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The March

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  6,148 ratings  ·  666 reviews

In 1864, Union general William Tecumseh Sherman marched his sixty thousand troops through Georgia to the sea, and then up into the Carolinas. The army fought off Confederate forces, demolished cities, and accumulated a borne-along population of freed blacks and white re
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2005)
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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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Erik Graff
Oct 17, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: citizens of the U.S.A.
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
I have enjoyed everything I've read by Doctorow and, having just opened two histories about the American Civil War and finding this novel about the period for sale at a local bookstore, I picked this additional book by him up, adopting it as a bedtime supplement to the week's studies. I wasn't disappointed.

The title refers to W.T. Sherman's 'march to the sea', specifically to the path of his army from Georgia through the Carolinas up through the assassination of Lincoln and Lee's surrender to Gr
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’
"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
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
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
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
Bookmarks Magazine

Critics call The March an unequaled success, reminiscent of Doctorow's classic Ragtime in spirit and The Red Badge of Courage, War and Peace, and Gone With the Wind in grand scope and "churn and boil of a plot" (Rocky Mountain News). Rather than focusing on the causes of war, Doctorow shows how the chaos of battle affected individual lives__from losing a limb to losing one's sanity. The character Pearl, who in a twist of fate wreaks satisfying revenge, appealed the most. Yet Doctorow paints all

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
Pac Mclaurin
Having lived in Cheraw SC, one of the towns described in the book and a place where Sherman had a large encampment to prepare for his entry into North Carolina, I felt a bond to this book. The characters in the book are quite believable. The way the cruelty of slavery and the racism that pervasively ran in those who there to "free" them from bondage was apparent. When I was a child I was dressed up and participated in a parade on Confederate Memorial day. It was somewhat confusing to me because ...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.
Mike Jensen
Sherman's march does not seem to be promising material for a novel. Of course, Doctorow focuses on certain characters in and outside of the Union army, and, of course, he focuses on characters of different races, and, of course, he focuses on characters from different social classes. Any writer must. I presume a number of the characters not of Sherman's staff are Doctorow's creations.

Such a book must be episodic and disoltury. It is. I believe this hurts the book for a good deal of its length, a
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.
Mike Shoop
What kept going through my mind as I read this was "war is hell." Doctorow's huge, broad canvas novel shows very convincingly the events of Union General Sherman's famous Civil War march from Atlanta to Savannah and up through the Carolinas in 1864-65. A huge army of 60,000 that pretty much destroyed all in its path, swelled with newly freed slaves and other followers, became a kind of "floating society" with problems of its own as it moved along, pillaging, raping, burning and murdering. He fol ...more
I have read and enjoyed Doctorow’s Ragtime and The Book of Daniel so I’ve enjoyed catching up with another adaptation of American history. It’s the Civil War and Sherman’s dreadful march through Georgia and the Carolinas that ended that carbage which should have taught generals and politicians what horrors and futility industrialised warfare brings. Doctorow mediates the horror by selecting representative events, deaths and woundings. His focus is on Sherman himself and his relationship with the ...more
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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
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