Mixing history with fiction, master novelist E.L. Doctorow lends his special brand of spin to one of the Civil War's most dramatic chapters Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's infamous March to the Sea. Doctorow's tale, a finalist for the National Book Award, traces the course of Sherman and his Union troops across Georgia and both Carolinas. Raiding, stealing and killing along the way, the Army carves a bloody path, and Doctorow delivers a remarkable chronicle of the journey, personifying real-life figures like Sherman here, a moody, power-hungry leader, whose ambitions are stronger than his military skills and introducing convincing characters of his own. These include Pearl, the daughter of a female slave and a wealthy white plantation owner, whose poignant story lies at the center of the book; two young soldiers, Arly and Will, who quickly learn the brutal realities of war, and the chillingly aloof Col. Sartorius, a surgeon. As he did in the acclaimed novels Ragtime and Billy Bathgate, Doctorow uses factual events as a foundation, fortifying the narrative framework with expert characterizations, sophisticated symbolism and dazzling prose. This best-selling, highly praised depiction of the Union Army and the motley entourage that accompanies it on the road is sure to become a classic.
A reading group guide is included in the book.