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6,3062681,307 (3.76)698
An extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history by the author of the international bestseller Year of Wonders 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.… (more)
  1. 131
    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (infiniteletters, kiwiflowa, Booksloth)
  2. 50
    Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Classic stories (Little Women/Jane Eyre) re-imagined through the experiences of characters who are important to the plot while being almost entirely unseen.
  3. 84
    Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (1Owlette)
  4. 10
    American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever (bibliothequaire)
    bibliothequaire: Gives an historical account of the life of Bronson Alcott (who was Brooks' inspiration for Mr. March) and the transcendentalist community in Concord.
  5. 11
    The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks (bnbookgirl)
  6. 22
    Property by Valerie Martin (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Another award winning work that sheds light on the full horror of the results of slavery.
  7. 12
    In the Fall by Jeffrey Lent (1Owlette)
  8. 13
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Anonymous user)
  9. 03
    Redemption Falls by Joseph O'Connor (1Owlette)
  10. 03
    Hester by Paula Reed (KatyBee)
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» See also 698 mentions

English (264)  French (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (268)
Showing 1-5 of 264 (next | show all)
[b:March|13529|March|Geraldine Brooks|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327935441s/13529.jpg|2643796] is a novel type that I confess I normally despise: the novel in which a character from a classic work is uprooted and expanded on, sometimes in what is obviously not the direction the original author would have intended or applauded. In that sense, [b:March|13529|March|Geraldine Brooks|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327935441s/13529.jpg|2643796] is an exception to the rule, as Brooks does a deft job of developing the character of Mr. March from [b:Little Women|1934|Little Women|Louisa May Alcott|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1388269517s/1934.jpg|3244642] into a story of his own. She does so by incorporating both the character that is put forth in Little Women and drawing from the historical facts that surround Bronson Alcott, Louisa’s father. It fits because Little Women itself is so obviously autobiographical, and because there is so very little told us about Mr. March in the famous novel.

The novel deals with the obvious hard questions of the Civil War period--slavery and abolitionism. There is reference to John Brown, and to Alcott’s close friends, Emerson and Thoreau. There is also a very fictional side of March, who makes his way through the battlefields and has close contacts with slaves, that would not have been any part of Alcott’s experiences.

In a very early chapter Brooks shows, in juxtaposition to one another, a slave auction, where families are being separated and children sold, and a church meeting, in which the pastor is requesting donations to “send the scripture of Africa.” The contrast is striking, and the message is clear, the irony being that no one in the church meeting seems to even be aware of the activity next door.

I am proud of Brooks for addressing the horrors of slavery without painting the northern army as a selfless brigade of liberators. A northern colonel says, “I have no love for slavery. But most of these boys aren’t down here fighting for the nig--for the slaves. You must see it, man. Be frank with yourself for once. Why, there’re about as many genuine abolitionists in Lincoln’s army as there are in Jeff Davis’.”

I believe this is a balanced and accurate picture of the situation, and if considered coolly, makes the released slave’s predicament all the more dangerous and precarious. He has few real friends and still fewer champions. This is another fact that serves to set March apart, he is a champion, a sincere believer in the need to both free the slaves and provide for their education and he sees them wholly as human beings, in a way that few other characters in the novel are capable of.

Apart from its exploration of abolitionism and the complicated social fabric of black and white societies, March also addresses the complications of marriage, particularly the misunderstandings that can occur. I found Marmee to be unfamiliar as she is presented by Brooks. Alcott gives us such a wise, controlled and virtually perfect woman, but Brooks tells us this is the surface, just scratch and there is a layer beneath that is confused, wild, and far from perfect. That she and March are often at cross purposes is a variation from the faultless marriage Alcott presents.

Brooks does a marvelous job of preserving the integrity of the characters we know, while giving us a depth and background that the originals are missing. In Little Women, Mr. March is off to the war when the book begins, and now we know exactly what he was doing, and it wasn’t just ministering to dying soldiers, he was growing and changing, just as the little women he had left behind.

The book is beautifully written and is a lovely companion to Little Women. It will be easily appreciated by anyone who loves or respects Louisa Mae Alcott's classic.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
bookclub book by Lynda? 2014
  PatLibrary123 | Aug 9, 2022 |
As the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats during the dark first year of the American Civil 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 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 Brooks’ 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.


In "Little Women", the father figure is away for much of the story. This is Brooks' attempt to tell his story of his time away from the family during the American Civil War.

I dont know Little Women well enough to know how well Brooks ties the story in, and whether March's (and Mamie's) characters stack up against the previous books. However, March and the Civil War are the centre of the book, and Brooks pulls forward the problems of Slavery, the treatment of the slaves (and those wanting to free them) but the rebels and army who didnt want the Status Quo changing. It's the beatings, the cruelty, the killings etc - this makes the book sound more graphic than it is and whilst these are brought up, are not the centre of the story.

In summary: good book as a historical fiction book set during the American Civil War which is a reasonable addition to the "Little Women" canon. ( )
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
War is hell Little Women fanfic = ? ( )
  leahsusan | Mar 26, 2022 |
Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women ranks among the American classics of fiction. It covers the tribulations of the young March family of sisters as they come of age and begin to navigate the adult world. The young ladies’ father, John March, returns toward the end of the novel from fighting in the Civil War. He is a deeply wounded individual emotionally. At first he struggles even to speak amid the joyous holiday uproar which celebrates and surrounds him.

One can’t say, really, how much demand there might have been for the story of John March. We are all extremely lucky Geraldine Brooks felt the lack, because her brilliant, compendious, and utterly convincing March fills it for all time.

March tracks the progress of John March’s ghastly, harrowing, nearly fatal, journey to the front lines in 1861 Virginia. He sets off as a highly idealistic chaplain, who quickly learns he doesn’t understand the men in his charge, and who in turn do not trust him and ridicule him. He transfers to a plantation which has been converted to a refugee camp for slaves who have been liberated. The central, the searing, episodes of John March’s war experience occur here.

But can such wrenching, epochal events in a man’s life be told without telling their effects on his adoring wife? His self-centered idealism combines with his lack of quotidian skills to force Marmee—on her own—to maintain a home, hold off creditors, raise five daughters during critical years of their lives, and cope with the poverty John’s idealism has plunged them into. When she travels to Washington to try to nurse him to health after his grievous wounds, she learns things about his life—secrets—which astonish and infuriate her.

Which brings us to Grace Clement, the gracious, soft-spoken slave whose father was a plantation owner. She shows both John and Marmee the path to postwar life: one must hew it with love, light it with understanding, and smooth it with forgiveness. Her presence provides the book with a beacon; her very name provides hope.

A book so full of brilliances: the gracious 19th-Century diction which never gets in the way; the appalling treatment of slaves by both sides; the insight that abolitionists probably made up similar percentages of combatants in each opposing army; the kindness and wisdom flowing from an unexpected quarter; the chaos, callousness, and contagion of war. Its central power, as in all excellent, brilliant fiction, flows from the foolish hopes and then the grace under fire of transformed human beings. Superb.

https://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2022/01/march-by-geraldine-brooks.html ( )
  LukeS | Jan 25, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 264 (next | show all)
Brooks is capable of strong writing about the natural world and nicely researched effects about the human one (on the eve of a battle, March sees ''the surgeon flinging down sawdust to receive the blood that was yet to flow''), but the book she has produced makes a distressing contribution to recent trends in historical fiction, which, after a decade or so of increased literary and intellectual weight, seems to be returning to its old sentimental contrivances and costumes.
 
Fascinating insight, don’t read if you’re a Little Women purist.
 
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Epigraph
Jo said sadly, "We haven't got father, and shall not have him for a long time." She didn't say "perhaps never," but each silently added it, thinking of father far away, where the fighting was. ======= Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Dedication
For Dorleen and Cassie -

By no means little women.
First words
October 21, 1861 This is what I write to her: the clouds tonight embossed the sky.
Quotations
I am no longer eager, bold & strong.
All that is past;
I am ready not to do
At last, at last,
My half day's work is done,
And this is all my part.
I give a patient God
My patient heart.

(attributed to Cephas White- composed by an unnamed patient of Louisa May Alcott - transcribed in a letter to her aunt that is held among the rare manuscripts in the Library of Congress).
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An extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history by the author of the international bestseller Year of Wonders 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.

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