Doc

Doc

A Novel

Book - 2011
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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 an awful choice at the age of twenty-two: die within months in Atlanta or leave everyone and everything he loves in the hope that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health. Young, scared, lonely, and sick, he arrives on the rawest edge of the Texas frontier just as an economic crash wrecks the dreams of a nation. Soon, with few alternatives open to him, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally; he is also living with Mária Katarina Harony, a high-strung Hungarian whore with dazzling turquoise eyes, who can quote Latin classics right back at him. Kate makes it her business to find Doc the high-stakes poker games that will support them both in high style. It is Kate who insists that the couple travel to Dodge City, because "that's where the money is."

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 and brings to life an extraordinary cast of historical characters, including Holliday's unforgettable companion, Kate. First and last, however, Doc is John Henry Holliday's story, written with compassion, humor, and respect by one of our greatest contemporary storytellers. 
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400068043
1400068045
Branch Call Number: F RUS NVD
Characteristics: xvi, 394 p. ; 24 cm

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SCL_Justin Aug 05, 2017

Doc is the story of John Holliday and how he came from the south to Dodge City and got in with the Earps. There’s a small flash forward to the O.K. Corrall and the narrator talks a bit about his eventual death too, but the bulk of the story is about life in Dodge.

It’s all right. It’s good at doing the whole “stories about a person are not a person” theme. The writing keeps you involved. There’s a mystery but the plot is hardly the point. It’s a story about people in a lousy place, more of a document of what things might have been like than anything very plot-driven.

w
wmccliment
Sep 30, 2016

Really wonderful historic fiction - so well written. It was total entertainment in my opinion, the author did a superb job with her characters. It also made me curious to read an actual biography of this legendary man.

c
CMLibrary_gjd_0
Dec 28, 2015

My new reading tastes lean toward WESTERNS recently. Starting with this superb retelling of an old, familiar story. Takes place before everybody leaves for OK. A good story about a privileged young Southerner who can't stay in the South any longer due to his aliments.

w
whistlefide
Oct 29, 2015

engrossing story about a complex gunfighter who may not have been a villain at all

r
RedLeaf
Oct 12, 2015

Mary Doria Russell is a gifted storyteller. She presents her characters based on historic research and then creates a compelling life narrative for them. This book is not about Tombstone and the OK Corral rather it's about the period before, when the Earp brothers and John 'Doc' Holiday first meet in Dodge City. Russell creates a fully fleshed and suffering Holiday who is slowly coughing his way to his early death because of TB. She points out that like many a historic figure, if it weren't for a notorious incident, in this case the OK shootout, Holiday and the Earp's would have passed unremarked into history. As it is, she captures the life of 'Doc' and his times in a work of exceptional creation.

t
thomd
Aug 25, 2015

Having read two of Mary Doria Russell's previous books, both science fiction, I approached this with caution. My previous knowledge of Doc Holiday was at best a caricature.

This book focuses on Doc's life in Dodge City, but touches on everything before and after. Plenty of spotlight is also shone on Wyatt Earp, which is perhaps why the author decided to write a sequel of sorts that focused on him and the famous OK Corral. These and other characters are complex and well fleshed out.

Have read three of Mary Doria Russell's books, encountering Jesuits three times. Is there a pattern here? I may have to read another just to find out.

c
CrochetCat374
Jul 21, 2015

Excellent fictional work about Doc Holliday that actually dispels many of the tall tales and legends that have sprung up around this consumptive, card-dealing dentist. The action is set in Dodge City, Kansas, years before the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral. There's a rich cast of characters, and a realistic, compelling portrait of life in the notorious Dodge City. Not your typical shoot-'em-up Western!

FederalWayEdna Jun 19, 2015

Excellent book delving into the personal life of Doc Holliday by showing him not as the gunslinger we all assumed her was but as a progressive dental surgeon, a loyal and dedicated friend, a responsible community leader and an intelligent and generous card-counting gambler. Our book group loved Russell's writing style which brought human kindness in a town that was run by big money and big guns.

a
axeman
May 14, 2014

A novel created around the character of Doc Holliday. This was a really good read that would appeal to anyone who likes westerns, historical fiction or American folklore.

KCLSLibsRecommend Apr 10, 2014

John Henry Holiday ‘Doc’ Holiday gambler, dentist, and gun fighter of OK Corral fame comes to full, fascinating, and colorful life in this fascinating historical novel. Well written and true to place and time you can almost taste the dust as Doc Holiday, suffering from consumption(tuberculosis) struggles to navigate the smoky saloons and gritty streets of Dodge City Kansas. Filled with many colorful historical characters this is a wonderful ‘western’ that everyone will enjoy.

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patl
Jun 22, 2011

1878, Dodge City, Kansas Doc Holliday is given an awful choice at age 22, die with in months in Atlanta or leave and move to dry air and sunshine in the west. Friendship develops btwn Doc Holliday and Wyat Earp- Holliday becomes a gamble and lives with Kate and Hungarian whole who can quote Latin classics right back to Doc Holiday.

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