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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.

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Bad reader

Where does The March rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

What I loved about this was the detailed depiction of the horrors and wanton destruction of Sherman's march. (I am assuming that Mr. Doctorow did his research.) This is an event in history that was given very short shrift in my distant high school education. It's no wonder that The South still holds a lot of grudges against The North.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Joe Morton?

This is a very disappointing read by a good actor. Too bad. He doesn't seem to have rehearsed at all, so that by the time he reaches the end of a sentence, he sounds surprised. However, his voice is very nice. But he also seems to confuse a southern accent with stupidity, so that the intelligent characters and the slower ones all sound equally slow of mind.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gallops along at a breakneck, captivating pace

What did you love best about The March?

I began reading this as a recommended book from my college history course, only to be pulled in by one astonishing event after another, with heroes and antiheroes being introduced, toyed with, and sometimes wiped out altogether, leaving you with an unceasing suspense. The performance is also spot on, enlivening the audiobook with each character's voice and personality. I highly recommend this.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The narrator makes the book

I'm sure I would have enjoyed reading the print edition, but oh my the verbal acting ability of Morton made the experience exceptional. The ultra liberal use of character vignettes was a novel way of describing the various viewpoints of the conflict, but sometimes seemed lacking in development. My greatest disappointment was the ending--seemed like the author ran out of vision for his conclusion.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A moving and sobering trip back in time ...

a gifted natrator brought the msny souls Doctorow introduced me to to life. regretted the end ... could have listened for hours more.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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  • David
  • United States
  • 07-28-15

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 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • Paso Robles, CA, USA
  • 09-17-09

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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