The March

The March

A Novel

Book - 2005
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In 1864, after Union general William Tecumseh Sherman burned Atlanta, he marched his sixty thousand troops east through Georgia to the sea, and then up into the Carolinas. The army fought off Confederate forces and lived off the land, pillaging the Southern plantations, taking cattle and crops for their own, demolishing cities, and accumulating a borne-along population of freed blacks and white refugees until all that remained was the dangerous transient life of the uprooted, the dispossessed, and the triumphant. Only a master novelist could so powerfully and compassionately render the lives of those who marched. The author of Ragtime, City of God, and The Book of Daniel has given us a magisterial work with an enormous cast of unforgettable characters - white and black, men, women, and children, unionists and rebels, generals and privates, freed slaves and slave owners. At the center is General Sherman himself; a beautiful freed slave girl named Pearl; a Union regimental surgeon, Colonel Sartorius; Emily Thompson, the dispossessed daughter of a Southern judge; and Arly and Will, two misfit soldiers. Almost hypnotic in its narrative drive, The March stunningly renders the countless lives swept up in the violence of a country at war with itself. The great march in E. L. Doctorow's hands becomes something more - a floating world, a nomadic consciousness, and an unforgettable reading experience with awesome relevance to our own times.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375506710
Branch Call Number: PS3554.O3 M37 2005
Doctorow, E
Characteristics: 363 p. ; 25 cm


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Jun 15, 2020

Actually completed in December 2019, Doctorow's historical novel follows General William Tecumseh Sherman's march through Georgia and then north through the Carolinas near the conclusion of the Civil War. One of Doctorow's best, close to the level of genius displayed by Doctorow in Ragtime.

Apr 21, 2019

Unsatisfying on every level. You can’t believe in the characterization of the historic figures, and the fictional characters are just phantoms. Doctorow’s style is frenetic but emotionally thin. He seems to have imagined the kind of book he wanted to write but then couldn’t pull it off.

RogerDeBlanck Jun 30, 2018

The "march" alluded to in the title is the infamous trek made by Union General William T. Sherman’s army as they drove east across Georgia and north up through the Carolinas during the latter stages of the Civil War. Sherman serves as one of many prominent historical figures explored throughout this sweeping novel. Doctorow’s chronicling of the ravishment of war shows Sherman’s military campaign growing into a kind of massive organism of incalculable human suffering as free slaves, wandering vagabonds, and displaced Southerners join the march. The narrative interweaves several strands of stories that gain momentum as a driving confluence that encapsulate the momentous impact of war on individual lives. Although The March lacks the emotional power of his early works, E.L. Doctorow still proves with this book that he is one of America’s most distinguished writers.

Apr 10, 2018

Learn something about the Civil War while you enjoy your read.

Harriet_the_Spy Oct 05, 2010

Amazing main character who "passes" in many different way: she goes back and forth between appearing as a boy or a girl, as Black or white, and as a child or an adult.

hermlou Jul 13, 2010

Doctorow reports on Sherman's march through the U.S. south at the end of the Civil War. He describes historical figures such as Sherman and Lincoln, but the story is told through individuals such as an army surgeon, a freed slave, a displaced plantation owner, and army deserters. The book does not dwell on violence and gore, to my relief. It dwells on the effect of the war on various parts of the population. Doctorow writes with humor and compassion, and I want to read more of his books.

Aug 26, 2009


Dec 06, 2007

Finalist of the 2006 Pulitzer prize for fiction.


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