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Gone to Soldiers

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  4,350 ratings  ·  357 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 Soldiers 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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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  4,350 ratings  ·  357 reviews

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Jan 02, 2012 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
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.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Gone to Soliders has recently been re-issued. If you haven't read it you must and if you have read it re-read it. It's a treasure.
May 10, 2008 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
Mar 01, 2009 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
Mar 28, 2008 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,
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwtwo-or-ww2ish
Marge Piercy has written an epic covering 1939 through 1945 from eyes we haven’t seen through a thousand times on History Channel, because they’re mostly women’s. An intellectual Parisian teenager, a women’s writer (including romances) in NYC, an awkward daughter stuck caring for her widowed malcontent chuff of a father, a working class Detroit daughter doing double shifts for years to educate herself, contribute and care for the family, while her parents seem only to value their dirtball sons. ...more
Donna Davis
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those that love WWII fiction, feminist stories, LGBT, and literary fiction
Brevity isn’t possible here. Settle in and get comfy. Here we go.

The word “epic” gets overused in the world of advertising, and so as a reviewer, I have learned to take the promise with a grain of salt. However, Piercy is renowned, an iconic presence for feminists and for anyone that approaches life from a class perspective. I read this book when it first came out in the 1980’s for no discount whatsoever, and I loved it. Books come and go at my house, since space on the bookshelf is itself a com
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
Apr 05, 2016 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
Dec 06, 2009 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.
Mary JL
Jan 08, 2010 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
Aug 05, 2011 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
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A resounding 5 stars. more like 8. Simply phenomenal storytelling.
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read years and years ago. Absolutely loved it.
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I give between three and four stars for Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy. I realize what a massive and daunting undertaking this was - World War II from several points of view and in numerous settings. One of the six main characters is the subject of each (often lengthy) chapter. The settings are different in each chapter as well - Naomi is in Detroit; her sister Jacqueline is in France (at the beginning), Oscar is in Washington DC (at the beginning), Louise is in New York City (at the beginning ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-in-2016
I learned Piercy was a poet after I finished the book, and I was not in the least bit surprised. I thought Gone to Soldiers was written beautifully, and I simply could not put it down.

Gone to Soldiers follows 10 characters and shares their different WWII experience. The stories take you to London, Paris, Detroit, San Francisco, New York, and the War in the Pacific. As a reader, you experience war through different perspectives, and even though some characters are more lovable than others, you gr
Coquille Fleur
Jan 31, 2009 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.
Mar 25, 2008 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.
Apr 29, 2008 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.
Larry Bassett
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, kindle
I posted dozens of highlights from this combination audible/kindle book. That appropriately indicates that this is a book with a good deal of excellent writing. It is a book about war with both battle scenes and the homefront. The home front is covered in London and the United States and France.

I am part of the postwar baby boom so missed any participation in this era of history. I knew from the history that Jews were denied entry into the United States at a time when they were being annihilated
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: war
War is an absolute disrupter. It was a rotten time to be born and grow up. Since 1939, people around the globe had lived expecting war at any time. When it came, families were separated. Friends parted and lovers went away from each other. It was difficult to correspond with one another. Indeed, in wartime most of the events will impede communication. All they could do is pray that they do not die quickly. To survive, one has to forget the past and act.

The Germans. They had occupied Poland and
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recs-from-others
Epic wartime storytelling

It's 3am and I had to stay up reading to the end. This is a vast, compelling book, and my head swims at the idea of writing something so complex and real.
Mia Tryst
Jan 16, 2011 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
Bonnye Reed
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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. This novel was first published Jan 1, 1987.
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 p
Apr 17, 2009 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
Apr 07, 2012 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
Jun 18, 2013 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
Apr 06, 2012 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.
Dec 28, 2009 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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