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.
"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)
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!
This is a most enjoyable book, one of the best I have heard. There are many different voices ranging from the accents of southern, both those born free and the enslaved. There is also the ride range of voices found among the northerners. The reader does an excellent job.
The character development is wonderful and even though you know how the American Civil War ends, The March keeps you interested in its characters. You want to know what happens to Pearl, the newly freed young slave girl, Miss Emily, the judge’s daughter who looses everything when Sherman comes to town, particular soldiers, troop followers and a host of others affected by General Sherman’s march. You spend some time with Sherman and his officers, and the privates on foot. You meet an army surgeon born in Germany and a British reporter.
You encounter the brutality of war and still find some humor. The unexpected happens.
It is a good solid listen and one I look forward to hearing again.
Finished this book in 2 days. Doctorow's masterfully intertwines the stories of the people affected by the most Uncivil of wars. This is Doctorow at his absolute best!
I like unabridged novels. When I first joined Audible, many were abridged. That has changed. Non-fiction, politics, bios are favorites
This is the best book I have heard or "read" since joining Audible. I think that the writing and the reading were excellent. For civil war history buffs, this is a must. I have tried others by this author and not been able to finish. I thought that the discussion of the many factors of the march and the war were very well done. I will look for other books by Doctorow now.
A difficult subject to tackle because of the geographic spread of the action and the constraints of audio in following the action. Built into this genre is the uncertainty over who is an historic personage and who is a purely fictional character. I like Doctorow and thought City of God, Billy Bathgate wonderful novels. The writing in The March was not as rich as in City of God, but it was more than adequate to render the characters and the action. A problem was the absence of historic context - just what was happening elsewhere in the war, what was Grant doing, how important was Sherman's victories, etc.
One final caveat: Joe Morton's narration was not good enough. When de does the characters he's fine; but when he reads the narrator's voice it was dull and not properly inflected in too many places.
?The March? is a well-constructed listen with a good narrator. Like many of the audible listeners I keep a book on my iPod at all times and find this one of my favorite parts of the day. I listen to the New York Times on the way to work and a novel home. I am a Civil War buff and found some interesting insight here. The suspense, however, was not so great that I sat in the car in the garage. That is my criteria for a great novel. I give it a 4 of 5.
Joe Morton made all the difference in the world in enjoying this book. He made all the characters come alive. His delivery is making me listen to it again
Exceptionally well written; Doctorow has mastered the English language and tells a fascinating, fact-based tale which kept me engrossed. The narrator is the best I've heard in an audiobook and he truly brings the characters to life.
And Joe Morton is my new favorite narrator. This book defines Sherman's march by the outlines created by the stories of the many, varied and interesting characters portrayed. It is beautifully done, with outstanding descriptions and characterizations. I hated for it to end!
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.
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