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They Call Me Doc: The Story Behind The Legend Of John Henry Holliday Paperback – December 7, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; First Edition edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076276046X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762760466
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Reassessing the life of one of the most infamous characters of the Old West
 
“He was a dentist whom necessity had made a gambler; a gentleman whom disease had made a vagabond; a philosopher whom life had made a caustic wit; a long, lean blonde fellow nearly dead with consumption and at the same time the most skillful gambler and nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun I ever knew.”
—Wyatt Earp, speaking of Doc Holliday
 
This new biography sets the record straight on the man best known for his participation in the shootout at the O.K. Corral—a man of refinement who went West after contracting tuberculosis and became a gunfighter, gambler, and saloonkeeper. Telling the story in Doc Holliday’s own voice, D. J. Herda reveals many unexplored facets of this legendary figure’s personality. They Call Me Doc provides a riveting, well-rounded picture of both the mythological character and the real man.

About the Author

D. J. Herda is the author of numerous books on a wide range of topics—including Outlaws of the American West—as well as several hundred thousand articles, syndicated columns, and short stories.

Customer Reviews

As an author, I am intrigued with the writing skills set into this book.
William James
Having said that, this book is well written and highly enjoyable, so if you're looking for a short and fun book to read about Doc, this book will suit you just fine.
Erez Davidi
After reading this book, I felt as if I'd just spent a week with Holliday.
Western Fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Faye M. Swetky on December 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I just received a copy of THEY CALL ME DOC, The Story Behind the Legend of John Henry Holliday, because I'm a big western Americana fan, as well as a fan of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday. When I started reading this, I knew it was something special, something more than just another biography. It's written in Doc Holliday's own voice and point-of-view, and the writing is POWERFUL! The author pulls no punches. How he got so fully into the mind of a man who passed away 150 years ago is remarkable, but he did. And he dispels a number of "facts" about Holliday as sheer myths, while building a new respect for this southern Christian gentleman (and he really was that, despite his reputation). This is probably the best bio I've ever read, bar none. And certainly it's the best one I've ever seen on Doc Holliday. Complete with colorful portrayals of the Earps, Big Nose Kate, the Clantons, the "Cowboys" who set out to destroy Holliday and the Earps, and so many more. I can't wait for the movie! I wonder who'll play the leading role?
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey J. Bakke on March 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an avid Southwestern history nut, I didn't find anything in the book that was new. Same old pictures, same accounts, just a novel-esque method of delivery. The book contains a few facts mixed with a lot of legend. The author also included a half a dozen pictures that have been reproduced in almost every book I've ever read about the law and order of the old west. I really looked forward to reading this book because of the author's reputation along with the editorial review on Amazon. Sadly, I was very dissapointed. If you are not aware of the many carefully researched books written about Dodge City and Tombstone and are looking for a little entertainment, then this book is probably for you. If it's Doc Holliday history that you're interested in, there are many, many books that are much better than this one. For one, I'd suggest reading Bob Boze Bell's "The Illustrated Times of Doc Holliday." It's about as long of a read and better researched. It has some great pictures too.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Gardennuts on December 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I hardly ever write reviews, but having received 'Doc' as a gift and immediately falling in love with it, I couldn't resist. This book is a blast of fresh air over a tired landscape of western reflections. Instead of another dutiful reporting of the facts of the OK corral conflict, the author speaks straight from Doc's heart, with surprising clarity, perspective and insight. By writing with Doc Holliday's voice, we are given a compelling glimpse not only of a hard bitten gunslinger, but of a young boy growing up in the turmoil of the civil war.

With beautiful writing the events that formed the life of an American legend come to life, elevated 'Doc' from a flat, Saturday matinee image to a complex young man dealing with the destruction of his southern home, the early death of his beloved mother, and conflicts within his own family that would eventually drive him west.

Most surprising to me, and it was a very pleasant one at that, was the love story that emerges from Doc's reflections of his paramour, Kate. Somehow the author manages to capture the painfully realistic relationship that develops between two lost souls. The recollections are simultaneously brutal and tender, with a wistfulness chained to the ground by the truth of their respective situations.

Doc is a wonderful surprise, and I hope other readers out there find this gem shinning out from the dreary pile of old west commentaries. Great book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Erez Davidi on May 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not what I was expecting. I was expecting a more thorough biography, however, this book was more in the nature of a novel. Having said that, this book is well written and highly enjoyable, so if you're looking for a short and fun book to read about Doc, this book will suit you just fine. But if you're interested in a more detailed biography, better look somewhere else.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By William James on January 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an author, I am intrigued with the writing skills set into this book. D. J. Herda has created a wonderful journey into the historical past to bring the character of Doc Holiday to life. This is good... no, this is a great work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marvin D. Pipher on October 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
The author of this book has taken the generally well known facts regarding Doc Holliday's life --- where he was, when, and what he did there --- and, placing them in proper chronological order, connected the dots with imagined and supposed recollections and oft times contrived dialogue based on his own intuition. The result is an interesting tale: written as if it was Doc Holliday's personal memoir. This is an interesting approach, but, to me, it was something of a disappointment. I had anticipated reading a thoroughly documented non-fiction biography, but with the approach taken by this author, I couldn't always distinguish fact from fiction.

I feel, however, that the author may be forgiven to some extent for the liberties he has taken. For it would be difficult to believe that Holiday didn't have some rationale and motivation for his movements and actions. I also feel, however, that at times the author did take considerable artistic license. For example: by more than implying that Doc Holliday had something to do with Johnny Ringo's death (highly unlikely). I also felt that the author may not have been too discriminating in his selection of sources, although none were cited. But even this can be forgiven if one accepts the fact that this is supposed to be Doc Holliday's memoir.

Perhaps if I hadn't already read so many books about Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Dodge City, Tombstone, the gunfight at the "OK Corral," and the Western Frontier in general before coming to this book, I would have been more amenable to this one. As it was, the book read more like a historical novel than a true well-documented biography, particularly since the book has no bibliography. But, then again, a memoir wouldn't have a bibliography, would it?
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They Call Me Doc: The Story Behind The Legend Of John Henry Holliday
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