The March

  • by E.L. Doctorow
  • Narrated by Joe Morton
  • 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1864, after Union general William Tecumseh Sherman burned Atlanta, he marched his sixty thousand troops east through Georgia to the sea, and then up into the Carolinas. The army fought off Confederate forces and lived off the land, pillaging the Southern plantations, taking cattle and crops for their own, demolishing cities, and accumulating a borne-along population of freed blacks and white refugees until all that remained was the dangerous transient life of the uprooted, the dispossessed, and the triumphant. Only a master novelist could so powerfully and compassionately render the lives of those who marched.The author of Ragtime, City of God, and The Book of Daniel has given us a magisterial work with an enormous cast of unforgettable characters: white and black, men, women, and children, unionists and rebels, generals and privates, freed slaves and slave owners. At the center is General Sherman himself; a beautiful freed slave girl named Pearl; a Union regimental surgeon, Colonel Sartorius; Emily Thompson, the dispossessed daughter of a Southern judge; and Arly and Will, two misfit soldiers.
Almost hypnotic in its narrative drive, The March stunningly renders the countless lives swept up in the violence of a country at war with itself. The great march in E.L. Doctorow's hands becomes something more, a floating world, a nomadic consciousness, and an unforgettable reading experience with awesome relevance to our own times.


What the Critics Say

PEN/Faulkner Award Winner, Fiction, 2005
National Book Award Finalist, Fiction, 2005
2005 Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, Fiction
National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2005
"In this powerful novel, Doctorow gets deep inside the pillage, cruelty and destruction, as well as the care and burgeoning love that sprung up in their wake....On reaching the novel's last pages, the reader feels wonder that this nation was ever able to heal after so brutal, and personal, a conflict." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Uncivil War

Authors and historians uniformly treat war as either an individual's experience or some combination of military strategies and conquests. Almost never does an author show that war is not either or, but both.

Doctorow walks the tightrope in this gripping story of battles, conquests, race, class and individuals....especially individuals, representing every stripe and type all swallowed by Sherman's multi-bodied beast and its inexorable march to the sea.

In covering Sherman's campaign, the author makes it emblematic of the whole Civil War. The casual cruelty is more than any planned offensive. The lives broken and reformed a kind of mirror of a ravaged and remade Union.

There's not a single slow passage in the whole narrative and the urge to listen to it from beginning to end in a single sitting nearly irresistable.

More than any tale in memory, this is the most compelling reconstruction of what Civil War really meant.

This is a must have!
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- Jim E

An average book

The reviews on this book have been very good and emphasize the civil war/Sherman context, which I found lacking. The book was an interesting enough listen but no more. The book uses the civil war as a mere backdrop, the March of Sherman is no more than a basic connection between stories and the characters are not terribly compelling. Some of them seem to be more of a reason to flash between stories as opposed to a real character in and of themselves The narrative flows well enough but its not terribly engrossing. If I had gotten this book in print version, I would not have finished it. As an audio book, it is good enough but not great.
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- Carolynn

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-15-2005
  • Publisher: Random House Audio