The March
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The March

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  5,551 ratings  ·  641 reviews
Civil War relived!!
Paperback, 363 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Random House
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Will Byrnes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 28, 2007 Bart rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Contemporary fiction fans
This was good, not great.

Such has been my feeling about all three of the Doctorow novels I've read, Billy Bathgate, City of God and The March. All of these novels are well-structured, technically proficient works, and all contain something that makes them above average.

But nothing quite makes them extraordinary.

Some credit has to go to Doctorow, however, just for picking Tecumseh Sherman's march as his topic. This is a controversial subject, even 140 years later. Truthfully, I most enjoyed the p...more
Totally mesmerizing, hallucinagenic almost. Creates that feeling of being unmoored from the shore and swept along a in a current. At any moment, someone or something else can float by you as you're carried along by the water against your will, just hoping to keep your feet up so as not to get pulled under by a hidden rock or branch and drown. He's a really good writer.
I'm a big fan of Doctorow, and we go way back; he's probably the first serious contemporary novelist I read, thanks to a copy of Ragtime acquired when I attended Ragtime Night at Comiskey Park sometime in the late 1970s (I find the notion that copies of a Doctorow novel were given away by the thousands at a White Sox game only slightly more mystifying than the fact that I was attending a White Sox game to begin with). This, however, is not his strongest work. Doctorow used Sherman's March to the...more
Like Ragtime, The March portrays a historical episode through a diverse group of characters (including Coalhouse Wallker, Sr.). In this case, the piece of history is centered around Sherman's Union Army following the burning of Atlanta. Characters include Union Officers, confederate soldiers, former slaves, and Southern women who join the march as nurses. Although it was well-written, I found that the number of characters made it a little difficult to follow, and I didn't really get attached to...more
Der Amerikanische Bürgerkrieg kurz vor der Entscheidung -
im Jahre 1865 führt DER MARSCH von Georgia über South Carolina nach North Carolina.
Den Unionstruppen schliessen sich immer mehr (dann ehemalige) Sklaven an und es wird nur zu deutlich, dass dies nur der Schwächung der “Rebellen“ diente und kein hehres Ziel der Nordstaaten war (nachher wurde es dann so “verkauft“).
Letztlich sind sie nur zusätzliche Mäuler, die kaum gestopft werden können und es gilt sie loszuwerden.
Ihnen wird schmerzlich b...more
Confidence Man era Melville, Whitman, Joseph Heller. McCarthy, Kurosawa (Hidden Fortress), Chaucer, Dos Passos, all come along on the march. Primal, poetic, American this book of the total war we unleashed punctuates the mayhem with moments of absurd comedy and character warmth. A collage of characters some of which appear for a few pages others are wound throughout the entire book create an effect between a tapestry and documentary with the feel of epic poetry and the drive and grit of a novel.
I kind of feel about this book the way I felt about the movie "The Departed". It certainly had the look and feel of a Scorsese movie, but without the heart; like he was going through the motions. This has the feel of a Doctorow book, it is historical fiction with real characters interspersed with imaginary ones, but it was vaguely unsatisfying. Stylistically he still creates an effective vehicle, and I read it from beginning to end fairly quickly; but very little in it either created real emotio...more
Ed Mestre
A quick read and with so many characters and plot lines it is perfect if you like to channel surf or have ADHD. We follow these characters, from the lowliest freed slave to General Sherman, as they march through Georgia, South & North Carolina. A fascinating cross section of Northern and Southern society we see the Civil War through a very human perspective. Even Sherman emerges from the chiseled daguerreotype image we grew up with into a real human being. At times funny, at times heartbreak...more
Joy H.
_The March_ (2005) by E.L. Doctorow
"This is an historical fiction account of General Sherman's military march through the South during the American Civil War." (from a member review at LibraryThing)

Great read! Now I'm motivated to read Doctorow's other books.

I loved the characters in this book. I skimmed over the geographical details which mapped out the Civil War battle locations and the war strategies. I was mostly engrossed in the characters and their fate.

I found an interesting review of th...more
Mana Neyestani
رگتایم را نخوانده ام همچنین بیلی بت‌گیت را. در واقع پیش‌روی اولین تجربه داکترو خوانی من است. کتاب را دوست داشتم هرچند قدری مکانیکی است و شخصیت ها همه یک‌اندازه جاندار و خوب از کار درنیامده اند. موفقیت داکترو این است که توانسته اصلی ترین شخصیت رمانش را خوب و قابل باور بسازد. این اصلی ترین شخصیت نه پرل دختر دورگه سیاه‌پوست است نه عاشق اش استیون والش، نه دختر قاضی تامپسن است نه ویل و آرلی سربازهای فراری و نه حتی ژنرال شرمن افسانه‌ای . شخصیت اصلی، خود پیش‌روی است، حرکت ارتش اتحادیه به سمت سرزمینهای...more
Well-written novel about Gen.Sherman's march through the Carolinas,after destroying the city of Atlanta.It validates Sherman's statement that "war is hell", not only for the soldiers on each side but also for the civilians,freed slaves,the wounded,the medical staff.
I'm planning to read more by this author.
The March- E L Doctorw

It seems as though in Goodreads reviews, I spend much of the time confessing my ignorance on various topics and countries - I console myself by thinking - isn’t that why we read? Therefore, being almost entirely ignorant of the American Civil war, I had little or no knowledge of the events of this novel and am still not entirely sure which were real and which were simply literary license. Perhaps a little of both, either way, Doctorow, as with ‘Billy Bathgate’ and ‘Ragtime’...more
"You would like this," said my wife, "you're a southerner." My brain began cogitating this suggestion. "Uh, well, honey. . . Sherman actually burned down the south," came my retort having, somehow, become offended. This exchange sums up how I felt throughout reading The March, but now having been with Sherman, his troops, and the stragglers on the way I can say I liked the book. I can even call it good. I wanted to hate this book, finding a strange sense of "southern-ness" bubble up as the Union...more
Doctorow is best known for Ragtime. He is also the author of several other historical novels including Billy Bathgate and The Book of Daniel. The March another historical novel describes Sherman's march at the end of the Civil War.

Writing an historical novel is difficult because, by definition, the author must stick closely with the historical facts and develop characters. The best historical novels also provide an excellent picture of the times. Without doing further research it must be admitte...more
This brilliant but flawed work of historical fiction chronicles William Tecumseh Sherman's storied march to the sea and its aftermath until the end of the Civil War. The book is brilliant in its insight but flawed by an almost Dickensian sentimentality at times; for example, the noble African American photographer Calvin Harper is afflicted by blindness after he tries to foil an assassination attempt. Although there is death aplenty in this story, the way it is meted out suggests a poetic justic...more
The winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner (as well as a Pulitzer finalist), The March is a vivid imagining of General Sherman’s destructive march through the south at the tail end of the Civil War. Doctorow describes the rampant pillaging and razing of southern towns from Georgia to South Carolina up through North Carolina in all their manic frenzy. What Doctorow does admirably well is his portrayal of Sherman’s army as this living organism. In one scene he descri...more
I am proud to say that when this book was in hardcover, I was in a cable-access-type show about new books for Christmas available at your local bookstore! What did I say about this book? PRESERVED FOREVER ON CAMERA? "This book is excellent historical fiction, so if you're looking for excellent historical fiction, this is the book for you." Yes, yes I really said that. And I hadn't even read the book! But now I have.

It's beautifully written, I think, in Doctorow's usual three-paragraph-long sent...more
Der amerikanische Bürgerkrieg geht in sein 4. Jahr und William Tecumseh Sherman, General der Unionstruppen, beginnt nach der Eroberung Atlantas den langen Marsch durch Georgia, South und North Carolina. "Der Marsch" beschreibt dieses Unternehmen ohne direkte Hauptpersonen. Ineinander verwobene Handlungstränge und die unterschiedlichsten Charaktere zeigen die ganze Grausamkeit dieses ersten "modernen" Krieges. Soldaten die für ihre Ideale kämpfen oder auch solche, die nur 300-$-Ersatzmänner waren...more
Lynn Pribus
Who knew Sherman's march through Georgia to the sea didn't stop there? Well, not me. This throng of soldiers -- encumbered by freed and confused slaves, starving camp followers and burned-out farmers -- turned north through the Carolinas, ending up near Goldsboro, N.C. about the time Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

I'd just finished ANDERSONVILLE which was so densely and authentically written, that this seemed a bit casual. There were deaths and rains and not enough food, but it didn't grab me in...more
I found The March a little less readable than the two other books I have read by Doctorow, "Homer and Langley" and "Billy Bathgate". That said, this is a beautifully written book. I tend to like single narrator first person best. The March has several narrators which is not my preference. The March was published in 2005 and received the Pen/Faulkner award as well as the National Book Critics Award. It was also runner up for a Pulitzer. There are some beautiful passages in the book. I really enjo...more
Civil War setting. Lots of colorful, concrete details about general Sherman's march after the burning of Atlanta. Brings alive a messy, pivotal moment in American history. The soldiers on the march were joined by a rag-tag group of freed slaves and white women and children who had become refugees. The narrative is like a vast river pulling you along (long sentences, almost stream of consciousness). The scale is both "epic" (momentous history) and "personal" (love story). Well worth reading.
Few authors' writing could stand up to the epic, disturbing and violent themes that explain the American civil war here. Doctorow's does. His mesmerizing Gen. Sherman personifies the war itself as he quashes the rebellion in the south with a horrifying "scorched earth" policy.(n.b. the Union general isn't too interested in the freed slaves trailing his army). Alas, the author understands the war better than he understands women: the female characters are dull as dishwater. Impressive anyway.
Sherman seems to get a pretty bad press for his destructive rampage through Georgia and the Carolinas. This book does manage to humanise him and his cohorts somewhat, though doesn't give much historical background to the Civil War. It is more a series of perceptive vignettes of soldiers, freed slaves and displaced civilians caught up in the chaos and misery of the unrelenting campaign. Vivid and immediate, but an easy, pleasurable and rewarding read despite the subject matter.
6th Book Club. [skipped the 5th]

It was strange to feel so emotionally unattached while reading a war book. My progress was slow and steady -- I never felt inclined to stay up late reading it. I'm still trying to figure out why, although I suspect it's at least in part due to how Doctorow scatters many characters' stories across the novel... while they are interconnected much of the time and therefore layer on top of one another, I don't think I was allowed to settle with or even travel with a ch...more
Doctorow’s fictional account of Sherman’s l864-65 march through Georgia and his swing north through the Carolinas reminded me of his first novel, RAGIME. Doctorow uses the same kaleidoscopic multiple viewpoint technique to give a vision of Sherman’s campaign, a decisive turn in the war which led to Lee’s surrender in the spring of l865.

The war is experienced through a variety of lives caught up in this conflict of a country tearing itself apart. On the northern side are Sherman and his officers...more
J.M. Slowik
I can't say enough about how brilliant a book this is, but I'll try to be concise. To my mind, this is the Civil War novel, even though its focus rests primarily on Sherman's march to Savannah, instead of on the whole monster. Its scope, like all the greatest novels, is universal. It's written not only with deep, enviable talent but also with sharp moral wisdom. Every sentence feels strong-- perfected, but not showing the effort-- and every paragraph necessary, integral to the whole.

When it com...more
I was quite engrossed by this book. The story-lines are many and are like a collection of lightly-connected short stories all surrounding Sherman's march. It is both unbelievable that these things could have happen, and true, not factual events, but true stories.

It isn't a book about battles. These are the sudden and transformative stories of people in the path of armies. It forces you to imagine it, a war that wanders through your backyard, into your home, into your life. It forces you to imagi...more
Kilian Metcalf
If you don't think war is hell, this book will change your mind. No brutal details are glossed over or softened. Yet, somehow in the middle of the chaos and destruction, characters find opportunities for love, compassion, and healing, sometimes in spite of themselves.
Mildly entertaining story of the Civil War. The writing was good, but I wish he didn't keep jumping around from character to character. I suppose it was to illustrate how many different people were affected by the war, but it was bothersome to me.
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E. L. DOCTOROW’S works of fiction include Homer & Langley,The March, Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, the Book of Daniel, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, The Waterworks, and All the Time in the World. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, The Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, and the presidential...more
More about E.L. Doctorow...
Ragtime Homer & Langley Billy Bathgate The Book of Daniel World's Fair

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“Emily supposed the modern world was fortunate in the progress of science. But she could not help but feel at this moment the impropriety of male invasiveness. She knew he was working to save this poor woman, but in her mind, too, was a sense of Wrede's science as adding to the abuse committed by his fellow soldiers. He said not a word. It was as if the girl were no more than the surgical challenge she offered.” 1 likes
“It was as if God had decreed this characterless engagement of brainless forces as his answer to the human presumption.” 1 likes
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