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The March: A Novel | [E.L. Doctorow]

The March: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Enjoy The March? Listen to an interview with E.L. Doctorow on The Bob Edwards Show.

©2005 E.L. Doctorow; (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • PEN/Faulkner Award Winner, Fiction, 2005
  • National Book Award Finalist, Fiction, 2005
  • 2005 Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, Fiction
  • National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2005

"In this powerful novel, Doctorow gets deep inside the pillage, cruelty and destruction, as well as the care and burgeoning love that sprung up in their wake....On reaching the novel's last pages, the reader feels wonder that this nation was ever able to heal after so brutal, and personal, a conflict." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (558 )
5 star
 (169)
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 (208)
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2 star
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Overall
4.0 (120 )
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Story
4.1 (116 )
5 star
 (52)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Mark Long Beach, CA, USA 05-11-07
    Mark Long Beach, CA, USA 05-11-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    5
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    "Astonishing"

    This audiobook is simply amazing in its ability to bring history to vivid, compelling life. The narrators do an excellent job, and the writing is Doctorow's best since Ragtime. I highly recommend this audiobook.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Houston, TX, USA 07-01-06
    Robert Houston, TX, USA 07-01-06 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
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    10
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    "It was OK"

    Positive features: A gripping description of how war affected individuals.
    Negative: Feeble attempt to blend fictional characters with historic events. I've read better.

    Not unentertaining; mostly average.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Delmont, NJ, United States 01-30-06
    Lisa Delmont, NJ, United States 01-30-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "The Civil War Marches On"

    This is a very good book but it is long and I am exhausted after marching, burning, and plundering across the South; I am ready to end the war as soon as possible but the characters are fascinating and they are hard to let go.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolynn Burke, VA, USA 10-06-05
    Carolynn Burke, VA, USA 10-06-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "An average book"

    The reviews on this book have been very good and emphasize the civil war/Sherman context, which I found lacking. The book was an interesting enough listen but no more. The book uses the civil war as a mere backdrop, the March of Sherman is no more than a basic connection between stories and the characters are not terribly compelling. Some of them seem to be more of a reason to flash between stories as opposed to a real character in and of themselves The narrative flows well enough but its not terribly engrossing. If I had gotten this book in print version, I would not have finished it. As an audio book, it is good enough but not great.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 01-02-12
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 01-02-12 Member Since 2005

    malfi

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Doctorow at His Best"

    I haven't enjoyed a Doctorow novel this much since I first read Ragtime. The structure is similar: the story is told from the points of view of a diverse group of characters who have one thing in common, their participation--willing or unwilling--in events surrounding Sherman's march. The characterizations were fascinating. Someone mentioned his atittude towards Sherman was hostile, but I didn't read it that way. In fact, he tempered it with Sherman's sadness about his son's death and his subsequent sympathy for other children and for parents who have also lost children. And he seems to have a moment of insight when he meets Johnston near the end of the novel. I loved Pearl and Stephen Walsh, Calvin, Sartoris, Arly--all of whose lives had been changed forever by the experience of war--some for the better, others much worse. A solid and engaging work.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael Potomac, MD, United States 10-23-08
    michael Potomac, MD, United States 10-23-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
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    "great narration"

    narrator brought the book to life. excellent

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Minneapolis, MN, USA 09-22-07
    Andrew Minneapolis, MN, USA 09-22-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    5
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    "Wonderful"

    Doctorow is a wonderful story teller. The paths of the characters flow, and his language is very satisfying. One of my favorite purchases so far.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cherie Estill Cincinnati, Ohio United States 02-18-07
    Cherie Estill Cincinnati, Ohio United States 02-18-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Interesting"

    I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to learn more about Sherman's March.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabriela Alamo, CA, USA 01-06-06
    Gabriela Alamo, CA, USA 01-06-06
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    "Merely a B"

    I agree with another reviewer that although the book is pretty good entertainment as a listen, I could never have gotten through it as a read. I found the historical aspects interesting, but the characters and plot line were not compelling. It reminded me a little of a made-for-TV miniseries.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Riverview, FL, USA 11-20-05
    Katherine Riverview, FL, USA 11-20-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Must listen for Civil War Buffs"

    I scoff up every historical novel about the civil war I can get my hands on, but this is the absolute creme of the crop. It's about the civil war, but its more about the people who fought it, from the drummer boy up to the generals. Don't miss this one. It is a wonderful experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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