African American Literature,  Book Reviews,  Civil War,  FICTION,  History,  Prize Winner

March by Geraldine Brooks *** (of 4)

Mr. March, in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, heads south to fight the Confederacy at the opening of Alcott’s novel and returns on Christmas a year later.  This is Brooks’ imaginings of what March would have encountered as an idealistic preacher from Concord heading into the heart of a Civil War.  Not surprisingly, he learns war is hell, slavery is worse, racism is painfully ugly and not the sole purview of southerners, and that his personal attempts at action and intervention are pitifully ineffective.  Look, if you are going to read a book about slavery, by all means begin with Andrea Levy’s The Long Song, the recounting of slave life and uprisings in Jamaica.  Levy’s characters are real people.  Brooks’ has an interesting idea — she won a Pulitzer Prize for this book — but like most of her books the characters in March are uni-dimensional, interesting in a TV sort of way, but utterly forgettable as soon as the book is completed.