Read Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait by Karen Holliday Tanner Robert K. Dearment Online


John H. Holliday, D. D. S., better known as Doc Holliday, has become a legendary figure in the history of the American West. In Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait, Karen Holliday Tanner reveals the real man behind the legend. Shedding light on Holliday’s early years, in a prominent Georgia family during the Civil War and Reconstruction, she examines the elements that shaped hJohn H. Holliday, D. D. S., better known as Doc Holliday, has become a legendary figure in the history of the American West. In Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait, Karen Holliday Tanner reveals the real man behind the legend. Shedding light on Holliday’s early years, in a prominent Georgia family during the Civil War and Reconstruction, she examines the elements that shaped his destiny: his birth defect, the death of his mother and estrangement from his father, and the diagnosis of tuberculosis, which led to his journey west. The influence of Holliday’s genteel upbringing never disappeared, but it was increasingly overshadowed by his emerging western personality. Holliday himself nurtured his image as a frontier gambler and gunman.Using previously undisclosed family documents and reminiscences as well as other primary sources, Tanner documents the true story of Doc’s friendship with the Earp brothers and his run-ins with the law, including the climactic shootout at the O. K. Corral and its aftermath.This first authoritative biography of Doc Holliday should appeal both to historians of the West and to general readers who are interested in his poignant story....

Title : Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780806133201
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait Reviews

  • Marley
    2018-11-20 23:15

    After reading Casey Tefertiller's Wyatt Earp, I got interested in Doc Holliay.. Or rather re-interested in him. I was attracted to this book since it's written as a family memoir with archival material not released earlier Though larger book are obviously going to tell a larger story, I found this book in a class by itself.I always knew that Doc was from a respectable family and was a genuine dentist, but I had no idea how respectable or how good of a dentist he really was. You couldn't get much more respectable and his forebears and family descendants carried on in the tradition. Up until recently they didn't want to open up that can of whop that was their "notorious" relation.Doc didn't start out bad, and in fact, I don't think he was bad at all, though one may say flawed. With doctors in his background, Doc showed an interest in medicine as a profession, but an uncle, distressed and angry that the medical professional prided itself in unregulation and shysterism, and heroic medicine, suggested dentistry. Off Doc sent to Philly where he became a highly trained dentist,(and it seems a practitioner of painless dentistry) returning to Griffin, GA to set up practice. Alas, he also came down with TB which sent him West, not only for a recover, which never happened, but to game tables. If there one thing Doc loved in life it were gambling, especially faro. Before long, sometimes unable to work due to illness, Doc was dealing cards, buying into saloons and game rooms and living a high life (more or less). He became friends with Bat Masterson and the Earps. His entanglement in the shootout at the OK Corral really marks his only step into serious notoriety, but it stuck with him. Doc was hardy a hired gun, his reputation as a killer was greatly exaggerated ,but he most likely did knock off one of the McLaurys and a couple others later.Ever a wanderer, Doc attempted to keep up his practice throughout the West, but the TB got the better of him, and he ended up dealing or playing. He died impoverished (as did Wyatt Earp), but with a reputation that stands today. The book has lots of family pictures, maps, and diagrams. The real Doc Holliday is much more interesting that the legend.

  • Beverly
    2018-12-10 02:31

    This book was written by a Holliday family member, using family papers not available to other researchers. I was more interested in this than in The Last Gunfight. I would expect as much as I am more interested in the workings of people than of events.

  • David
    2018-11-13 20:25

    This was a fun read which shows how the Holiday family was related to the author of Gone with the Wind and how the actual Doctor Holliday may have served as a model for the character Rhett Butler. The book also documents how the person we know as Doc Holliday was on the cutting edge of Dentistry and science of the time. Interestingly he was a mamas boy who love classical music

  • Deidre
    2018-11-25 01:40

    Great biography of John Henry Holliday. Wonderful research in family papers, archives all over the west, etc. Weird note about an archivist that refuses to show researchers documentation she claims to have. Troubled that such a person claims to be an archivist. What a disgrace.Great read - a must for any Old West fans.

  • Chris Cook
    2018-12-04 22:37

    I topical look at the infamous, Doc Holliday. Written by a family member with access to family documents previously not available to other biographers...this book works hard not to embellish and further proliferate the tall tales of other writers.

  • Tom Barnes
    2018-11-15 00:19

    Doc Holliday: A Famil arched and written. Karen Holliday Tanner draws on family history, papers, albums and oral stories to augment hard research of libraries, museums, historical societies and personal collections. Through her exhaustive research, Ms. Tanner puts to rest some of the wild exaggerations of killings, life of a con man, and criminal schemes supposedly perpetrated by Doc during his life. Young John Henry Holliday’s early days were spent in Griffin, Georgia with his father Henry Holliday and mother Alice. Henry Holliday was a prominent Griffin citizen, first clerk of the court of Spalding County, and was involved in real estate and land speculation. The elder Holliday had a military background and had fought in the Mexican War. Early in the Civil War he served in the Confederate Army in Virginia. Following his military service Holliday purchased land in South Georgia and moved his family there.Alice Holliday contracted tuberculosis and died in September of 1866. John Henry mourned the loss of his mother and felt that his father had betrayed her name when he married Rachel Martin less than three months after the death of mother Holliday. The marriage caused a schism between father and son that never quite healed.John Henry was a bright student and eventually chose dentistry as a profession. He graduated from The Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in 1872 and returned to Atlanta where he practiced dentistry until he contracted tuberculosis and traveled west in search of a dryer climate.While in Dallas John Henry stayed with the dental profession, but added another to augment his income. He spent time at the gaming tables and eventually became a skilled Frontier Gambler. After several years in Dallas he joined the gambling circuit and traveled to Denison, Denver, Deadwood and points in between. He became known as Doc Holliday and using his charm, wit and gambling skills Doc made a name for himself and collected an array of friends Kate Elder, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Luke Short and Eddie Foy just to name a few.While in Dodge City Doc saved Wyatt Earp from an angry mob of drunken cowboys and Wyatt never forgot it. Doc and Wyatt were both well known in gambling circles, but the incident that turned them into legends was the shootout at the OK Corral.Doc stood with Wyatt and his brothers on the side of law and order against Cochise County’s political ring. The Earps and Holliday won the gunfight, but ring outlaws caused a bloodbath that eventually, to get out of the line of fire, Doc and Wyatt moved to Colorado.Wyatt dug for silver in the Gunnison and Doc played the tables at Leadville. But due to failing health Doc quit the games and retired to Glenwood Springs, Colorado where he died of tuberculosis on November 8, 1887. A must read to flesh out the full Holliday picture

  • Sean McLachlan
    2018-12-08 22:20

    This book on one of the Wild West's most famous figures is written by his great-grandniece. Holliday came from genteel Southern aristocracy who were horrified at the noteriety he gained in his lifetime. As the author states, they "circled the wagons" and never talked to outsiders about him.Now that it's been so long, Tanner decided to write a book on her ancestor based on family memoirs and stories. What we get is a sympathetic look at Holliday, especially his early years and family.The best part of the book is the details. For example, it turns out Holliday was born with a cleft palate that was succesfully operated on, although it left him with a speech impediment in his early years that made him a quiet and bookish child. He later went on to study dentistry. When he contracted TB, he headed out West to practice his trade and clean out his lungs.He soon got sucked into the frontier world of saloons and gambling houses. He'd learned lots of card games and tricks from one of the family slaves and this served him well. His time in Tombstone is covered well, although not in the detail that many coming to this book will probably like.The book is illustrated with numerous never-before-published photographs of family figures and personal items of Doc's. All in all, it's a fascinating and lively read.There are two reasons I don't give this five stars. First, I get the impression that Tanner is a bit too sympathetic, hardly surprising considering she's writing about family. While Doc's gunfighting and resultant body count has been vastly exaggerated over the years, he comes off much cleaner than even academic readers make him out to be. i also think she went a bit too lightly over the key elements of Doc's career, namely Tombstone. Those wanting to know more about that will not find this a standalone book.

  • John
    2018-12-04 20:43

    It was interesting to read this just to get a sense of what life was like in the west at that time. It's crazy the way people moved around. Holliday lived in Houston, west Texas, Denver, Dodge City, Tombstone, Deadwood, Leadville, Las Vegas (new mexico), Glenwood Springs, and I'm forgetting some too. It seems that gamblers especially just moved to new towns as soon as possible, and after a little while the new towns would pass anti gambling laws, so the gamblers would pack up and go to another town. But they really covered a LOT of ground. I thought at first that Holliday was just a gunfighter because he knew he was going to die of tuberculosis and figured, "what the hell", but actually he didn't do that much gunfighting. Maybe he was better at it because he knew he was going to die, but really if the OK corral thing hadn't happened, most of the other stuff was quick and angry, pulling guns at the card table kind of stuff. No high noon shootouts. Anyway, this is interesting stuff if you want a case study of how people moved around and made a living in the old west. The author seems a WEE bit defensive about the ol' slavery issue, which leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. She protests a little too much about how attached the Holliday's slaves were to the family, back before Doc went west. And she dismisses as nothing Holliday's only real shootout in the east, when he apparently shot at some black kids who were in a white swimming hole. Frankly, that does say something about his character, plus his willingness to use a gun to show off and solve problems. Not to mention his attitude towards blacks. But the author here doesn't seem to think it's very important.

  • Chris
    2018-12-08 22:41

    I first read this book a few years ago while trying to learn the facts behind the legends of the Old West. I thought that rereading it may offer further insight, though I think I over estimated that. The book is enjoyable and full of real information - though it is a bit dry and academic. Of course, the idea is to get the facts rather than one of the many overly embellished tall tales that make for a more exciting read.Ms Tanner had access to unique research materials and presented them well, if a bit pedantically. As expected, much of the legend of Doc Holliday is hyperbollic and greatly exagerrated - but it is still interesting. I do wish that Doc himself had written a factual autobiography - it would have most likely been far richer and more entertaining - if probably much more biased.

  • Nancy
    2018-11-18 00:34

    Tanner has done an excellent job on her biography of her cousin Doc Holliday. It must have taken her years to complete the research to verify dates, court appearances, etc. She did have access to her own extensive collection of family history to draw upon, but I'm glad she made the effort to make her work more complete by the research for additional facts.I was led to her book by Mary Doria Russell, author of Doc, a fiction version of his life on the frontier. And I'm glad to have read Tanner's book now.

  • KathyPetersen
    2018-11-11 20:29

    I admired Tanner's meticulous research and am almost envious that she has put it together in such a readable fashion -- while my own research is stuffed in folders and file drawers. Despite this admiration, I found her writing to be rather dull, and her method of pushing every detail she discovered into the story grew rather tedious.

  • Oldman156
    2018-11-17 19:22

    Went through both of Mary Doria Russell's books about Doc and the Earps. This biography was written by a family member with access to their archives and gives the real story debunking most of the myths about the man

  • Monica
    2018-12-12 02:34

    there aren't a lot of facts about DH so it felt a bit light but it was a nice followup to the Russell book (amusing that she managed an entire book out of what is covered in 3 or 4 pages in this bio).

  • Emily
    2018-12-06 21:34

    A really interesting look at the "family" side of the legend.

  • William A.
    2018-11-15 02:21

    Very interesting book. Always wanted to know about Doc's life. Very detailed. Realized now how "Hollywood" the movie Tombstone is.

  • Katherine
    2018-11-19 03:25

    one of the best books i have read about this colorful character from the wild wild west. it is insightful into who the man was and adds even more to the larger than life personality of doc holliday.

  • Marty
    2018-11-23 21:39

    Fantastic book. Slow begininng but real insight to the real actions of this well know hero.

  • Wendy
    2018-11-21 22:19

    Used as research into my maiden name... Holliday. Not related to Doc, though. At least not directly.

  • PWRL
    2018-12-04 03:17


  • Cynthia
    2018-11-25 22:36

    One of the best books I have read on Doc Holliday. You won't be disappointed. Today his ancestors still reside in Georgia.

  • Alison Fletcher
    2018-11-24 19:31

    very interesting point of view