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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 (576 )
5 star
 (180)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (134 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (130 )
5 star
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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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  •  
    C.J. 03-29-15
    C.J. 03-29-15

    Pink House

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "PERFECTION."

    A perfect balance of historical fact and personal story. I recommend this book to ALL.
    Don't miss it! The End

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Somerset, Kentucky, United States 02-09-14
    Joseph Somerset, Kentucky, United States 02-09-14 Member Since 2011

    Tell us about yourself! Lifelong reader and passionate pursuer of knowledge. I love Audible because I never have to stop reading.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Doctorow and his style"

    I love a good historical novel, and Doctorow is my favorite in this genre. Ragtime and The March both illustrate periods in American history that are much easier to feel and understand through his eyes. The reader was superb.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen & Michael Rogers Madison, AL United States 07-31-15
    Kathleen & Michael Rogers Madison, AL United States 07-31-15 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful Characters - good History"

    I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It gave me a good understanding of this part of the war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 07-28-15
    David United States 07-28-15 Member Since 2012

    Hellicopter Man

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    "A Silly Work. "

    Charley Rose today includes a retrospective on this work:; Doctorow tells us he does not write historical fiction. He writes novels. Rose then presumes Sherman is portrayed from research and Doctorow corrects him. "He is my Sherman." Rose then persists; this novel shows the chaos of war!

    But It does not. I read non-fiction and recommend Don Carlon's "Ghosts of the Ostfront" podcast for thar. Perhaps his "Wrath of the Khans". Novels show an outflow of the author's own mind and this is a novel. A light hearted one at that. I stopped listening just after Pearl finds the lieutenant with his letter.

    Back to the Rose show. The claptrap on war and how this apparently 'important' literary work boldly shows the defects and promise of America now makes me smile. Its why I decided to try this piece of fiction. And glad to have done so though I could not go on with it to the end. Perhaps later.

    Right now I am behind on my Plato and Aristotle ;) Seriously! That simply happens to be the case just know. In humorously true.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 01-16-14
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 01-16-14 Member Since 2009

    Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Let's Use Gen. Sherman and tell emancipation"
    If you could sum up The March in three words, what would they be?

    What is emanication.


    Would you be willing to try another book from E.L. Doctorow? Why or why not?

    Maybe. Storyline is readable(listenable) but weak.


    What does Joe Morton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Morton is quite good. Moved the overall grade from three stars to four.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. Just not that much umph.


    Any additional comments?

    What is it about our (U.S.) civil war. I have read/listened to a dozen histories (including all of Shelly Foote's the Civil War - which was phenomial) and four stories with Civil War backgrounds; yet one would think the horror of it all would cause one to stop reading about it and avoid having to live through the agony that episode of history wrought on people. Yet, when envisioning that human struggle that put brother against brother and enslaver against slave, that upheaval seems to always give us hope that no matter how horrible we think we are as humans, we may, just by small progressions - very small progressions - be making ourselves better creatures. What a massive toll it took to cause the damnation of slavery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BarelyAudible Paris, TX 08-16-13
    BarelyAudible Paris, TX 08-16-13 Member Since 2014

    Texas

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    "Had me gasping out loud."
    Where does The March rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the better historical novels that greatly conveys the grinding horror of Sherman's march that helped end the Civil War. There were several parts of the story where I gasped out loud. E.L.Doctrow uses language so well to communicate mood and theme. A truly great author.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Pearl is my favorite character. She helps convey the feelings of a slave while telling the story of the promise of a country evolving into a new social fabric.


    What does Joe Morton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Joe Morton is a 10/10 narrator. I will actively seek out other books he's narrated for listening. There are many characters in this book. Male, female, southern, northern, poor, wealthy.... Mr. Morton makes this book come alive - it's like listening to a multi-actor radio play. It's hard to believe this was all done by one guy. Just Excellent.


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

    Tearing apart a country to help it heal.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert W Santa Fe, NM, USA 12-22-05
    Robert W Santa Fe, NM, USA 12-22-05 Member Since 2000
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    "As only a great author can write"

    Wonderful story of the civil war and Sherman's March. Being a southerner I even understood why the violent dispatch of the such a large area of geography. It suredly helped to end the war sooner than later. Great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Paso Robles, CA, USA 09-17-09
    Sarah Paso Robles, CA, USA 09-17-09 Member Since 2015
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    "not a light read, but interesting"

    The March, had lots of great characters, and the narrator was a very good reader. It was jus ok in my mind. It is very short, but it is a little but hard to get into.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle waycross, GA, USA 02-21-08
    Michelle waycross, GA, USA 02-21-08 Member Since 2014
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    "long and easy to follow"

    If you enjoy war and civil war time period there maybe redeming value here. I did not get much out of this story but there is much here to entertain. It was a very easy read and worth the time.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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