(Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) As the North reels under a series of defeats during the dark first year of the Civil War, a man leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause; his experiences will utterly transform his marriage and challenge his most ardent beliefs. From Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken their absent father John March and animated him with the recorded thoughts of Alcott's real-life father Bronson, who was a close friend of Emerson and Thoreau. March emerges here as an idealistic chaplain in a war that will test his faith in himself and in the Union cause. As he recovers from a near-mortal illness, he must reassemble his mind and body while finding a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has endured.
"Reviewers were almost universally won over by, and emotionally invested in, this memoir-like tale. Brooks doesn't hesitate to plumb the morally gray complications of war; in fact, many critics call the darker undertones a significant and mature strength, especially when compared with Little Women.... Minor characters are exquisitely rendered and include several real-life figures, and Brooks's prose is lush and evocative [and] demonstrates the author's painstaking research."—Bookmarks