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Recently, the Civil War has been the subject of novels by Howard Bahr, Michael Shaara, Charles Frazier, and Robert Hicks, to name a few. Its perennial appeal is due not only to the fact that it was fought on our own soil, but also that it captures perfectly our long-time and ongoing ambivalence about race. Doctorow examines this question extensively, chronicling the dislocation of both southern whites and Negroes as Sherman burned and destroyed all that they had ever known. Sherman is a well-drawn character, pictured as a crazy tactical genius pitted against his West Point counterparts. Doctorow creates a context for the march: "The brutal romance of war was still possible in the taking of spoils. Each town the army overran was a prize... There was something undeniably classical about it, for how else did the armies of Greece and Rome supply themselves?"
The characters depicted on the march are those people high and low, white and black, whose lives are forever changed by war: Pearl, the newly free daughter of a white plantation owner and one of his slaves, Colonel Sartorius, a competent, remote, almost robotic surgeon; several officers, both Union and Confederate; two soldiers, Arly and Will, who provide comic relief in the manner of Shakespeare's fools until, suddenly, their roles are not funny anymore.
Doctorow has captured the madness of war in his description of the condition of a dispossessed Southern white woman: "What was clear at this moment was that Mattie Jameson's mental state befitted the situation in which she found herself. The world at war had risen to her affliction and made it indistinguishable." And later, " This was not war as adventure, nor war for a solemn cause, it was war at its purest, a mindless mass rage severed from any cause, ideal, or moral principle."
As we have come to expect, Doctorow puts the reader in the picture; never more so than in recalling "The March" and letting us see it as a cautionary tale for our times. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
For those who enjoy historical fiction, I highly recommend this book.
I had a hard time keeping up with the many characters; would have preferred fewer with more story development for the remaining.
As he has before, Doctorow tells his story using both real and fictional characters, real and fictional events.
"The March" depicts many different characters caught up in Sherman's march to the sea in 1864-65, creating a memorable portrait of war. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Jamakaya
I love historical fiction and this gave enough of the "personal"side to make the logistics enjoyable without too much fluff.Published 11 days ago by cattail
Mssr. Doctorow doesn't know sh$t about the Civil War. "Ol' Cump" saved thousands of AMERICAN lives by his strategy.Published 23 days ago by Robert C. Miller
An up close and personal account of Sherman's march to the sea.
An excellent history of both the North and the South participants in
the Civil war and personal stories of... Read more
A view of the Civil War that you've never experienced before. This is a well thought out book with a compelling story that is a joy to read. Well worth the cost and effort!Published 4 months ago by Michael R Centers
My daughter suggested that I listen to this book. The author struck me as the "arty" type, but since my daughter is never wrong I got it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by H. Gibbons
Vivid tale makes you realize what life was like during this troubled time. The empathy I had for the characters in their situations made the story that much more real. Read morePublished 7 months ago by JAMES R WALKER
This novel follows Sherman's march through the south and seems to have been thoroughly researched. The historical aspects of the story line, the battles, how the army was able to... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jane Trezise