Doc by Mary Doria Russell gives us a new slant on a famous historical figure. Doc Holliday is an icon of the old west, remembered for a nasty gunfight at the OK Corral. But the man was so much more than the legend.
Russell brings back the southern gentlemen, banished from his Georgia family by the wasting disease that would one day take his life. She shows us a frightened, young man crossing the country alone, trying to elude death, moving from the lush southern countryside into dusty western cattle towns.
She introduces us to a dentist who was a gifted scholar and cared about reducing suffering where he could do so. She shows us a Doc Holliday who was a gifted raconteur, enjoyed entertaining friends, and was fiercely loyal. Yes he was a gambler, a gunfighter, and the paramour of a fallen woman. But he was funny, witty, yearning for home, and a man buffeted by the hand fate dealt him.— Deon Stonehouse
Fall '12 Reading Group List
“Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp are icons of the Wild West - whiskey-swilling, poker-playing, quick-draw gunslingers -- whose exploits are the stuff of American legend. In real life, however, Doc was raised a genteel Southern gentleman, a dentist who went West hoping the dry air would help his tuberculosis. The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was the culmination of a long string of events and setbacks, and Russell concentrates on Doc's life before the infamous shoot-out, when the friendship between the two men was just beginning. As always, Russell's dialogue is witty, her characters memorable, and her pacing effortless. This is an adventure tale, a love story, and an impeccably researched historical novel.”
— Dana Schulz, Snowbound Books, Marquette, MI
May 2011 Indie Next List
“Lyrical, elegant, and compelling, romantic and relentless, Doc is the captivating story of John Henry Holliday, dentist, cardsharp, and tubercular gunfighter. Russell brings the Old West and her characters to rich and vivid life and paints a complex, charming portrait of a complicated individual. Forget about the O.K. Corral, Doc is where the real action is!”
— Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI
Violence is random and routine in Dodge City, Kansas, in 1878, 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 is a matter of strangely personal importance to Doc Holliday.