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Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell

Doc: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Mary Doria Russell

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78410011,747 (4.13)476
Title:Doc: A Novel
Authors:Mary Doria Russell
Info:Ballantine Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Doc Holliday, Tombstone, Dodge City, American West, Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp, Earp brothers

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Doc by Mary Doria Russell

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A good, fast read with her trade-mark theological musing underpinning an interesting take on Holliday. ( )
  Kelley.Logan | Jan 16, 2015 |
I love this re-telling of the Doc Holliday legend. Russell makes us realize that Doc was a real person through the use of family records and the available official accounts. Highly recommended. ( )
  bohemima | Oct 26, 2014 |
Amazingly engrossing story about Doc Holliday. Where he came from, his relationship with Wyatt Earp, his lifestyle and his companion Kate are all part of this historical fiction novel. The movies have not even touched on the man that was Doc Holliday. ( )
  Jane1551 | Oct 18, 2014 |
Do you think you know the infamous Doc Holliday who was in a gunfight in Tombstone, Arizona with the Earp brothers? Mary Doria Russell's literary historical fiction explores the earlier life of John Henry Holliday, from his early days growing up in Georgia with his cousins to his fight with tuberculosis and eventual move to Dodge City, Kansas, where he forged his friendship with Morgan Earp and his brother, Wyatt.

I've now read two books by this author, and am convinced that she could write about nearly any theme in any genre with aplomb. I enjoyed sitting down with this book for long stretches and falling into her descriptions of life in the American West and the backstories of various characters. The narrative voice sometimes comes out and talks to the reader, who is expected to know a little more than I did about future events, but this only slightly diminished my enjoyment of a truly superb book. ( )
  bell7 | Oct 15, 2014 |
I've never been interested in the Wild West, the western genre (books or film), or this particular cast of characters (Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, etc.). In fact, I've always avoided it like the plague and will probably continue to do so in the future. However, Russell makes late 19th Century Dodge, Kansas, come alive in the most fascinating and delightful way, where even a skeptic such as myself is swept into the time and place. I was enchanted. Of course, rather than an action-packed Western, this is an in-depth character study of the charming, well-educated, consumptive, Southern gentleman Doc Holliday and the earnest, moralistic, somewhat dimwitted, but yet oddly likable lawman Wyatt Earp. The supporting characters are well-fleshed out too.

The novel focuses on the origins of the Holliday/Earp friendship a few years prior to the Gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona (which I had heard of, but knew nothing about, before looking it up when reading this novel) and how such an unlikely friendship blossomed between such fundamentally different personalities out of necessity and just the basic need for human bonding and camaraderie in a hostile environment. It also touches on the theme of reinvention, where almost every character gets second and third leases on life in the chaotic anonymity of a dangerous frontier town. On a side note, I found the exploration of the racial and regional tensions following the aftermath of the Civil War/Reconstruction quite interesting too and not something I had thought much about when considering the Wild West. Highly recommended, even if you think the subject matter won't interest you. ( )
1 vote DorsVenabili | Sep 27, 2014 |
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For Art Nolan, who told me what Wyatt knew; for Eddie Nolan, who showed us what John Henry had to learn; for Alice McKey Holliday, who raised a fine young man; with thanks to Bob Price and Gretchen Batton.
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He began to die when he was twenty-one, but tuberculosis is slow and sly and subtle.
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Book description
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.

And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp really begins—before Wyatt Earp is the prototype of the square-jawed, fearless lawman; before Doc Holliday is the quintessential frontier gambler; before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology—when neither man wanted fame or deserved notoriety.

Authentic, moving, and witty, Mary Doria Russell’s fifth novel redefines these two towering figures of the American West.
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After the burned body of a mixed-blood boy, Johnnie Sanders, is discovered in 1878 Dodge City, Kansas, part-time policeman Wyatt Earp enlists the help of his professional-gambler friend Doc Holliday.

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