In creating historical fiction out of General Sherman’s March to the Sea, E.L. Doctorow uses assorted eye witnesses to bring an immediacy to his sweeping Civil War tale. As the Union Army cuts a wide path of destruction from Atlanta to Savannah, Doctorow keeps the action moving, juggling the narrative between soldiers and civilians, Union and Confederate, blacks and whites, participants and victims. Characters, including a deserter who continually changes sides depending on the situation and General Sherman himself, are distinct and well-drawn. Even though The March fails to maintain the energy of its first two-thirds through to the end, it’s a page-turning piece of historical drama and a worthy companion to Michael Shaara’s epic The Killer Angels.
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