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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  35,249 ratings  ·  4,363 reviews
Historical fiction. Civil War era.
ebook, 265 pages
Published January 31st 2006 by Penguin (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 04, 2007 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like historical fiction
It's not that I don't like any historical fiction, I just think that it's a really hard thing to do right, without simplifying everything. Nah, I really just hate historical fiction. And I think that March is a perfect example of historical fiction gone wrong.

1. I hate it in historical fiction when... the author seems to cling to one or two details in history and repeat them over and over again. In this book, the author seems intent on measuring everything in rods, no matter how short or long t
I wanted desperately to like this book! And I sort of did! "Little Women" is one of my wife's favs, and I'm a sucker for Civil War novels (all five billion of 'em). But this book, though elegantly written, struck me as too schmaltzy and too overly preachy to enjoy. It was also a wee bit predictable as a Civ War novel. Brooks made sure to hit the Twelve Points of the True CW Novel: (1) interracial romance, (2) old urbane southern woman with power, (3) the meat and stench of the field hospital, (4 ...more
Mar 05, 2008 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Little Women
This is one of the most Pulizer-worthy novels I've read in a long while. The novel tells the previously untold story of the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. In Little Women, the reader only gets to know Peter March through his letters sent home to his family from the Civil War. Of course, in the interest of sparing his family the details of war, his letters are more cheerful than his reality. Geraldine Brooks uses the novel March to tell of Mr. March's early life as a traveling ...more
Ok, to be honest - I couldn't finish it! I've completely lost faith in the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It's becoming like a Grammy award for pop music (see Mariah Carey and Celine Dion). This book is pretentious and short-sighted from page one. Come on, a vegetarian, Unitarian, abolitionist, transcendentalist, book-lover from the North is just one HUGE cliche that, frankly, probably did not exist during the Civil War. I know that Louisa May Alcott's parents (as that is the subject of this book) ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I now know, having perused Geraldine Brooks' website, that March won the 2006 Pulitzer prize for fiction. I had not noticed that it had received such acclaim when I pulled it from the shelf at our modest library, but now, having finished the last page, I am not surprised it did. It is good. Brooks' is an authentic voice. Her extensive reading of primary sources, particularly the writings of Bronson Alcott, that was the inspiration for L.M. Alcott's father figure in Little Women, gives Brooks a h ...more
I was all ready to give March by Geraldine Brooks three stars until I got to this passage:

"I am not alone in this. I only let him do to me what men have ever done to women: march off to empty glory and hollow acclaim and leave us behind to pick up the pieces. The broken cities, the burned barns, the innocent injured beasts, the ruined bodies of the boys we bore and the men we lay with.

The waste of it. I sit here, and I look at him, and it is as if a hundred women sit beside me: the revolutionary
Gary  the Bookworm
In March, Geraldine Brooks imaginatively writes a back story for Little Women by turning a beloved children's novel into an adult tour de force. She takes on many of the critical social issues facing Americans in the Nineteenth Century and weaves them into the lives of the fictitious March family.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The mostly absent father from Little Women takes center stage and confronts the prevailing moral crisis of the day-slavery and the abolitionist response. Real historical figures are introduced and
You read a book and its complexities will devour you and leave you unable to describe the feeling. There is not much I can say here. Complex characters, complex story, a complex timeframe, embodied within graceful prose. Enough narrative distance to create objectivity. Gut-wrenching. Soul-searching.

There is March, the main character, an abolitionist, who leaves his family to join the American Civil War as a chaplain. Then again, March is but a speck in the book, as there is an intricate plot wh
The problem with March is that it's tied in to a beloved children's story. While this might have been a terrific marketing ploy, (fan fiction often is, since it offers immediate context and recognition,) it created two very different stories. The first: a reworking of one absent and one present (and much loved) character in a famous work of fiction. The second: a story of a pacifist who went to war in one of the bloodiest and most tragic conflicts in our nation's history.

The first seems a recip
Well.. I finished the audiobook last night and I must say that I really did enjoy listening to the narrator's voice - it was really nice and warm. But the book itself..

I think Brooks' writing style is fabulous, I really enjoyed that. The beginning of the book was relatively gripping, but I got increasingly irritated with the main character March. For one he remained the very naive yet proud dreamer throughout the entire book, and while I found it endearing at first, he did not develop as a chara

I respected Geraldine Brooks as a journalist and a writer of non-fiction for many years before she started writing novels and I’ve long meant to read this novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2006.

Having only recently re-read Little Women for the first time in many years, this seemed the ideal time to tackle a book which draws on that novel for its inspiration. Brooks notes in the afterward to the novel that Little Women is concerned with the way a year lived at the edge of war wo
When I finished this book, I was satisfied with the story but impatient with the character of March, who seems to caught up in his own weakness and cause. A navel gazer to the nth degree who, even after his wartime experiences, never has a clue to the feelings or hopes of others and remains buried in hypocrisy. He seeks redemption while hiding his actions and thoughts, in direct contrast to what he preaches as a religious leader and discards the needs of his family from the beginning when he squ ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I wasn't sure how I'd like a Civil War book. Not my favorite time period, but this was excellent. This was my introduction to Geraldine Brooks as a novelist. I'd read her non-fiction Nine Parts of Desire, but none of her fiction. Now I've read all of her novels and enjoyed every one.

This is my favorite quote from March:

"Who is the brave man---he who feels no fear? If so, then bravery is but a polite term for a mind devoid of rationality and imagination. The brave man, the real hero, quakes with
I was so excited to read this, since I love Little Women so much! I was thrilled to think of the possibilities that are gained from seeing the stories through the eyes of Mr. March, their father.

However, I was sorely disappointed. The story was not written in the same spirit or style as the original, which can be expected with a different author. However, the main character did not have the morals and character that you would hope, gleaning from an optimistic book like Little Women.

I feel like
It feels like a long time since I’ve read such an accomplished novel. Geraldine Brooks manages to catch the horror of war in a phrase: “…[men] were clinging [to the rocky bluff over the river] as a cluster of bees dangling from a hive, and slipping off in clumps, four or five together.” Her characters are so richly drawn and steeped in a historically accurate language that we feel transported, and are eager to delve into our own researches.

In this novel she recreates the environment of one of o
I wasn't sure about this one initially - I've read 3 books by this author - and I loved one, thought one was OK and loved the other until about 90% of the way through the book and the final 10% was incredibly disappointing, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect of this. Especially since it was giving us a different perspective on Mr March, the father of Louisa May Alcott's Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, who seems such a godly and dependable man in the little we see of him in Little Women - I wasn't sure ...more

This is a very typical way to start a review but I just can't help it since only a book this bad could have finally compelled me to write a review. It's not that this is the worst book I've ever read, undoubtedly there are far worse. But Geraldine Brooks had a decent track record until this! What is this? It's fan fiction at best. Which would be cool if say it wasn't done by a Pulitzer Prize winning author and didn't completely besmirch a beloved fictional family of the Marches. Mr. March's cha
Dec 10, 2012 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alcott fans
A very nice account of the mythological Mr. March's life of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. This book was everything I expected it to be. The book gives an excellent view of the civil war as seen through the eyes of a pacifist and vegetarian. I like that Brooks doesn't make the Marches as an ideal family as Little Women does, but yet she keeps the sense of a loving family. This book almost makes me want to pick up Little Women again.

My only knock on Brooks' writing is that she sometimes falls
This is the story of Peter March, the absent father of Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth of Little Women. Clever, poignant, informative, inspiring, heartbreaking, interesting and historical, Brooks takes Louisa May Alcott's famous Little Women, and writes a parallel story about their father's experience during the same year. Little snippets are taken from Little Women, and it's as though you can see that famous play happening in the background in each scene. Sort of like Wicked and The Wizard of Oz, only mo ...more
Laurel Bradshaw
Review from Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Brooks's luminous second novel, after 2001's acclaimed Year of Wonders, imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. An idealistic Concord cleric, March becomes a Union chaplain and later finds himself assigned to be a teacher on a cotton plantation that employs freed slaves, or "contraband." His narrative begins with cheerful letters home, but March gradually reveals to the reader what he doe
Dec 12, 2013 Sera rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sera by: Bookish
Brook's book is based up Mr. March, the father in Little Women who is conspicuously absent from that book because he is off doing something or other in the Civil War. Since Alcott based the characters in Little Women on herself and her sisters, Brooks used Alcott's father as the starting point for her creation of Mr. March. Alcott's father was a radical progressive who was also an abolitionist, the latter of which Brooks makes a major theme of this book.

March is a beautifully written book, and M
This is the first book I've read by Brooks and I really enjoyed it, enough so that I want to read Year of Wonders. The writing is absorbing, and the plot harrowing. I felt Brooks did a great job of working off of the somewhat sugary life of Little Women and thrusting the reader into a more realistic depiction of the Civil War. Her brilliant idea was to write the fictional life of Mr. March, Jo's absent father from Little Women. As we all know that Alcott borrowed from her own life, there's a lev ...more
May 07, 2008 Carly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Little Women and people who hated Little Women
Recommended to Carly by: Susan N. from Monday Night Book Group
We read this for our May book discussion, and I'm now passionately interested in Louisa May Alcott and her father. The story of Mr. March's service in the war was engrossing, leaving questions about the price of war, the meaning of service and family, and truth.
Melissa Coyle
Mr. March is the father of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and based loosely on her own father, Bronson Alcott, who was also an idealist who was close friends of Thoreau and Emerson. This man's (March) lack of understanding and miscommunication of his wife's (Marmee) intentions on abolitionism leads them into poverty and him into the horrors of the Civil War. This book has you look at the realities of the Civil War and the slaves who suffered the consequences from both the prejudices of the Uni ...more
Outstanding tale of Peter March, a Concord minister who serves as a Union chaplain early in the Civil war and then as a teacher for a Virginia plantation settlement for runaway slaves. Brilliant rendition of a the wartime experiences of the absent father in Alcott's "Little Women", with much return in memory of his life before meeting his beloved wife Marmee and the family accommodation to his loss of fortune due to funding of the abolitionist John Brown. Essentially the story is about the natur ...more
Michelle Lemaster
Jan 08, 2009 Michelle Lemaster rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Civil War enthusiasts, Little Women enthusiasts, lovers of good writing!
Amazing detail from the Civil War period. Historical fiction in its best form. Because of its connections to Little Women, I've decided that it too is a must-read!

I have now finished March (whew! Just in time for our gathering Monday!). I really like the inclusion of Marmee's perspective in the latter half of the book. The afterward was also very enlightening. I really liked learning that Brooks modeled Mr. March himself after Loisa May Alcott's own father-- much in the way the characters of Lit
I loved Little Women as a kid, accepting it at face value. It was every little girl's dream family, an absolutely flawless mother and sisters who were too good to be real.

So it was fascinating to read Geraldine Brook's novel about their father's experience during the Civil War. She actually based it on Louisa May Alcott's father, a well-known radical and educator.

The best part of the book came when she changed voices and we finally got to hear an angry and bitter Marmee, who got to say that wa
Did you read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott? I did, many years ago when I was a child and I didn't understand it. I never tried again although I would like to some time. This story is based on the father in Little Women. The "little women" were the four daughters of Marmee and Mr. March. Mr. March is away at war during the story of Little Women. So tell us about Mr. March please.
That is what this book is about, Mr. March as an 18 year old itinerant peddler where he meets a black house slave n
Jane Anne
One of the most perfect books I have ever read. Beautifully written, the language is stunning. Well designed and constructed with part of the story being told in flashback and the last part from Marmee's perspective. I am glad I read Little Women before reading this. Not only a well crafted well written story, it also raises philosophical questions prompting much thought and consideration. This book deserves the highest praise.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issu
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