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Doc: A Novel

Doc: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Mary Doria Russell
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

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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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1636 KB
  • Print Length: 434 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 081298000X
  • Publisher: Random House (3 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WKJ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #282,122 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By stepan
I have been reading lots of stuff on Holliday recently, as well as fictional portrayals, so I feel able to say this novel is one of the best of a generally poor bunch. The writing style is good, and Russell makes a great character of Holliday's mistress Kate. I especially like Russell's focus on Holliday's illness - his experience as a disabled man in a brutal society is often ignored by other writers. It's pretty harrowing at times - but such is life...

Unfortunately, while the author has been praised for her research, she seems to have based it on the most dubious/semi-fictional sources, and some dialogue *seems* awfully familiar from the film "Tombstone" (please don't sue me, Ms Russell, but...). The author has decided to show Holliday in a ridiculously positive light - quite unnecessary, when most people interested in him like him precisely because he was complex, difficult, and probably had some very nasty qualities. Why does she make him so exquisitely politically correct, and nice, and sensitive, and aristocratic? The real Holliday was most likely just a middle-class provincial dandy, not a highbrow aristocrat. Recent research suggests Kate was not a Hungarian aristocrat either, but from a lower-middle class. Why has Russell glamourised these people? Does she think readers won't care about them otherwise? Come on, people love Hannibal Lechter and Pinky Brown because they're bad!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A character study that one hopes might be true 29 July 2012
"She is weary of life with a man who has been dying for years and cannot seem to finish the job. The strain of a long illness will exhaust the most compassionate." - Doc Holliday on his longtime companion, Kate, as told in DOC

The gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, AZ in October 1881 has become part of America's Western mythology - for literary and visual treatments of the event, see The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the Ok Corral and How it Changed the American West, Wyatt Earp [DVD] [1994] and Tombstone [DVD] - wherein the Earp brothers face-off against the Clanton and McLaury brothers. Shooting alongside the Earps in this deadly kerfuffle was their friend John Henry "Doc" Holliday, D.D.S, who, at least to a casual student of the affair such as me, has always been sort of a bit player of unknown provenance. Yes, I know he was a dentist/gambler afflicted with tuberculosis, but that's about it.

While many facts of Holliday's life and death are known, embellished to some degree by a perhaps undeserved reputation as a killer, there seems to be little on record about his personality. In DOC, author Mary Doria Russell, apparently after much research, endeavors to flesh-out this aspect of the man, albeit via a work of fiction.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy.

This book might be better named as Doc, the early years, because if you are expecting Doc's story to take you on to Tombstone and the infamous shootout at the OK Corral you are going to be sorely disappointed. That said, this was still an enjoyable novel and should interest those hankering for a closer look at the enigmatic John Henry "Doc" Holliday and the short time he lived in Dodge City, Kansas. Georgia born and a gentleman, Doc is ready to begin his dental practice when he's diagnosed with tuberculosis and he travels west in hopes of finding a climate better suited to his lungs. The dental business doesn't pay well and Doc soon spends more time in the gambling rooms and he's soon *hitched up* with the Earp brothers, Katie Elder and more as a chain of events begins to bring them all together and fate sets them on the path to Tombstone, Arizona.

"When I am like this, dentistry is beyond me. So I play cards."

The good stuff:

I very much liked how the characters were written, especially the gentle Doc (oooh, that bit on the piano at the last), and how someone gentleman born and bred could have fallen in with the crowd he did and set his life on a most unexpected path. I also liked how the author was able to show the reader the constant struggle he led because of the tuberculosis, and she did so without clubbing the reader over the head with it. My favorite quote,

"...for the Kansas sky is black velvet on clear, cool December nights, and the Milky Way is strung across it like the diamond necklace of a crooked banker's mistress.
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