March

By Geraldine Brooks,

Book cover of March

Book description

From the author of the acclaimed YEAR OF WONDERS, a historical novel and love story set during a time of catastrophe, on the front lines of the American Civil War. Set during the American Civil War, MARCH tells the story of John March, known to us as the father away…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked March as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This was one of my two favorite books I listed by Geraldine Brooks. I often find that when I love a book, I immediately read more by the same author.

I found it fascinating that Brooks based her novel on a fictional character, in this case, the mostly distant father of the March family, made famous in Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women

I enjoy reading novels that take minor characters from well-known books and reimagine the stories from their points of view. 

As Valerie Martin did in Mary Reilly (based on a character from Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and…

When recommending Geraldine Brooks’ multi-layered and intricately crafted March, another book must always be mentioned. Louisa May Alcott’s Little WomenMarch is the Pulitzer Prize-winning historical fiction rooted in Alcott’s classic novel that’s been read and loved for centuries. The March of the title is Jo March’s father in Little Women. In real life, his name was Amos Bronson Alcott. And he was the father of Louisa May Alcott. Brooks tells March’s fictitious story masterfully and with great historical acumen. Her depictions of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson are truly historic. Geraldine Brooks is not…

The fictional character of March is no more the real Bronson Alcott than Little Women’s character of Jo is the real Louisa Mae Alcott. Brooks uses Mr. March to show what war can do to a self-satisfied idealist and to his oblivious family. March does not believe in war and will not serve as a soldier. Instead, he supports the northern cause by taking on such roles as that of an itinerant peddler, a chaplain, a teacher, a doctor, and a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Nevertheless, he is wounded, both physically and mentally, by the violence and failures…

Brooks’ novel won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 2006. But it’s not the award that first attracted my attention to this Civil War novel. It was the strong connection to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. March tells the story of the March sisters’ absent father, who the reader meets only briefly in Alcott’s novel. What most drew me into the book was the character of Marmee, the beloved wife and mother in Alcott’s tale. Brooks’ backstory presents her as a passionate and sensual woman with a fiery temper. At times she must be restrained physically when her ire…

This book is not as well known, but the author, Geraldine Brooks, did an amazing job in describing the war. She took an interesting spin by writing a side story to the famous novel, Little Women. Interestingly, Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott, who served as a Union nurse during the Civil War.

From J.D.R.'s list on the Civil War to gain perspective.

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