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 Posted: Thu Jan 5th, 2006 06:51 am
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susansweet
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Has anyone read The March by Doctorow ?    I haven't read it yet but a member of The book discussion group I below to mentioned in an email he saw Doctorow on Charlie Rose the other night.  When asked he said he had not done any research before he wrote the book.  My friend said that might be why Doctorow has Sherman having a nervous breakdown after the Battle of Shiloh.  I had just bought the book.  Now I am not sure I want to read it.  i don't read much fiction about the Civil War, the nonfiction is exciting enough although as I posted I have read and loved Widow of the South. 

Would love to hear what others have to say about this book.

 



 Posted: Thu Jan 5th, 2006 10:02 pm
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Kent Nielsen
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Hi Susan:) To be honest I haven't read it either, because I'm not really in to fiction myself. But several people on the Ulysses S. Grant  Home Page forum board did discuss it and it didn't go over very well. I think one of them mentioned  a dialogue in the book. between Sherman and a doctor, who accompanies him to meet Grant and the President at City Point, in which Sherman tells the doctor to see if Grant is drunk Sherman then goes on to say that Grant never writes better then when he's drunk.  It didn't go over well on the Grant board.



 Posted: Fri Jan 6th, 2006 02:20 am
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susansweet
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Kent thanks for the reply.  I am sure that quote about Grant would not sit well.  I doubt Grant was drinking at City Point as he was busy .  So it sounds like this author takes the legends and repeats them instead of reading current research. 

Thinking I may give this book a pass even though I just bought it. 



 Posted: Mon Jan 9th, 2006 09:04 pm
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David White
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There was a long article about that book in today's Dallas Morning News.  In it the author says that Sherman liberated Andersonville.  That made me dubious about the book asuming the author said it and the journalist just didn't screw it up, my guess now, based on comments stated above is the journalist did not screw it up.

Sounds like there are much better books out there.



 Posted: Tue Jan 10th, 2006 12:53 am
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susansweet
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I have since  I first posted read many reiviews of the book. One said he did extensive research he read a book about the Civil War . sounded like it was Shelby Foote or the like . 

Most of the reviews are good.  They praise the book.  Interesting though one reviewer  Vincent D. Balitas is a poet, teacher and critic in Pottsville, Pa. 
     did say in his review in the Washington Times this :

How historically accurate is the novel? Civil War buffs will have a grand time debating this or that point. Historical figures do appear, including Lincoln and Grant and others are mentioned. One of the most interesting is Kil Kilpatrick, a swashbuckling officer who provides some dark comic relief. Kilpatrick appears in Gen. Sherman's "Memoirs." However, readers who seek their history in fiction are looking for trouble. Writers have been known to ignore verifiable facts to get a good story. A novel, after all, is a fiction, is a lie.




 Posted: Sun Mar 26th, 2006 02:48 am
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tommach
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Doctorow may have an important name but that doesn't necessarily mean he can write a believeable Civil War novel.  For example, I had taken great pains to get my facts right when I recently wrote my Civil War novel, and I know how difficult that can be--especially when you come across historians that don't even agree with one another.  I think, as an example, you could take some important historical event--such as the Lincoln assassination and see how different historians treat it.  When I covered that event in my book, I described in detail several things that some writers omit--such as the fact that Booth presented a card to the attendant outside of Lincoln's box before entering it, that Booth had to drop down one step before opening the door, and that he had to place a wooden bar against the door to anchor the other end of it into the mortise he had made earlier.  Details like that only come from careful research, something only a true advocate of Civil War history and a person patient with research can accomplish. 

It's unfortunate that some novelists don't bother to take the time to research their book.  Just because it's a novel doesn't mean you can be careless with the facts. 

 



 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2006 01:45 pm
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Bill
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Susan
Have you read the book yet, or have the comments frightened you off. I find the comments quite illuminating as it would appear we are taking the high road: has anyone on the forum actually read the book?
Edgar Doctorow beside being a Guggenheim fellow, as well as a National Book Award winner, is also noted for his research. He is also noted for his disdain of poorly prepared interviewers (my Italics).
From my very limited perspective, much of his writing appears to be built around taking historical identities, as well as other lesser lights, some of whom are fictional, placing them in a time and place of historical significance, and then asking the reader to question the facts, as much about what he (Doctorow) has written as the 'actual' facts, as others have written them.
I have not seen the book here in Oz. And all things being equal I probably will not unless I buy it through the Internet.
So my simple request to you is read it, read it as fiction, read it to waste a few hours one wet Sunday, with the fire on, feet tucked up, and endless hot chocolate. And then, come back to us and tell us, how things went
 
Kindest Regards
 
Bill Wyndham

 



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