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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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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".

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  • Story

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.

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  • Performance
  • Story

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!"

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  • Betsy
  • brooklyn, NY
  • 09-03-11

Wonderful!

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

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  • Story
  • Melissa
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 08-01-11

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.

  • Overall
  • CAROLE
  • United States
  • 04-26-11

Excellent!

This is the first audio book I listen to. I had read it many years ago and I loved hearing it again from a different perspective. The narration was superb!

  • Overall

Tedious

Historical context is interesting, but a bit forced. Similarly, the narrator (March) is a bit too much.
On the whole, the author seems constrained to imbue the main character with with overly modern sensibilities on race, women, vegetarianism, capitalism, sex, etc., and release him into the Civil War era.
I wouldn't say the story is without merit, but it is a bit of a slog. Consider listening to an abridgment.

  • Overall
  • Lyn
  • LADY LAKE, FL, United States
  • 04-18-08

OLD FRIENDS

I really enjoyed this book. I like historic dramas and this qualified. Seeing the March family from a whole different perspective was a real treat.

  • Overall
  • Jeanie
  • Hendersonville, TN, USA
  • 01-12-07

A Tad Over The Top...

Yes, most Transendentalists were idealist in nature... but idealists were and are not necessarily foolish and preachy hypocrites. Geraldine Brooks's Chaplain March is, unfortunately, all of the above. I realize that "Little Women" is not a sacred text. However, I believe it is the author's responsibility to be more than cautious and gentle when taking literary license with characters from such a popular classic. Not only does Brooks paint Mr. March as being a self-centered fool, but her Marmie is a screaming and often irrational virago. To me, these characterizations were almost sacrilegious. I read "Little Women" for the first time at age ten, and being a quiet and bookish child, these characters became my friends and extended family. I just wish Ms. Brooks had been more careful when painting this particular family portrait.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I want my time and money back.

Truly, one of the worst listening experiences I have encountered. It's led me to create a new component to my audio book-buying algorithm. Avoid Easton at all costs.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful