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Publisher's Summary

As the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats during the dark first year of the war, one man leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. Riveting and elegant as it is meticulously researched, March is an extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history. From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, who has gone off to war, leaving his wife and daughters to make do in mean times. To evoke him, Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May's father, a friend and confidant of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In her telling, March emerges as an idealistic chaplain in the little known backwaters of a war that will test his faith in himself and in the Union cause as he learns that his side, too, is capable of acts of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from a near mortal illness, he must reassemble his shattered mind and body and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through.
Spanning the vibrant intellectual world of Concord and the sensuous antebellum South, March adds adult resonance to Alcott's optimistic children's tale to portray the moral complexity of war, and a marriage tested by the demands of extreme idealism, and by a dangerous and illicit attraction. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks' place as an internationally renowned author of historical fiction.
Don't miss Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women.
©2005 Geraldine Brooks (P)2005 Penguin Audio and BBC Audiobooks America
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Critic Reviews

Pulitzer Prize Winner, Fiction, 2006
"Luminous....Brooks' affecting, beautifully written novel drives home the intimate horrors and ironies of the Civil War and the difficulty of living honestly with the knowledge of human suffering." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Paula on 07-30-06

Great book, greatly narrated

Wow! What a terrific book this is!
As you probably know, this is Geraldine Brooks' imagining of the father's year away from his "Little Women", and what a complete, compelling, thought- provoking imagining it is. Brooks has based the character of March largely on Bronson Alcott, the father of Louisa May and one of the great intellectuals of 19th century Transcendentalism. As we travel with March through his Civil War experience, we also experience his reminiscences of his courtship of Marmee (she is wonderfully imagined also, much more fully than the rather one-dimensional saintly mother of the Little Women), the rich intellectual life of the Concord of Emerson & Thoreau, and his heroic wrestling with issues of war, morality, race, faith, and family.
I chose this selection because I've also been reading the Transcendentalists, and found it to be a wonderful piece of storytelling.
The narration, by Richard Easton, is first rate as well. Movie buffs may recognize Easton's name and voice, notably from Kenneth Branagh's "Henry V" and "Dead Again". Easton's diction is beautiful, characterizations and dialects vivid.
Wholehearted recommendation!

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By D. Littman on 11-27-06


Geraldine Brooks extends the reach of the American classic, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, by following one of its invisible characters, John March, the girls’ father, through a slice of the Civil War. This book, based on thorough research into the economics & culture of the period, also features flashbacks to embryonic capitalism, the slave economy & the abolition movement of the 1840s & 1850s. Brooks accurately portrays the sometimes crackpot, fringe nature of northern abolitionism before the war, as well as its tinge of racism, in a way that could help educate the often ahistorical views of the movement in contemporary texts. John March, as a character, is able to grow by experience. He moves from an eccentric, idealistic & sometimes irritating character, to a sympathetic yet battle-hardened individual by the end of the book. The outstanding prose & plot development of the book allows the open-minded reader to grow as John March grows. As an added bonus, Brooks provides an author’s note at the end of the book, and of the audiobook, that discusses her sources & methods of translating primary materials of the time into the fabric of the novel.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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