“The March,” by E.L. Doctorow. Read by Joe Morton. Unabridged, 11 hours, 10 minutes. Random House Audio. $39.95.
Doctorow’s award-winning Civil War tale of Gen. William T. Sherman’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas is a stunning depiction of a historical event and a reminder of today’s senselessness violence.
The ambitious novel follows the psychological developments AWOL rebel soldiers, an abandoned slave who passes for white, a reckless Union general, a 19-year-old soldier from New York and even Sherman himself.
Doctorow deftly moves from one compelling episode to another, from battles to bedrooms to the ongoing movement of the march. Some of the most enthralling center on the work of a surgeon who can amputate a leg in nine seconds.
Morton gives a masterful performance, convincingly voicing blacks, whites, men, women, children, Northerners, Southerners and even an Irish immigrant. This keeps the multiple shifts in scenes and characters clear, showing that his talent matches Doctorow’s rich material.