Doc by Mary Doria Russell
A Novel

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Synopsis

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Born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday arrives on the Texas frontier hoping that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health. Soon, with few job prospects, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally with his partner, Mária Katarina Harony, a high-strung, classically educated Hungarian whore. In search of high-stakes poker, the couple hits the saloons of Dodge City. And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and a fearless lawman named Wyatt Earp begins— before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology—when neither man wanted fame or deserved notoriety.

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About Mary Doria Russell

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Mary Doria Russell received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Illinois-Urbana, her M.A. in Social Anthropology from Northeastern University, and her Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. In the process of earning her degrees, Russell studied linguistics, genetics, anatomy, archaeology, and geology-all of which have found their way into her critically acclaimed debut novel. Prior to The Sparrow, Russell had only written scientific articles-on subjects ranging from bone biology to cannibalism-and technical manuals for medical equipment as complex as nuclear magnetic resonance scanners. In her own words, she admits, "I had a great time, published a lot of stuff, won a bunch of awards and grants, but eventually got fed up with academia and quit." Making the transition from scientific and technical writing to fiction wasn't easy. Russell estimates, however, that "only about twenty-two anthropologists, world-wide, read my academic publications and nobody reads computer manuals, so I figured that if even just my friends read my novel, I'd be way ahead in terms of readership because I have a lot of friends." A recent convert to Judaism, Russell has nevertheless maintained a strong connection with the Catholic education of her childhood. Asked why she created such a detailed look at faith in a higher power and religion in her debut novel, Russell explains, "I wanted to evaluate, as an adult, issues that had lain dormant for me since adolescence, to study the religion of my youth, to revisit the source of my values and ethics. That's why I chose to write about men who are collectively among the most admirable and best educated of Catholic priests, the Jesuits. Writing The Sparrow allowed me to weigh the risks and the benefits of a belief in God, to examine the role of religion in the lives of many people." Mary Doria Russell lives in Cleveland, Ohio, ("and likes it very much, thank you") with her husband, Don, and their son, Daniel. She is currently working on the sequel to The Sparrow, titled Children of God.
 
Published May 3, 2011 by Random House. 434 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Westerns, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Doc

Kirkus Reviews

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Corral brings Doc and the Earps fame), still defining themselves and their ambitions, while their girlfriends are prostitutes without hearts of gold, only depressing pasts and often-hopeless futures.

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Book Reporter

However, her massive research on Doc Holliday, the Earps, Bat Masterson, Kate Horony and other famous figures of the times is evident and provides a gripping portrait of a man still familiar to most readers 130 years after the event that made his name a household word.

Feb 28 2012 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

The Washington Times

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A fiction writer would have to strain hard to create characters such as Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday.

Jun 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

Dallas News

Doc Holliday is the tragic hero in this terrific bio-epic set in a revisionist version of the Old West — more realistic yet more riveting than any movie or TV Western.

May 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

Oregon Live

John Henry Holliday, soon to be known and mythologized as Doc, "began to die when he was twenty-one, but tuberculosis is slow and sly and subtle," writes Mary Doria Russell in her new novel, "Doc."

Apr 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and Earp's many brothers are known to most of us as they have been shaped successively by sensationalist journalism, dime novels, movies, and TV series.

May 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

Lincoln Journal Star

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Jun 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

NJ.com

By the time Doc decamps in Dodge City, his lofty personal agenda, uttered with rhetorical flourishes of Southern bravado (sometimes in Greek and Latin), continue to fall further from reach as his sallow body requires more whiskey to keep going.

May 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

Watermark Books And Cafe

It barely amounted to a village.") where Doc falls in with the lawmen Earp brothers informally led by Wyatt, whose "[chin] was strong and square and chiseled, and silently proclaimed his strength of character and moral rectitude," and Morgan, who "loved the feel of a book in his hands, loved the ...

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Journal Sentinel

A central figure in one of American history's most retold events - the gunfight at the O.K.

May 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Although, as mentioned, history can’t provide us with material to back up all of Russell’s contentions, still it is fascinating to see the seemingly contradictory character she presents: a man who stubbornly struggled against his lung disease for 15 years before finally being overcome, a man who ...

May 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

Chicago Tribune

Corral - and How It Changed the American West By Jeff Guinn Simon & Schuster, 392 pages, $27.00 Doc By Mary Doria Russell Random House, 394 pages, $26.00 Allen Barra is the author of Inventing "Wyatt Earp, His Life and Many Legends" from the University of Nebraska Press.

Jun 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Award-winning novelist Mary Doria Russell is the author of five novels, including The Sparrow (1996), which describes humankind's first contact with aliens, and A Thread of Grace ( 3.5 of 5 Stars May/June 2005), an account of the Italian Resistance during World War II.

May 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

California Literary Review

Even if the episode that drives the narrative of Doc is a fictional one, Russell’s positive assessment of Doc Holliday deserves to be taken seriously.

May 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

High Country News

Versatile novelist Mary Doria Rusell's captivating reimagining of the life of Doc Holliday ends before the 1881 gunfight at the O.K.

Nov 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Doc : A Novel

Reader Rating for Doc
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