Review: THE MARCH by E.L. Doctorow

Some participants do not have blogs of their own, but we like to give them an opportunity to express their opinions about the books they read for the reading challenges.

Reva read The March by E.L. Doctorow for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge. Here is her review.

The MarchThe March by E.L. Doctorow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Civil War story follows Sherman’s Army as it burns and pillages Georgia, then South Carolina, then North Carolina. Main characters include the family and a slave from a Georgia plantation taken over and burned by Sherman’s troops. We see how each member of the family suffers and how the slave, daughter of the massa’ and his slave girl, handles being a white-skinned negro in perilous times.

I never realized that so many people were killed just for expediency: to get food, to get around an occupying force, to steal another’s identity, and sometimes out of pure stupidity. I’ll have to read this one again because it contains so much to think about.

General Tecumseh Sherman had always seemed to me to be the worst of villains, burning his way through the South, leaving nothing for people to eat or start over their lives; however, I never knew that as soon as Sherman realized the War was over, he attempted to make very generous peace plans with the people of North Carolina where he happened to be at the time. General Grant and Washington authorities raced to stop Sherman’s plan from being implemented and rumoured they thought Sherman was trying to take over the government with his 90,000 man army behind him. Sherman couldn’t understand why he was being destroyed in the public eye when he had given his whole life and suffered the deaths of two sons for his country.

So much happened in The March that there wasn’t much left for learning to care about the characters, but otherwise I found this to be an essential text on the horrors of war in areas I had not previously considered.

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