Saturday, November 19, 2005

"Mother, what was war?"

‘... I tell you, war is hell!’

Publishers Weekly describes The March by E.L. Doctorow as “a ... Civil War Canterbury Tales.” In this powerful story, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman is affectionately called "Uncle Billy" by his troops. Nevertheless Sherman's name may still be the answer to the Alex Trebek question, "Who was and still is the most hated and despised man in the history of Georgia?”

Doctorow offers this stunning climactic statement from Sherman's lips: "our civil war . . . is but a war after a war, a war before a war."

Will today's war in Iraq replace the war in the fictitious Sherman's statement? If so, who will history scorn?