Books by Allen Barra

MICKEY AND WILLIE by Allen Barra
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 14, 2013

"Ages are 'golden' only in misty-eyed retrospect, but Barra excels at showing these athletes' superhuman abilities and all-too-human frailties."
Veteran sports journalist and biographer Barra (Yogi Berra, 2009, etc.) returns with a dual biography of two of baseball's all-time greats. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: July 26, 2010

"More than the story of a ballpark, but also of memories, both good and bad, that should be preserved."
Wall Street Journal sports columnist Barra (Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee, 2009, etc.) weaves discussions of baseball and race into his history of Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala. Read full book review >
YOGI BERRA by Allen Barra
NON-FICTION
Released: March 1, 2009

"A superior sports book bound to interest more than just die-hard fans, ranking with classics like Robert Creamer's Babe: The Legend Comes to Life (1974) and Richard Ben Cramer's Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life (2000)."
A full-scale biography of the most quoted and, possibly, the most underrated player in baseball history. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: April 23, 2002

"A bit technical and statistics-oriented for the uninitiated, but sports buffs and bleacher bums will delight in Barra's unconventional essays."
Opinionated pieces by Wall Street Journal and Salon.com columnist Barra (Inventing Wyatt Earp, 1998, etc.) lovingly examine baseball's most enduring controversies. Read full book review >
INVENTING WYATT EARP by Allen Barra
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 1, 1998

A worthy attempt to prospect for facts amid the mists of myth and partisan hearsay long clouding the story of gambler and frontier marshal Earp, his brothers, friends, and foes, especially in the silver mining camp of Tombstone, Ariz. Barra, a Wall Street Journal sports columnist, finds Civil War passions lingering on as northern Republicans went west to establish business communities and dig for precious metals. They were looked upon by many cowboys and ranch owners from the recently vanquished South as Yankees, including the Earp brothers (from Illinois) and their friends—e.g., fiery, Georgia-born dead-shot dentist Doc Holliday, who joined the band of lawmen that tamed wild cow towns like Wichita and Dodge City before arriving in Tombstone itself. "The entire frontier was a demimonde," Barra notes. He describes Tombstone as a place controlled by those who—d grown affluent through big-time cattle rustling and stage coach robberies (while approving a puppet sheriff and the local press). The outnumbered Earps and their allies met with their greatest challenge when confronting their entrenched opponents in that famed gunfight at the OK Corral; three of the outlaw ranchers were killed. The Earps were then made signal entries on the hit lists of their enemies, who bought the local press and used it to spread the notion that the Earps were rustlers and robbers. Barra cuts through most of the lies and lore, aided by his own research and the studies of credible historians (Utley and Nolan), to finally rate Earp as strong, brave, honorable, intelligent—a loyal friend and a peacekeaeper, rather than just another compulsive gunfighter. In fact, he lived as a lawman on the frontier for only six years. His wife of nearly half a century, the Jewish actress Josephine Marcus, shared his later adventures in Hollywood and elsewhere. A thorough documentary revision of the Western genre's customary fantasy. (16 pages color and b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >