Authors and historians uniformly treat war as either an individual's experience or some combination of military strategies and conquests. Almost never does an author show that war is not either or, but both.
Doctorow walks the tightrope in this gripping story of battles, conquests, race, class and individuals....especially individuals, representing every stripe and type all swallowed by Sherman's multi-bodied beast and its inexorable march to the sea.
In covering Sherman's campaign, the author makes it emblematic of the whole Civil War. The casual cruelty is more than any planned offensive. The lives broken and reformed a kind of mirror of a ravaged and remade Union.
There's not a single slow passage in the whole narrative and the urge to listen to it from beginning to end in a single sitting nearly irresistable.
More than any tale in memory, this is the most compelling reconstruction of what Civil War really meant.
This is a must have!
"The Tender Bar" is that most elusive item today, a wonderful tale lovingly told. For any guy who has been lost and found this story connects on levels seldom touched today. Alternately plaintive and hard-boiled the story never slows or lessens its grip on us. It is real writing by a real writer. JR as the narrator only makes the listening that much richer carrying the words lovingly on his tongue. This is a 'must have.'
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