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Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell
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Doc: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Mary Doria Russell

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9681318,922 (4.12)555
Member:rosielibrarian
Title:Doc: A Novel
Authors:Mary Doria Russell
Info:Ballantine Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
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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Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
A wonderful fictionalized history of Doc Holiday.

Everyone has heard about Doc Holiday and the shootout at the OK Coral - but for the most part, its made up. While the Doc and the Earp brothers did exist, the real story is considerably more interesting.

Doc Holiday was just a child when the Civil War ended. His Mother died of Tuberculosis, which she gave to her son. Doc went to school for dentistry (because medicine was nothing but quackery, according to his uncle) and ended up in Dodge City practising dentistry and playing cards to make up for the lack of dental customers.

Doc is an amazing man. He was educated, ever the Southern Gentleman, but treated everyone based on their merit, even those with mixed blood, or of a different enthnicity. He was a gambler, a reader, a musician, and the go to person for advice. The other characters, from Wyatt Earp to his partner Maria Katarina Harony, a noble lady brought to the lowest of the low, are written with great care.

A story like this could be depressing - Doc, dying of Tuberculousis, with only a whore as his companion. But the author kept the story moving - using the vernacular of the day (a bit salty and sometimes offensive to modern readers). The characters manage to have deep emotional lives, but stay to true to the impassive demeaner of someone who lives life at the edge of society.

Mary Dora Russell did her research - the story is well written and stays (mostly) within the bounds of history. In her Author's Notes at the end of the book, there is a detailed bibliography as well as where she took liberties with the story.

A very enjoyable read. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Oct 23, 2016 |
This historical fiction about Doc Holliday and his contemporaries is a fascination tale. The author uses language that is just right for the time, and the story moves along at an entertaining pace. I like that there is a listing of characters at the beginning of the book, telling who is real and who is fictional. And a great many of the characters, of course, were real people of the era.

Most of the characters, including Doc, are not all good and not all bad, but some of both. Life in Kansas was hard, beating children was pretty normal, and women had an especially hard road. Russell made it all come alive. There are no cardboard characters in this book.

My only complaint was that the story had little detail after Doc moved on. I wanted to know more about his last years. My fault – I didn't realize there was a sequel, Epitaph. That one is going on my to-be-read list.

I listened to an unabridged audio version of this book, borrowed from the local public library. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Aug 27, 2016 |
Again darn you GR for not having 1/2 stars! This was more a 4.5 star book for me, but the quality of the writing and the thoroughness of the storytelling were enough to nudge me toward the 5th star rather than going down to only 4 stars. I am a huge fan of the film "Tombstone" and have seen it at least two dozen times so this book was especially fun for me to insert the actors' voices from that film into the characters in this book. An all around great read. Nice change of pace and genre for me and I definitely recommend it to others. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
Do you know the story of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and the O.K. Corral? I knew of it, sort of, but none of the details. I certainly didn't know anything about the Earp Bros. and Holliday when they lived in Dodge City, Kansas years before the shootout in Tombstone. This book, Doc, is a half fiction, half non-fiction retelling of how their lives became entwined trying to eke out a living on the dusty Kansas frontier.

For the first third of the story I had difficulty connecting with the characters—everyone's motivations seemed so disparate, which I suppose makes sense given the story's historical basis—but by the end I was in love with all of them. Mary Doria Russell has a blessed gift for dialect. The banter from late 19th century pioneer days is spot on, at least as far as I can tell.

And while the story's epilogue was one of the most satisfying I've read in a long while, the part that sealed the deal for me, strangely enough, was the Author's Note at the end. Mrs. Russell relates how she came by telling the story of John Henry "Doc" Holliday, intrigued to explore the man apart from the myth, and if, like me, you find yourself wondering just how much of this story is true, her answer is curiously illuminating, "More than you think." ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Aug 5, 2016 |
I enjoyed this book. I learned things about Doc Holliday I never knew like his cleft pallet. The author did a nice job of getting into the meat of who Doc was. He was an accomplished pianist. He had passion to help people and he was a card shark. The book was a little long and at times I felt like I was reading non-fiction instead of a historic fiction. It seemed like she did her research on Doc and the other characters. I always forget that people like this were alive in the late 1800s and possibly could have been alive when my grandparents were alive or around when my parents were born. It's hard to get the brain wrapped around the country being that uncivilized not very long ago. It's a good read if you want to learn a little bit of American history and Doc Holliday. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
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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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