March

March

by Geraldine Brooks
3.9 130

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Overview

March by Geraldine Brooks

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize—a powerful love story set against the backdrop of the Civil War, from the author of The Secret Chord.

From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story "filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man" (Sue Monk Kidd). With "pitch-perfect writing" (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks's place as a renowned author of historical fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780732278410
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Australia
Publication date: 03/24/2005
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.13(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Geraldine Brooks is the author of five novels: the Pulitzer Prize-winning March; the international bestsellers Caleb's CrossingPeople of the Book, and Year of Wonders; and, most recently, The Secret Chord. She has also written the acclaimed nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Born and raised in Australia, she lives on Martha's Vinyard with her husband, the author Tony Horwitz, and their two sons.

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March 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 130 reviews.
Sherril More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book, the key word here being "reading". It has been a long time since I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of reading, per se. I approached March with some trepidation, having previously read Geraldine Brooks' book, People of the Book, which I bought in hard cover, thus spending a chunk of change on it, and in the end was somewhat disappointed. March does not disappoint. It is the story of what happened to the father in Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women. To enjoy this book, you don't need to have read Little Women, however, I've heard it said that in March, one can find echoes of Little Women. It is written in language, styled from its day, early 1860's, and at times it reads as poetry. The book is about the father's experiences in his position as a Chaplain in the Union army, positioned below the Mason-Dixon line. It moves between New England, where the family lives, and the places of war. There is no lack of demonstrating the savagery of war and the savagery of Slavery and racism. War is neither idealized, nor demonized in the book. The author uses two techniques that I love to find in fiction. The first is mixing in real historical characters among her fictional ones (reminiscent of E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime and The Book of Daniel) so you feel you are getting to personally know them, in this case... Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson are neighbors of the March family. You get to see John Brown, the famous abolitionist who advocated insurrection as his means of ridding the country of slavery, as basically having tricked Dr. March into lending him a huge sum of money and consequently losing it all, which proved to be the financial downfall of March and his family. It is a very interesting interplay of fact and fiction. The other device, that I have always loved, is the use of letter writing as a means of moving the story along ( this for me is reminiscent of one of my all time favorite novels, A Woman of Independent Means, by Elizabeth Forsyth Hailey). It is in March's letters that some of the most beautiful descriptions and eloquent use of language can be found. Here is but one example... "There was a little barge-ferry then, that would stop on request, at a jetty on the island's northern tip. I had alighted there on a whim and walked the mile and a half to the house whistling the song of the boatman who had poled the crossing. The white dogwoods were in flower all the way up the drive, and the air seemed viscous and honey-fragrant, unlike the mud-scent of a chill May morning on Spindle Hill." I highly recommend this book.
Adeline79 More than 1 year ago
Geraldine Brooks has written such a full and rich story in so small a book. I almost put it down after reading the first few pages because the writing was so descriptive that I felt as if I was amongst the wounded soldiers in the civil war (and I am very squeamish). I am glad that I pressed on though because the book was unique and enlightening. It tells the imagined story of Mr March of Alcott's Little Women. It is by no means an imitation of Alcott's style or content though. Brooks story is tragic, intense and 'real' in it's portrayal of the human condition. "March" examines the morality of the intellect alongside the passions and failings of human nature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When a book is written about a family, the perspective change will inevitably create a vast change in the tale: how many of us could reflect accurately of the intimacy of another's marriage, while we could expound forever on the nuances of our own. Readers must be willing to make this shift--- Lest you overlook an intimate, wonderful story, and lose the chance to place yourself in those times for a moment or two. Unlike one review which cites Brooks as 'ruining' Marmee, I felt wholeheartedly that what Brooks provides the reader is a glimpse of the MOTHER as she feels within her own heart while 'Little Women' portrays her as she is seen BY her daughter. What woman would wish for her child to see or hear or observe her doubts about her marriage, her struggle for self-discipline, her moments of anguish, or even the mixed underlayment of the 'public' victories? At least none of us would wish for our child to witness them raw, only perhaps deduce a more subtle version of the effects of the 'tough times'. I felt that Brooks was honest to this difference of view point and NAILED the frequent misperceptions between the spouses, at times almost humorously. For those who like me are modestly sensitive to the legacy of MS Alcott, Brooks does, 'I feel', keep intact the faithfulness and steadfast NATURE of the characters. In the end they typically choose the noble way to act, even if you must 'forgive' them their humanness in their thoughts. I felt this novel reflects how many people have kept their marriages together across time, in tough times, and relayed a depth to the characters that could OFTEN be omitted due to carrying the plot as high priority. Here the character development WAS the plot. Well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well researched historical novel. Loved this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms Brooks never disappoints. As good as "People of the BooK". I love novels with historic content.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
took Mr. March out of Little Women scenerio and gave him a life of his own. Brings the Cival War to life thru Mr. March in a different way. Also deals with racism and the ethos of slavery and how it relates to where we are today in our nation. quite inventive and insightful. A bit hard to read at first until you get used to the manner of the prose. But worth the read. Good for a book club.
Mariposa More than 1 year ago
Many other people have reviewed this book, so you do not need another plot summary. All I can say is --READ THIS BOOK. It is wonderful.
usako More than 1 year ago
March by Geraldine Brooks takes us on a journey back in time, and into the middle of hell; the civil war where a brother may come to kill a brother. She begins with Mr. March's wonderful letters, being a compassionate man he writes to his wife often on his "lap desk" however, even though he is in the middle of a war, that is not entirely the picture he sends to her. For her he centers the conversation within his letter on the concept that his ink is in fact made of black berries. Instead of telling his wife of war he gives her "sweet words" showing us how his love can drive him to see only a little blood on the table of a butcher. Somehow he had to gain the strength to whisper a prayer so close into a young man's; a Childs ear, as the surgeons blade soon came down upon that part of him which could now only serve to be a Burdon. This is not entirely a love story, not at all! But it is a story of war, and why people fight them; the freedom of that child who no longer has a mother to fight for him. Geraldine gives this child a true voice not educated in proper grammar; he is not allowed to learn it as a slave. She describes pain even in happy moments, the forbidden love, or ambition Mr. March has to educate those who are not lucky enough to know their ABC's, or perhaps are not allowed to know them. Mr. March did profoundly love his wife a conductor of the Underground Railroad and his love for her is no doubt a part of his ambition to go on this dreadful journey. March by Geraldine Brooks is both a heart wrenching and inspiring story, it depicts Mr. March constantly surrounded by death or suffering "For as soon as a man lets his eye drop from the heavens to the horizon, he risks setting it on some scene of desolation." However Mr. March appears strong, though humanly so, he does not cease to inspire.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I heard about the premise of this book--a novel about the father of the March Sisters from that perennial favorite 'Little Women'--I was tremendously excited. When that novel shortly thereafter received the Pulitzer, I rushed right out to get it from the library, even though I thought I would probably end up buying it. I'm so glad I didn't. I've been interested in Bronson Alcott and his community for some time, and was rabid to know how Brooks based Mr. March on him. My first problem with the book was this: in elementary school, I was a historical novel fan, and read a great many civil war books, and as I read I realized to my disappointment that there was nothing new in 'March.' I felt like I had read such similar happenings, such similar moral dilemmas before that I was left bewildered. My second problem was this: Brooks, apparently unable to write the character of Marmee as Louisa May Alcott created her, chose instead to make her into a completely different person, and one who I strongly disliked. I was left feeling like Brooks hadn't taken 'Little Women' itself very seriously, but had rather used it as a gimmick. All in all, I think there are many better books available, and urge you to read those.
Anonymous 15 days ago
This man's story was not very inspiring and did not make for a very inspiring or interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brooks never disappoints. Extensively researched. Clever combination of beloved novel and civil war. Somewhat of a prequel to Little Women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave this book a four because it held my attention throughout the book; I don't know if it is a "great book". The aspect of the civil war this book focuses on is race relations during the Civil War. All the Marches are shown as being highly committed abolitionists In real life while she was an abolitionist, Louisa May Alcott (and her mother) did not share  Bronson Alcott’s (Louisa May Alcott's father) idealistic view of the world.     The Alcott women in real life felt that Bronson Alcott should have been a better provider to the family  rather than working to change the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For history lovers like me, those who want to be transported in time to truly sense the intensity and dynamics of the U.S. civil war, this is a brilliant book, one of Brooks' very best, similar in heartbreaking detail to 'A Year of Wonders'. High points for me are the detail around the actual treatment of slaves, a rich inter-racial love story that effectively re-interprets the deepest meaning of freedom, and the condition of early hospitals/medicine at the time, all combined to make this a great, riveting and educational read. Five shining bright stars and a big thank you, as always, to Geraldine Brooks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bit of fictional history worth the read. The writing is excellent, and the story line intriguing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crosbie More than 1 year ago
"March" is an intriguing book. I did not read "Little Women", but had some knowledge of the book before I read "March". This book definitely stands on its own. I thought the book was very interesting. I loved the underground railroad parts of it, as it really brought to light something that is not written about very much. Geraldine Brooks offers nice characters. I enjoyed the writing & certainly would recommend this book to anybody, regardless of whether they have read "Little Women" or not.
Justdb More than 1 year ago
This book was an easy read and gives you a different view of the March family. The father of the girls certainly is an interesting man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
risuena More than 1 year ago
The author's quite innovative for giving readers the story of Mr. March from Little Women. She did a wonderful job developing his character and bringing him to life. The story is well written and discusses many subjects. There's the anti-slavery movement, living your life on ideals, and the mental and physical effects of war. Through Mr. March's eyes, we see his changes so vividly and feel like we're there with him. It was a fast and enjoyable read, although I find myself not loving Mr. March; I felt empathy and compassion, but his character just didn't do it for me. I found the supporting characters more worthwhile and captivating. Therefore, it was a very good, well written, interesting novel but not a great one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Smiley-in-the-Sunshine More than 1 year ago
I always wanted to know more about the father in "Little Women" and what happened to him during his time as a civil war chaplain! Did not know that this is the book I was dreaming about, but mighty pleased to accidentally 'find' it as I looked for books by author Geraldine Brooks... Very imaginative and gives tremendous depth to an old childhood staple of mine. It's like having a party with your favorites again, on an adult scale. Perhaps I'll reread "Little Women" with an eye to fresh insight into Marmee, Amy, Beth, Jo, Meg and (even!) Aunt March. Well-researched re Civil War era, medicine and probable battlefield experiences. Recommend all Geraldine Brooks' books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book, on a recommendation and as I am totally in my "historical fiction" phase could not wait to get it. I found it somewhat thought provoking, liking the realistic portrayal of motives of people in war time. However, my overall reaction was that it was pretentious, presumptuous, and repetitive. I was disappointed. If you are going to write a novel covering such an intense period of our history, allow it to be real, as in non-fiction, or write it as fiction altogether. Not only did throwing in names of famous authors and historical figures distract from the fictional story, but then to write it as a lean-to to Little Women, changing those characters was unnecessary. Even basing it loosely on LM Alcotts father was silly. Write it as non fiction, or create a whole new character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago