Stephen Karlson (shkarlson) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Stephen Karlson
shkarlson
50bookchallenge

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STRANGER THAN TRUTH.

In the course of the Fifty Book Challenge, I have had several occasions to report on Sherman's March, including the first-person recollections compiled in General Sherman's Christmas, the thinking of the commanders in Grant and Sherman, and the military history from Nothing but Victory.

E. L. Doctorow takes a different approach in The March: A Novel, tonight's Book Review No. 31. The background of the novel is Sherman's March, with a number of the famous events of the march, including the intentional unintentional firing of Columbia, South Carolina, the cutting of a pontoon bridge leaving escaped slaves with the choice of swimming a river or surrendering to trailing rebel cavalry, and the extreme measures used against insurgents and their improvised explosive devices providing the background. The novel concludes with the Army of the Tennessee compelling Joe Johnston's surrender. It being a novel, and it being Doctorow, the reader encounters what happens when a bunch of horny guys with guns have opportunities to fraternize with the local population. I think that's called character development. (Did Civil War volunteers talk like frat boys?) Interesting cast of characters to follow, however. I think that's called ambiguity. It's a novel. It's Doctorow, not Tom Clancy.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
Tags: historical fiction
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