Customer Reviews for

The March

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted January 25, 2012

    This is a top notch read!

    Following the Sherman's March through Georgia with a cast of characters, this book offers some insight as to how it affected individuals caught up in war. Excellent character creation and plot lines. I hated for the ending to come up so quickly. It could have been twice as long and I still would have enjoyed every page!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    Highly Recommended and engrossing read

    By J.J. Collins


    “The March,” - by E.L. Doctorow; places the reader at the heart and center of General William Tecumseh Sherman's famous march of 1864-65 through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, It is an engrossing book, enabling the reader to transport themselves into the very heart of the massive force of over 60,000 men, and grasp the destructive power of this massive all consuming entity. By using a wide variety of characters, be they white or black, men, women, and children, unionist or rebel, rich and poor, generals and privates, freed slaves and slave owners, Doctorow provides the reader with an insight into the destructive power of war, but yet, manages to convey on us all the unique qualities of the human spirit, resourcefulness and determination in tough and desperate times.
    Sherman’s March - was focussed on the destruction of the Confederate South's physical and psychological capacity to wage war. Sherman like his superior’s believed that the Civil War would end, only if the Confederacy’s strategic, economic, and psychological capacity for warfare was decisively broken. Sherman therefore applied the principles of scorched earth, he ordered his troops to burn crops, kill livestock and consume supplies. Finally, he destroyed civilian infrastructure along his path of advance to be ripped up and destroyed before accepting the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston and his forces in North Carolina on April 26, 1865. This “Scorched Earth Policy”, is often considered a component strategy of total war.
    Doctorow manages to paint descript pictures throughout his novel through an effective interchange of characters. He brings the reader on a journey of human compassion while on the other hand, deftly highlighting the very worst of human nature too. In a war that was destined for an inevitable outcome from the inception of Sherman’s march through to its very conclusion. Doctorow manages to provide the reader with an understanding and insight into the deceptive forces of war, from numbness to complete heartbreak, from hero status to suspicious traitor, from shocking experiences to complete indifference to suffering. Doctorow masterfully leaves us in no doubt about this massive force’s sheer destructive power on every level, removing once and for all, any notion or romantic belief of war.
    “The March” – provides us with an insider’s experience of this slow moving, all powerful living breathing entity grinding and scorching its way across three southern states, the significance of which would prove to be profound. It would change southern culture, tradition and life forever, ultimately resulting in the freeing of slaves and providing them with 40 acres and a mule. Above all, the most realisation for black people

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2005

    Not the type book I generally read yet I liked it very much!

    My husband was reading this book on a trip we recently went on and I'd finished all my reading material so I started reading his: this book. And I haven't liked a character named Pearl so much since Nathanial Hawthorne's Pearl in The Scarlet Letter, though she, of course, played a much smaller role. And I liked the fact that although this book is technically fiction, there are both fictional and real figures from history in it. Normally books like this bore me because I'm more in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror realm, but this was a great change.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Slow and confusing

    There are too many characters to keep track of. I spent most of the book waiting for the climax.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2010

    To Live Through Interesting People

    Doctorow's typically fine prose, this is more character study than an adventure of Sherman's march to the sea and the subsequent Carolina campaigns. A thoroughly enjoyable read if not a compelling one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2008

    Should be read

    I found E. L. Doctrow's book The March entertaining, but a little hard to follow with all the characters and disjointed time sequencing. I would have preferred to get to know Sherman a little better, rather than all the subcharacters. However, Mr. Doctorow did an excellent job in his development of one charactger, Dr. Sartorius. The book also gave a great depiction of the devastation to the South cased by Sherman's march. Although I felt the introduction of Grant and Lincoln at the very end was a little contrived, the book wet my appetite to go on Wikipedia and read about the actual history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2008

    Doctorow's 'The March' Staggers

    Without a controlling central or sympathetic consciousness, the 'intentionally' fragmented narrative of this epic tour of the Civil-Wartime South offers stirring parts without achieving fictive depth or an integral whole. Like much of Doctorow's work, this book is historically illuminating & well crafted. However, it is only occasionally compelling, adding up to less than the sum of its parts, and thus, better to browse in than read through. Fans of some of Doctorow's previous narrative patchworks, like 'Ragtime' & 'Loon Lake' might demur, but those, like me, who prefer either distinct short pieces like the author's, 'Sweet Land Stories' or sustained narratives like 'Billy Bathgate' & 'The Book of Daniel' may want to skip this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Excellent literary historical fiction

    I am a big fan of historical fiction and I have to say that this book is first rate. The writing is excellent, the story completely fascinating -- the perfect blend of historical fact and fiction. The characters are well-developed, the pacing brilliant and the backdrop of the Civil War very authentic. All in all, an exceptional novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2006

    Sorry, but it wasn't like that.

    Mr. Doctorow did a superb job of researching his subject. His command of historical detail and descriptions of Sherman's March were first rate, but still he got it wrong. It's too bad that he felt compelled to apply the belief system and biases of 21st-century Manhattan literary society to the events of 1864/65 in Georgia and the Carolinas. In this mindset, white Southern men are inevitably venal, white Southern women are kind of clueless, and all freed slaves are noble, or at least dignified. I'm sure there's a Greek word for this. In any case, I lost interest about half way through when I realized I was merely reading the Civil War as Mr. Doctorow thinks it should have been conducted.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2006

    It could have been a powerful novel

    Doctorow missed the chance to write a fabulous novel. Considering the impact Sherman's march had on the south, it seemed somewhat minimized in this book. The characters were interesting and well-defined. Because of the title I was expecting a powerful depiction of this defining period during the Civil War. Unfortunately I found it was quite a disappointment. Instead, it was just another book about scoundrels and theives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2006

    Yankees in Georgia?!!

    Novels based on historical events can be somewhat contrived and melodramatic. This book is neither. While Sherman's march through Georgia and the Carolinas is the vehicle that carries the story forward, the real drama is played out in the quiet introspective thoughts of the various characters as each experiences different aspects of the war. This book reminded me of The Thin Red Line, a novel about the conquest of Guadalcanal in 1943. Military action scenes seemed factual and believable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2006

    worth reading

    An excellent story that holds ones interest from start to finish. Contains a host of colorful characters. The story shares the divergent impact Sherman's march had on newly freed slaves, displaced refugees, soldiers in the field, and the generals who decided their fates.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2005

    Entertaining account of a momentous event

    E.L. Doctrow's 'The March' manages to be entertaining and interesting while also giving a fairly even-handed fictionalized account of the four-month period during which William Tecumseh Sherman cut loose from his supply lines to make his famous (or infamous?) march from Atlanta to Savannah and subsequently through South Carolina on his way ultimately to join forces with Grant. As a white southerner whose ancestors lived and died in low-state South Carolina, I could easily take exception to the author's casual characterization of southern males as at best shiftless and opportunistic to at worst cruel and racist. But then, almost no one involved in this tale comes off favorably. Neither those who lead nor those who follow. Ultimately, 'The March' is the sad story of the conclusion to our greatest national tragedy and the characters are merely a reflection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2005

    well written. powerful.

    To this day, the south is affected by the horrible devastation wrought by Sherman and co. Sherman was just doing what he had to do-- moving into a new paradigm of warfare. This book explores those connected to that march-- their individual lives, the effects, etc.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2005

    March

    I was expecting a far greater historical impact of the actual March on the South. The story was a bit like a circus train weaving through the South with more humor and laxity than the violence and devestation that I expected. Gone with the Wind was more horrific.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2005

    Not his best

    Having just finished, The March, I find myself feeling empty. In the past I have loved Doctorow's novels because I cared about the characters. I particularly enjoyed World's Fair. I had trouble connecting with the characters in this book. While I usually like it when authors jump around to different vignettes, I had trouble remembering what had happened to the characters in between my chances to read the book. I like Doctorow's other titles but I don't think, The March, is his best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2005

    Great History But Lacking In Story

    The historical part of this book was excellent. I could really get a feel for the era as well as the events of the war. Where I thought the book lacked was in characters. I had trouble connecting with them throughout the book which made me less excited as I turned each page.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2005

    March

    A good book but not a great book. I was expecting more after I read the initial reviews. Sherman was depicted as a bit laid back and not the aggressive leader I expected him to be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2005

    Life Happens, and What Do WE Do!.

    I was reminded of Virgnia Wofe, 'The Lighthouse', when reading 'The March.' The subtle stream of consciousness, mix of characters, and historicty of the novel gave me a sense of the march through life. This is not a fast read. It is, in my view, a very engaging and rewarding read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2005

    Disappointedly disjointed

    I respect the author for the research that he did. There are numerous interesting historical facts about the people and era he wove into his novel. However, as a historical writer, the author does not successfully spin a coherent tale from his findings. I found myself numerous times trying to connect with the different characters, wondering which side I was viewing...where, and how the characters at present related to the others. Also, importantly, I found the author's writing style confusing. Not following regular English convections, like not using quotations for spoken words in the context of a descriptive paragraph, only added to my confusion of the plot.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
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