology: Long May His Story Be Told

Mark Warren Author Of The Long Road to Legend: Wyatt Earp, an American Odyssey Book One

From my list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a teacher of primitive survival skills. As a young boy, I was fascinated with the concept of courage. At seven, I read the pseudo-biography of Wyatt Earp, a wonderfully written account of a courageous man. This book began my lifelong interest in Mr. Earp. Eventually, I met many of the giants in Western history research and accompanied them into the field. After 65 years of collecting the facts, I wanted to use my novelistic skills to portray the life and times of Wyatt Earp as best as the record shows.

Mark's book list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field

Mark Warren Why did Mark love this book?

Within these pages lie the latest gems of research that expands our knowledge of Wyatt Earp’s life events and character. Each of these contributions by a variety of authors is considered a revelation in the field of Earpiana. Readers cannot know the whole story of Earp without these long-lost chapters of Western history.

By Roy B. Young, Gary L. Roberts, Casey Tefertiller

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Wyatt Earp Anthology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wyatt Earp is one of the most legendary figures of the nineteenth-century American West, notable for his role in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. He was a product of his time, often walking both sides of the street, sometimes on the side of law and order and sometimes as the law-breaker. Some see him as the "Lion of Tombstone," a hero lawman of the Wild West, whereas others see him as yet another outlaw, a pimp, and failed lawman.

Roy B. Young, Gary L. Roberts, and Casey Tefertiller, all notable experts on Earp and the Wild…