March, by Geraldine Brooks, takes us behind the scenes of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. In it we learn the fate of Mr. March and his life during the first year of the U.S. Civil War. Brooks based the character on Bronson Alcott, a friend of Emerson, Thoreau, and other Concord transcendentalists.
March joined the Yankee forces not as a soldier but as a chaplain. His intellectual and idealistic personal philosophy is brought into question as he sees just how poorly humans can treat each other and discovers his own inability to live up to lofty standards.
The book also explores his relationship with his wife, his life as a family man, and his difficulties returning home after the horrors of war.
I listened to this novel in February 2007. Here's a look at my notes:
I thought the novel was wonderful. The descriptions of the hospitals and medical conditions of the Civil War were vivid. Interesting perspective on slaves, slavery, and the not-yet-free slave. March provides a bit of insight into the transcendentalists and fills out the all-too-perfect Marmee of the Little Women books. Perhaps worth another listen someday.I gave the novel an A. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the Civil War period, transcendentalism, historical fiction, and Louisa May Alcott.
The cover shows the 2006 Penguin paperback edition, although I listened to the unabridged audio read by Richard Easton, who did an excellent job with Both Marmee and Mr. March. (Source: bought; see review policy)