Author Topic: "Doc" by Mary Doria Russell
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Subject: "Doc" by Mary Doria Russell
This was a rather refreshing view of Doc Holliday. Russell has done a good job of cutting through alot of the myth and legend that Holliday has grown into and instead gives us a more realistic view of not only Doc but quite a few of the other notorious names from the time period. Having done quite a bit of historical research myself into the time period and the personalities I could tell the author knew her material and she tried to give us a much more realistic Doc Holliday than the legends make him out to be. I mean we have a man whose half dead of consumption but has all these tall tales about his exploits so you know half of them can't be true, which when you take them apart historically you will find many of them to be false or greatly exaggerated, usually by newspapers that were more about selling papers than being accurate.

In particular i like how this book focuses a bit more on some characters, like Morgan Earp and Kate Harony, that are often barely mentioned with all the attention going to Wyatt and Doc. I also like her take on how Doc may have been less racist than the histories make him out to be. There is every possibility her take on his attitude is accurate because nearly everything recorded about Doc has been blown up into wild stories and since no legal action was taken over the infamous "swimming hole incident" when he was a teen I have my doubts about how accurate the stories about it were. I do know most people liked to use that story as the reason Doc "fled" west but the timing doesn't match and its fairly obvious he moved west for the dry air due to his TB.

The one fault i could find with the book was the ending felt fairly mundane and didn't really feel like it hit a "conclusion" point even though the central mystery to the story was resolved with some appropriate revenge enacted. So it would be accurate to say this is a story of Docs life prior to the infamous OK Corral gunfight and how he originally came to know the Earps, Kate Harony and Bat Masterson to name a few during his time in Dodge City. Overall it was an enjoyable read that did an excellent job of accurately putting you in the time and place of the story with accurate insights into how people lived and thought at the time.

I'd suggest this book to anyone who likes stories of the old west, Doc Holliday or the Earps, or historical fiction in general. It is actual literature however so don't go into it expecting a dimestore western, much more thought and literary ability went into this than your typical western novel.

Seems to be doing well for itself, its currently ranked 10th in westerns on amazon and 12th in historical fiction.


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