by E.L. Doctorow
In the first decade of the new millennium, readers were blessed knee-deep with new literary treasures, and they were a steady presence on the bestseller lists. One of them was The March, released in 2005, written by E.L. Doctorow, one of the noted but relatively minor writers of the past fifty years. Ragtime was an acclaimed Broadway musical, Billy Bathgate another fairly familiar title. Yet everyone was abuzz about The March, possibly because it centers on the Civil War, which remains a topic of great fascination (Cold Mountain was another of these success stories from the decade, and it's also centered on the conflict). I maintain an amateur interest in American military history, so on that score I would have been interested in The March, and yet it also serves as a gateway to Doctorow. Maybe I'm characterizing his profile unfairly in this preview. Then again, we seem to have a problem identifying any truly universally acclaimed authors, let alone books, these days. I don't think I'm so far from the mark. But hopefully this book will help me identify my own opinion of one or the other of this particular subject.