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Mary Doria Russell

Goodreads Author


Born
in The United States
Website

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Member Since
November 2011

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Mary Doria Russell is an American author. She was born in 1950 in the suburbs of Chicago. Her parents were both in the military; her father was a Marine Corps drill sergeant, and her mother was a Navy nurse.

She holds a Ph.D. in Paleoanthropology from the University of Michigan, and has also studied cultural anthropology at the University of Illinois, and social anthropology at Northeastern University in Boston. Russell lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband Don and their two dogs.

Mary is shy about online stuff like Goodreads, but she responds to all email, and would prefer to do that through her website.

Photo by Jeff Rooks

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Popular Answered Questions

Mary Doria Russell Well, the fact that my first book was about Jesuits in space didn't exactly help! Getting turned down by 31 agencies was awful and I probably should…moreWell, the fact that my first book was about Jesuits in space didn't exactly help! Getting turned down by 31 agencies was awful and I probably should have given up, but ultimately it worked out. The Sparrow will be reissued with a 20th anniversary edition next year.(less)
Mary Doria Russell Oh, Lord! NO! Not that one. As you'll learn at the end of Epitaph, the movies of the 1940s-1980s present very inaccurate portrayals of what happened…moreOh, Lord! NO! Not that one. As you'll learn at the end of Epitaph, the movies of the 1940s-1980s present very inaccurate portrayals of what happened in Arizona in 1881 and why.

The best movie is "Tombstone" with Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday. There are factual errors in that as well, but it's the closest to reality. There is a great deal of operatic violence at the end, but that's the way the American mythology about the gunfight has evolved. If you watch that movie, then you'll be aware of how the story has been simplified into Good Guys versus Bad Guys.

All the characters in Epitaph are real. I tried to be fair and compassionate to every one of them, but I was also writing about how the gunfight became central to American beliefs about the West. You can see how this plays out in contemporary politics, as well. I hope you like the book.(less)
Average rating: 4.08 · 97,341 ratings · 12,983 reviews · 8 distinct worksSimilar authors
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More books by Mary Doria Russell…

There are a lot of variations on “those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it.” My response has always been, “Those of us who do study the past are doomed, too. We just feel worse about it.”


We are living in a country that past presidents warned against. We have institutionalized the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower predicted. We have the “unholy alliance between corrupt b...

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Interviews

March 2015, Mary Doria Russell
"Her Favorite Westerns: Not just for gunslingers, the real Wild West comes to life in these five frontier tales recommended by the author of Epitaph." ...More

more interviews »

Mary’s Recent Updates

Mary Russell made a comment on Not on my watch.
" Let's hope so! "
Mary Russell made a comment on SOLD!
" Thanks, Elaine! Word of mouth is the best and often the only advertising for books! "
" Oh, I loved that book so much! I hope you have my quirky taste in other books, too. Happy Doomsday is just amazing and wonderful. "
" If we all only wrote what we know, everything would be an autobiography and those autobiographies would be exercises in narcissism.

I read to learn an
...more "
" HAH! Yeah... "
Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell
Mary Russell and 8 other people liked Heather's review of Epitaph:
Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell
"A marvelous, epic, bittersweet novel. Mary Doria Russell uses a setting I know very little about and didn't think I'd care for (Arizona in the 1880s) as the backdrop for an absolutely fascinating story about history, friendship, politics, and diff..." Read more of this review »
Mary Russell and 9 other people liked Regina Lindsey's review of Epitaph:
Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell
"Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell
5 Stars and a heart

Let me start by saying that I resisted with every ounce of my being reading Doc. While you all know I adore history, I’ve never been a fan of this particular era. Russell’s description of this era as..." Read more of this review »
More of Mary's books…
“I do what I do without hope of reward or fear of punishment. I do not require Heaven or Hell to bribe or scare me into acting decently.”
Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow

“How can you hear your soul if everyone is talking?”
Mary Doria Russell, Children of God

“There's an old Jewish story that says in the beginning God was everywhere and everything, a totality. But to make creation, God had to remove Himself from some part of the universe, so something besides Himself could exist. So He breathed in, and in the places where God withdrew, there creation exists."

So God just leaves?"

No. He watches. He rejoices. He weeps. He observes the moral drama of human life and gives meaning to it by caring passionately about us, and remembering."

Matthew ten, verse twenty-nine: Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it."

But the sparrow still falls.”
Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow

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