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Gone to Soldiers

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  2,956 Ratings  ·  222 Reviews
In a stunning tour-de-force, Marge Piercy has woven a tapestry of World War II, of six women and four men, who fought and died, worked and worried, and moved through the dizzying days of the war. A compelling chronicle of humans in conflict with inhuman events, GONE TO SOLIDERS is an unforgettable reading experience and a stirring tribute to the remarkable survival of the ...more
Paperback, 800 pages
Published April 12th 1988 by Fawcett (first published January 1st 1987)
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Lynn Asmus A novel is always fiction. If the cover says "A novel by.. " it is a work of fiction.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sue
Jun 05, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it
Gone to Soldiers is a novel told through characters in multiple settings: among them French Jewish resistance fighters; members of the intelligence community in Washington DC and London; a writer of fiction who moves into journalism; laborers in Detroit, along with their families; women entering the work force around the United States; men in various parts of the armed forces; and all the characters being faced with the changing mores of wartime when no one knows what the future will bring or if ...more
Dottie
No clue when I first read this nor how many times I've read it since then nor how many copies I still own nor how many I've given away to friends and family. It's that good in my opinion and Piercy is one of my favorite writers.
Suzanne
May 10, 2008 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
This is a sprawling epic covering a loosely-linked dozen people through WWII. Piercy explores the war among immigrants and citizens in the US, refugees, soldiers, spies, and members of the underground resistance; most of the characters eventually cross paths in one way or another. The characters are vividly painted, and as far as I know, it's fairly historically accurate. It's an incredible work of women's history and contributions to the war effort, as well as a very strong novel. I've read thi ...more
Jill
Jan 28, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all-time favorite books. I don't know if it's partly because I read it as I traveled around England with my mother many years ago, but I do remember trying to ration it, dreading coming to the end and not having these people in my life anymore. I love Marge Piercy's writing style and her books are always incredibly well-researched - or at least they seem to be, as I feel as if I'm living in the time of the book. This one takes place during WWII and follows quite a few character ...more
Ruth
Aug 08, 2009 Ruth rated it liked it
World War II was the leitmotif of my childhood, bracketed by my memories of Pearl Harbor Day ( “Go outside and play, children. We’re listening to the radio.”) and VJ Day, when a parade of cars jammed Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna. The photo of a dead American Marine half-buried in the sands of a Pacific Island is an image I’ve carried with me all my life.

So I was predisposed to read this book. It’s a big, fat, old-fashioned novel with a myriad of characters and plots, held together by the War,
...more
Martha
Apr 26, 2016 Martha rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I was sent the Kindle version of Gone to Soldiers by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for a review. I am grateful that this book is in digital format as a 768 page book can be difficult to hold.
Gone to Soldiers is an epic novel with great writing. We are introduced to the ten main characters(6 women and 4 men) in the beginning chapters.Their voices continue throughout the novel and it is through their eyes that we see WW2 and its effects on an entire generation. There ar
...more
Shomeret
Apr 24, 2016 Shomeret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have loved Marge Piercy's poetry and her science fiction novel, Woman on the Edge of Time. For me, she is a feminist icon. I received a request from the publisher to review the new e-book version of her 1987 novel Gone To Soldiers. So I decided that it was time that I read it. I received a free copy from the publisher via Net Galley in return for this honest review.

For feminists, it's important to note that much of the narrative is a story about women, and some were extraordinary. My personal
...more
Mary JL
Mar 13, 2010 Mary JL rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans/ Historians also
Recommended to Mary JL by: None--found while browsing
Shelves: fiction-classics
A rarity, my friends--five stars. I seldom give that but a few books deserve it and this is one.
Marge Piercy has taken ten major characters--six women and four men--and written a superb novel of the homefornt during World War II. She gives a very excellent portrayal of the hardships faced at home. Waiting to get a letter from the loved one overseas. The stringent rationing of gas, sugar and many other items. The rumors. The good times and the bad. The seperation of families. The political tensio
...more
Lynn
Jun 10, 2008 Lynn rated it really liked it
Amazing book. Follows a myriad of characters through World War II. Americans, French citizens, Jews and Gentiles. Citizens, prisoners, and soldiers. Lots of points of view to consider. 700 pages long and more than worth the read. I will truly miss some of these characters. I wish Marge Piercy would follow up on some of them - most especially Bernice, Naomi, and Jacqueline.
Dennis
Mar 25, 2008 Dennis rated it it was amazing
This book ruined me for all Marge Piercy novels to come because none have matched it in my opinion as a sheer tour-de-force of World War 2 as seen through various eyes. The strength shown by the characters was amazing and there were parts that really tore me apart. a definite re-read in the future.
Anne
Dec 31, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it
Very good epic read, though a bit slow at times. Marge Piercy is phenomenal at characterization . She uses this skill well by telling the stories of 10 people and how their lives take shape over the course of WW11 and it's aftermath.
Anna
Jan 13, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A resounding 5 stars. more like 8. Simply phenomenal storytelling.
Wendy
Aug 07, 2011 Wendy rated it did not like it
Shelves: good-riddance
I have to rewrite my review. I haven't read this book in 20 years, and started re-reading it early this month. My how things change.
While I like Piercy's writing and her characterizations and setting are very strong, I was totally blown away by the fact that just about every single character -- and there are many characters in this novel -- is involved with some kind of animal exploitation. This is probably not something a non-vegan would notice, and I recognize that animal exploitation has his
...more
Jessica Bronder
Apr 10, 2016 Jessica Bronder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an epic story about ten people during World War II. But these are not the normal stories that I have come to expect from books written about WWII. This book talks about women going against the social norm to be pilots. The rationing of chocolate, sugar, and gas. Even about women working the assembly line and the grief they went through. I loved this book because it is about the untold aspect of WWII. When I find books about the war, usually they are about the soldiers and the Jews. This ...more
Coquille Fleur
Dec 31, 2011 Coquille Fleur rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read, favorites
I've read ALL of her books and this one is definitely my favorite of all time. Be prepared to cry your eyes out. World War II was intense no matter where you lived and this book shows all kinds of people who may or may not survive it... From the resistance gueurrilla fighters to the women on the assembly lines, this book shows the multi-faceted world that existed for women in the early 1940's. Gingembre is my favorite warrior spirit in a literary work. Worth reading just for her.
Bonnye Reed
Jul 24, 2016 Bonnye Reed rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-or-pdf
GNAB I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Marge Piercy, and Open Road Integrated Media in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sharing your work with me.

This is an incredible novel. Marge Piercy guides us through the lives of several key people, from just prior to the German infiltration of France, and into the problems and joys following VE Day, and then VJ day. I found the fact that Gone to Soldiers was 1,100 plus pages daunting, and feared I would have probl
...more
Steve
Apr 02, 2014 Steve rated it liked it
This is a good book. Probably better than the 3 rating I gave it. Probably not as good as the ridiculously high cumulative response. The skinny here is that this is a story about a variety of peoples experiences during the World War II years. Its heavily focused on women, jews and, oddly enough, socialists. Apparently pre-war everyone was a socialist. The strongest aspect about the tale is that it tells the story that not so frequently told. Most WW II stories center on the soldiers, particularl ...more
Mia Tryst
Jan 17, 2011 Mia Tryst rated it it was amazing
GONE TO SOLDIERS is a timeless story about WWII that proves once again why Marge Piercy is a masterful story teller. A 770-page novel encompassing the lives of eight major characters and two minor, but no less important characters, Duvey and Murray, it's an epic story spanning the critical war years between 1939-1945. GONE TO SOLDIERS is more than a story about war and its atrocities; that is, it's not gorified guts and glory - sure there are plenty of searingly, painful scenes (and you'll feel ...more
Melody
Jul 02, 2013 Melody rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book was spectacular. I genuinely cared about the characters (whether I liked them or in some cases quite didn't) and they were written so honestly and accurately, at times I would think "I should look this person up to find out more about their life" as if they were real people! It sounds from the epilogue like Piercy put a massive amount of research into this book, and I think that is part of why the stories are so compelling. Also, Piercy writes about women's lives with such incredi ...more
Meredith
May 29, 2012 Meredith rated it really liked it
It was interesting to read this novel in parallel with a re-read of The Winds of War [Wouk]. I have read Wouk's book many times and thought I would see what a different novelist could do with the subject. Not as deep a read as Wouk's, Piercy's book was nonetheless an enjoyable read...she is a good writer and the book showed some depth of historical research although not so broad as Winds of War. Her characters are also more superficial than Wouk's, although overall more pleasant...kind of WWI Li ...more
Barbara
Jul 08, 2013 Barbara rated it it was amazing
What an unbelievable novel! I am not surprised that the research took seven years. Marge Piercy has tremendous skill at making every day, ordinary people real and their stories compelling. It is a long and complex novel. There are 10 main characters, all of whom are followed over several years. I learned so much from this novel about the World War II era here and abroad. I was a youngster at the time and recognized some of the elements (such as food stamps and victory gardens) but there was much ...more
Mindy Evans
Jun 13, 2016 Mindy Evans rated it it was amazing
This book was great! I'm not really into war books, so this surprised me. You basically get to view the war from 10 different perspectives. I felt so many emotions throughout the book. Happy, sad, angry, shocked, etc.
C.
This book has been sitting on my shelves for years, and now that I have something of an idea of who Marge Piercy is, I'm finally reading it. So far, I'm afraid her prose does not compare favourably to Margaret Atwood's (which I was reading just previously), but as this is true of more or less anyone it shouldn't really be taken as a criticism.
Jill Meyer
Aug 22, 2016 Jill Meyer rated it it was amazing
American author and poet Marge Piercy originally published her novel, "Gone to Soldiers", in 1987. I read the novel then but that was before Amazon reviews, so I waited til I reread the book in eform to write a review. Some books, when you reread them, you can't quite see what the magic was all about, but that's not true with "Gone to Soldiers". It's just as good as it was when I first read it.

"Gone to Soldiers" is a bit like Herman Wouk's epics, "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance", in
...more
Maricel Edwards
Jun 22, 2016 Maricel Edwards rated it really liked it
I think I'm rating this higher than my actual enjoyment of it because it's a "tour de force" and far be it for me to presume differently. It is sprawling and it is epic in every sense of the word, but as with all pieces that use the multiple POV shtick, I found myself pulled out of the narrative multiple times based on whose story is being told. My favorites are Jacqueline - odd that hers is the only one told in first person and I usually stay away anymore form first person - because she shows t ...more
Kate Vane
Apr 18, 2016 Kate Vane rated it it was amazing
The history of World War Two we learnt at school went something like this. There were these bad people in Germany called Nazis, who invaded other countries and were cruel to people, especially Jews. The British (and belatedly the Americans) were the good people who went in and saved everyone. It would be nice to think that as we grow up we realise it isn’t quite that simple, but that still seems to be the dominant narrative in much of the media and popular culture.

This novel presents a much more
...more
Barbara Sylvain
Mar 15, 2016 Barbara Sylvain rated it it was amazing
This book is such a favorite I often pick it up and read a few chapters for an example of how to write a story well. I learned a great deal about the homefront during World War II, the French Jewish resistance, spies, and women's roles breaking barriers.
At times some of the characters seemed to be of one character, without much variety in the way they talked. There was substantial dialogue, but not often was it different from one character to another. The only characters who did seem separate w
...more
Jennifer
Apr 06, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This epic novel about roughly a dozen people's interrelated WWII experiences is one of my all-time favorites. Like in all of Piercy's works, the characters feel so realistic and evolve so convincingly you won't believe they don't actually exist. The story's research and craft impress me more every time I read it. The book is quite long, but if you are going to read just one novel about WWII this is the one to pick.
Sara
Jul 05, 2016 Sara rated it liked it
A long book and a bit confusing for the first 100-200 pages as you're learning about the main characters. Nonetheless, it's an interesting take on WW II with a close & fairly accurate look at the home front as things played out in Detroit, MI. Considering that the author consulted extensively with late Howard Zinn, the people's historian, it's not surprising that we get more than a Life magazine view of the home front, wartime production lines, and who benefitted (or not) from the employment ...more
Margie
Jan 02, 2010 Margie rated it really liked it
I am, perhaps, easily impressed by writers who can manage a large number of story lines well. Marge Piercy shows how it should be done in this rich novel, which covers years, continents, and quite a few characters.

I especially appreciated that although some characters had happy endings, an equal number had unresolved or indifferently resolved endings.
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Marge Piercy (born March 31, 1936) is an American poet, novelist, and social activist. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers, a sweeping historical novel set during World War II.

Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a family deeply affected by the Great Depression. She was the first in her family to attend college, studying at the University of Michigan. Winning a
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“Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding, the third” 16 likes
“Nobody hates us as ourselves. In their minds we're not human... They don't hate us because we did something or said something. They make us stand for an evil they invent and then they want to kill it in us.” 11 likes
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