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March | [Geraldine Brooks]

March

As the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats during the dark first year of the war, one man leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. Riveting and elegant as it is meticulously researched, March is an extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history.
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Publisher's Summary

As the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats during the dark first year of the war, one man leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. Riveting and elegant as it is meticulously researched, March is an extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history.

From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, who has gone off to war, leaving his wife and daughters to make do in mean times. To evoke him, Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May's father, a friend and confidant of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In her telling, March emerges as an idealistic chaplain in the little known backwaters of a war that will test his faith in himself and in the Union cause as he learns that his side, too, is capable of acts of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from a near mortal illness, he must reassemble his shattered mind and body and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through.

Spanning the vibrant intellectual world of Concord and the sensuous antebellum South, March adds adult resonance to Alcott's optimistic children's tale to portray the moral complexity of war, and a marriage tested by the demands of extreme idealism, and by a dangerous and illicit attraction. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks' place as an internationally renowned author of historical fiction.

Don't miss Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women.

©2005 Geraldine Brooks; (P)2005 Penguin Audio and BBC Audiobooks America

What the Critics Say

  • Pulitzer Prize Winner, Fiction, 2006

"Luminous....Brooks' affecting, beautifully written novel drives home the intimate horrors and ironies of the Civil War and the difficulty of living honestly with the knowledge of human suffering." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (472 )
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3.9 (207 )
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4.1 (204 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Helen Great Cacapon, WV, United States 03-10-14
    Helen Great Cacapon, WV, United States 03-10-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better book than Little Women"

    As a girl, I tried...really tried...to like Little Women for my Mom's sake. I even received a set of dolls for Christmas, Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth.I tried to treasure them like Mom did. Couldn't. The book was just too sweet and nicey nice.
    March was almost 180 degrees in the opposite direction. There was nothing "nice" about this character. He was kind of pathetic in his never ending lapses. He came close to being human, but seemed to lack the ability to get out of his academic, hopelessly idealistic dream world. Not even the interesting character Grace or his beleaguered wife Marmee (what an awful name!!!) could penetrate his shell.
    I thought the narrator adopted the perfect tone for March. While reciting the sometimes flowery phrases, he revealed the flaws that plagued him.
    Not my favorite book, but I'm glad I persisted. I liked the author's afterwords. Turns out she shared my feelings about Little Women. I'm grateful to her for bringing us March to improve my reactions to the entire package.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Colorado Springs 03-06-14
    Kelly Colorado Springs 03-06-14 Member Since 2011

    I have always loved to read. As a child my mom actually grounded me from books if I was in trouble. Noone can do that now. Yay!

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    "a good companion book"

    Unlike some of the other reviewers, I liked this book. It isn't a sequel to Alcott's beloved Little Women. It is more of a companion book. We get to flesh out the absent March father, and to flesh out Marmie as well. Geraldine Brooks has a wonderful writing style. She obviously did extensive research for this book. And she knew that she was going to attract some avid Alcott fans who would have high expectations. She treated the characters with love and respect and I appreciated her efforts. It isn't my favorite of her books, but I loved my chance to revisit the story I read so many times in my youth.

    Richard Easton was fantastic. I would definitely listen to more books read by him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Flagstaff, AZ, United States 01-03-13
    Bonnie Flagstaff, AZ, United States 01-03-13 Member Since 2004
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    "the Rest of the Story"
    If you could sum up March in three words, what would they be?

    Human, Engaging, Enlightening


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    March himself was my favorite character, as he was richly imagined, and he was given a full internal and external life and personality.


    Have you listened to any of Richard Easton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to Richard Easton's other performances, but will seek him out now that I have heard this one.


    If you could rename March, what would you call it?

    The Little Women had a Father!


    Any additional comments?

    Historical research by the author gives this story authenticity in great detail, as one with the social and political views of March might have lived in his time and place.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lowell Augusta, GA, United States 11-28-12
    Lowell Augusta, GA, United States 11-28-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Plenty of Blood & Guts"

    March,the father of the "Little Women" relates many horror stories about slavery and the total disgusting actions of deserters who refused to believe the Civil War was over I was mixed up when he was home or on the road. I was not a happy listener.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Elmira, NY, United States 08-18-12
    Margaret Elmira, NY, United States 08-18-12 Member Since 2003

    Audible addict since 2003. High School librarian who has found her bliss!

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    "Brilliant!"

    A thoroughly researched imagining of the back story of the shadowy father in Little
    Women.

    I had a little trouble getting into the story at first, but stick with it and gradually you will find yourself being pulled back into 19th century America. An awesome accomplishment; but then I would expect nothing else from such a fine writer!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen McDonald 01-01-12 Member Since 2010

    Kathleen in FL

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    "Geraldine Brooks does it right."

    I thought of "Little Women" while listening to "March". As a student of the Civil War, I was very interested in the hero's experiences as he tried to help both Union soldiers and former slaves. I related to Mr. March's depression and frustration at his inability to do much good in the midst of so much suffering.

    The book was well written, well researched and well narrated.

    I recommend "March".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil PARKER, CO, United States 12-30-11
    Neil PARKER, CO, United States 12-30-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Great story, well written, narrator just OK"

    This was a truly wonderful story. I read People of the Book, and loved it so much I was afraid of being let down by this story. I was not let down - this is a well-written narration of a great story.

    The narrator did a good job. However, his voice was just not an appropriate voice for this particular story. A British accent? Really? For an American Civil War story? While I was able to get around this incongruity most of the time, I was often baffled that the publisher didn't invest the energy to find someone who could lend more authenticity to the voices in this great story. I've now looked ahead to Caleb's Crossing, and see that the narrator got generally panned in that story, so I'll be switching away from audio books from now on for books Ms Brooks writes. Why do publishers shoot themselves in the feet like this?

    As to this story, I found myself absorbed deeply into the feelings and experiences of the main character. The author did a great job of depicting many sides of issues, and letting the good, bad, and ugly show through in all the characters.

    I highly recommend this book, most especially to lovers of historical fiction. Brooks is rapidly becoming an all-time favorite author for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Debra University Place, WA, United States 11-29-11
    Debra University Place, WA, United States 11-29-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Fascinating portrayal of Civil War times"

    This book is another look at the Civil War, from the point of view of the father of "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott. She did not write "March", and the author has taken some liberties in telling his story. A lot happened "between the lines!"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betsy worcester, MA, United States 09-03-11
    Betsy worcester, MA, United States 09-03-11 Member Since 2010

    I no longer live in Worcester. I now live in Brooklyn, NY.

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    "Wonderful!"

    The version I listened to was narrated by the author. The story is absolutely wonderful, the narration a bit monotone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Austin, TX, United States 08-01-11
    Melissa Austin, TX, United States 08-01-11
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    "Good character study but a Pulitzer?"

    It was written well enough, but I kept hoping for that magical moment that would earn it the Pulitzer. It uses big words and may help develop the vocabulary of a 16 year old who will resent adults for forcing him or her to read it to pass AP English. It makes me cringe when I think of all the essays that will be written about the events in this book that force the main character to face the burden of his ideology. Sorry kids, but I see this in your future. Good luck.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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