Imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. An idealistic abolitionist, March becomes a Union chaplain and later finds himself assigned to be a teacher on a cotton plantation that employs freed slaves, or "contraband." But the war tests his faith not only in the Union - which is also capable of barbarism and racism - but in himself. Interspersed are memories of March's earlier life: his whirlwind courtship of quick-tempered Marmee, his friendship with Emerson and Thoreau and the surprising cause of his family's genteel poverty. When a Confederate attack on the contraband farm lands March in a Washington hospital, sick with fever and guilt, March must reassemble and reconnect with his family, who have no idea what he has endured.
- 2006 Sydney : HarperCollins
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