Overall emotional reaction to The March
I hope you will forgive my approach. I am new to this whole process, and am finding it more comfortable to my personality to voice a more generalized reaction to this book, at least this first time, although I have read and very much enjoyed all of the relevant posts to date. As I mature in this whole concept I will be more attentive to dividing up my observations on a more sectional basis.
I guess what I am most struck by is that, as a species, as far as we have "evolved" sociologically, how little we have evolved. Class division, caste system, however you define it, there still exist the haves and the have-nots. Civil wars still pit brothers against brothers, with countless lives lost to no good end. The human capability to commit atrocities against its own kind has not diminished. Egotistical men still seek power at all cost. From the time of the Civil War in America until the current worldwide political and socio-economic fiascos to which we have a ringside seat every day, so little seems to have changed.
It would be license enough for despair were it not for the courage and goodness of spirit which has also made its presence known along the path of history. Faulted humans, yes, but still those humans motivated not only by personal interest but also for the benefit and welfare of others have, throughout history, acted as counter-forces to those who have malevolently sought to destroy peace and justice.
Doctorow has succeeded in that he has depicted both ends of the continuum of human-ness, of the human condition in general. It might have been possible for the reader to close this book and feel hopelessness. Instead, in my opinion, throughout his story the author has woven a thread of faith in the virtue - as imperfect as it may be - of the human animal.
I have recommended this work of historical fiction to a number of my erudite friends and acquaintances, confident that they will consider it well worth their while.
When I have more time I would like to comment on specific characters. Until then....