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One Man's Meat

4.3  ·  Rating Details ·  1,102 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
Too personal for an almanac, too sophisticated for a domestic history,
and too funny and self-doubting for a literary journal, One Man's Meat
can best be described as a primer of a countryman's lessons a timeless
recounting of experience that will never go out of style.
Paperback, 296 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Tilbury House Publishers (first published May 28th 1944)
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The Cider House Rules by John IrvingEmpire Falls by Richard RussoThe Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne JewettThe Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn ChuteCarrie by Stephen King
Books Set in Maine
125th out of 198 books — 87 voters
The Dirty Life by Kristin KimballFarm City by Novella CarpenterHit by a Farm by Catherine FriendThe River Cottage Year by Hugh Fearnley-WhittingstallAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Farming Memoir
23rd out of 61 books — 32 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,577)
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Aug 11, 2016 Bonny rated it it was amazing
If ever I was to meet my soul-mate in book form, I believe it would be E.B. White's One Man's Meat. While reading this collection of his essays written between 1938 and 1943, I was continually struck by how White's personal recountings of his daily life and thoughts could be so applicable to me, a 59-year-old woman living her life 70 plus years later. White writes with thoughtfulness, insight, wit, and humor about roofing his barn while war looms, bringing a cow home after his personal probation ...more
Aug 03, 2008 Mel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, essays
One Man’s Meat is a collection of essays written by White in the late 1930s and early 1940s. White interjects world politics, children’s literature and farming in to this eclectic series of essays that have an eternal quality to them. White’s ability to blend several topics into one coherent essay is humbling to this writer. I was very fascinated by the way White intertwined the completely mundane with the overwhelming world, here is just one example:

“While the old wars rage and the new ones han
Apr 21, 2012 Ron rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This collection of essays is such a fine book; it deserves a much better commentary than it currently has here. And given the times we live in, its subject matter is particularly timely for American readers -- the period of history leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the early years of the war effort -- all told from the point of view of a thoughtful writer on a small farm in Maine.

White had moved there with his wife and young son from New York, where he'd been writing for The New Yorke
Jan 25, 2009 James rated it really liked it
Shelves: lincoln-park, essays
The essays of E. B. White in his delightful collection, One Man's Meat, represent a style of writing that is very welcoming to the reader. I found myself laughing out loud at his subtle humor and, while some in our Thursday night book group found the book somewhat superficial, I found a connection that suggested deeper thoughts. Written in the late 30's and early 40s during the approach of and beginning of World War II, White's essays comment on the world around him and chronicle his life on a f ...more
Mind the Book
Brevet till Thoreau förde mig till denna charmiga och djupt humanistiska krönikesamling från 1938-43. Herr och Fru White, båda journalister, lämnade New York för en "seaside farm" i Maine, ungefär som Vonneguts exodus till Cape Cod. Omslagsfoto av Jill Krementz. Undrar om de fyra umgicks?
Jun 07, 2013 Mike rated it it was amazing
1968 was the worst year ever. MLK and RFK. Riots. Viet Nam. An unrelentingly bad outlook for a mostly clueless college junior turning 21 that summer and thinking a lot about what sort of world he would be graduating into the following year (a much better year!). Drugs and beer brought no relief that summer of '68, only heightened paranoia and deeper depression. Books and music saved me. Among these was E.B.White's "One Man's Meat." A celebration of life. Natural peacefulness. Great writing. I'd ...more
Aug 10, 2013 Alison rated it it was amazing
Simply put this is one of my favorite books of all time. I was sad to get to the end. I love to read essays, love to write essays, but this is more than just about reading someone who is a master of the format. Somehow, this collection of incredibly funny, sweet, personal and very masculine stories is put together in such a way (either by editing or by their own natural chronological order) that they form a story of his life just before and during the start of WWII. He comes alive in these pages ...more
Jan 06, 2011 Abby rated it it was amazing
There are four reasons this book earns five stars and a very large place in my heart.

First, E. B. White's musings on his life as a sheep farmer remind us that the small details of life are not only interesting, but important. How we spend our days and what occupies our thoughts can seem like tiny, insignificant nothings. This collection of essays help us see that this is not the case. Every tiny detail is like a mosaic tile - small in itself, but hugely important to the whole picture.

Second, Whi
Courtney Johnston
Dec 30, 2010 Courtney Johnston rated it liked it
A deeply perplexing long-short little book. I kept putting it down and then it would worry away at the edge of mind mind, so, in a dogged mood, I finished off, letting myself skip and skim a few of the many essays.

'One Man's Meat' is a anthology of columns written under that name by White for 'Harper's Magazine' (plus three essays written for the New Yorker) between July 1938 and January 1943.

As White writes in his introduction:

'One Man's Meat' is, as the title suggests, a personal record. It is
Feb 06, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it
Read this book of essays as part of my reading through the serendipitous secondhand reading room I had access to in Africa during 2008. Loved this book. It's essays by EB White, who left NYC to go live on a farm up in Maine. He writes about the world, about farm life, about what his neighbors do, about his observations and opinions. This book has one of my favorite pieces of writing ever, something White wrote about his dog. It reminded me strongly of a writer friend of mine, in its observationa ...more
Ed Cottingham
Jul 04, 2014 Ed Cottingham rated it it was amazing
This collections contains "Sabbath Morn," my favorite of the many White pieces that I have read. I have never seen religious skepticism so gently, humanely, wittily, and artfully expressed. I might even say that it is nostalgic toward a certain style of religious service as it was commonly broadcast over the radio from many churches on Sunday mornings of times mostly gone-by. As is typical of White, it is nostalgic about a lot of things.
May 26, 2014 JennLynn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-my-books
One of the few books I tried to read as slowly as possible (only a chapter or two at a time a few times a week) because I wanted it to last as long as it possibly could. This is probably the best essay collection I've ever read and should be an absolute must-read for any aspiring author. Virtually every page has subtly brilliant turns of phrase I only wish I could emulate. Even if you have no desire to write, the glimpse into everyday life in the 30's and 40's is fascinating. My only wish is tha ...more
Feb 01, 2015 Williams.amymichelle rated it it was amazing
E.B. White romanticized raising chickens in a way that I know is not true. Chickens are dumb, smelly animals who are loud and eat each other. But damn if I don't want to move to a farm and raise some chickens. Lovely lovely lovely.
Mar 14, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Though some of the short pieces that comprise this edited collection speak to the prejudices of White's times, his careful and visceral prose shines throughout this collection making sentiments that induce eye rolls as lovely to read as those that make you nod your head. I personally enjoyed the earlier pieces more, where you could still detect The New Yorker's influence in White's prose as well as navigate his own migration from both the city and the magazine to rural Maine. In particular, his ...more
Carla Panciera
Jul 27, 2015 Carla Panciera rated it it was amazing
No one has taught me more about writing than E.B. White. My love of books came directly from Charlotte's Web, but this collection of essays, one I have revisited many times, always blows me away. It is both of his time and timeless -- people returning to the land, for example, remembering what it is to grow one's own food, to get one's hands dirty. It is poetry, humor, history, social commentary, deft characterization -- forget MFA programs, writers' how-to blogs, adult ed courses. Read White. T ...more
Hunter James
Feb 26, 2015 Hunter James rated it really liked it
The news television, however, is what I particularly go for when I get the chance at the paper, for I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television - of that I am quite sure.

Television will enormously enlarge the eye's range, and, like radio, will advertise the
Feb 20, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
I've been reading this collection of essays at a very leisurely pace, which, in many ways, seems pretty fitting. While not every essay in this collection resonated with me, I really enjoyed One Man's Meat.

I love his pleasant attention to detail, his seemingly simple (but often profound) quips about life, and the way he weaves his beliefs into everyday life. I read a review of this book that said that it felt like he was winking at the reader throughout, whenever you caught a glimpse of what woul
Jan 18, 2014 Beth rated it it was amazing
“Once in everyone’s life there is apt to be a period when he is fully awake, instead of half asleep. I think of those five years in Maine as the time when this happened to me.”

E.B. White writes in the introduction to the 41st birthday edition of One Man’s Meat. An eloquent writer documenting his time of clarity in the New England air equals crisp and wholesome writing. This book travels everywhere with me, despite its bulky size and lost front cover, and has recently become the Heater’s preferre
Dec 23, 2010 Nelson rated it really liked it
First-rate in so many, many ways. Angell says in the intro that EBW lets the war (WWII) seep into his essays about removing his family from Manhattan to a small working farm in Maine. This is wrong. The war is everywhere in this book, though to suggest it is a book about war would also be wrong. It is just that the constant heartbeat below the daily rhythms of farm life as described by White, is his awareness of himself in a larger world slowly coming apart at the seams. And this heartbeat is fe ...more
Patrick O'Neil
Aug 21, 2011 Patrick O'Neil rated it it was ok
Somewhere I’ve heard it said that a good writer can write about anything and make it interesting. E. B. White is such a writer, a good writer, and he does, at times, seem to write about anything. Although most of the time he seems to write about nothing and I am left wondering why it is that I am reading his writing and couldn’t I be spending my time a little more wisely. Say like taking my car over to the mechanic and watching him rotate my tires or finally cleaning out that storage space under ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Deborah rated it it was amazing
For those E.B. White readers who have thus far limited their reading enjoyment to his children’s classics, One Man’s Meat presents a perfect bridge to the author’s legacy of non-fiction writing. Spanning from July of 1938 to January of 1943, the 50+ short essays contained in this volume chronicle the author’s back-breaking “retreat” from the literary circles of Manhattan to a farming life in the country. As these entries straddle “pre-war” and “at war” periods in American history, the author’s h ...more
Mar 28, 2010 Claire rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, essays
While there is no denying White's excellence as a children's book writer, he is also a formidable personal essayist; in this collection, he plunges into the task of writing with an unstinting willingness to connect with readers, thereby exposing his vulnerability in the process. (And what can be more vulnerable than writing about the time you misunderstood a nurse's instructions and strolled into an x-ray room completely naked except for your shoes and garters?) Despite the delightful points of ...more
Mar 10, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it
E.B. White and his wife Katherine move from New York City to Vermont in 1938 and he begins farming. He sends essays approximately monthly to The Atlantic and what wonderful essays they are. He will write about his farming and animal experiences later in his wonderful childrens' books, but here he reflects on country things as the world (and eventually the US) go to war. These are wonderful, thoughtful essays, immaculately constructed and full of phrases you must read aloud to someone.
Deborah Schuff
Feb 08, 2015 Deborah Schuff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
E.B. White wrote popular children's books (Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan) and contributed greatly to The New Yorker. He was smart and funny. One year, he moved his family from New York City to a farm in Maine and began writing a series of monthly columns for Harper's Magazine. These columns, published from 1938 to 1943, are collected here and are anything but dated. He writes of his family, his farm, his animals and also of the coming of and durance of WWII. In many way ...more
Apr 30, 2012 Lu rated it it was amazing
I think One Man's Meat, by E.B. White is fitting for me now. Written primarily during the years surrounding and during WWII, by E.B. White, of Charlotte's Web fame. All essays entries are pertinent today. To war or not to war. To live or not to live. City? Country? What is freedom?
What is the role of animals in humanizing homosapiens? How does the earth sustain human mental health?

White meets essay deadlings for The New York Times from his farm in Maine from 1938 to 1944. Return to the land move
Jul 03, 2008 Jennie rated it liked it
This was a great read! I could often be found chuckling as I read it during breaktimes at work. It was perfect for work because it's a collection of Essays that are only a few pages each. I could read a couple or so a day and not be consumed by burning questions like "Will she ever see him again?, What happened to the kindly old gentleman living downstairs?, Who murdered the butler's, neice's, half-sister's cat?, How did the chocolate cake end up in the dryer?".

I did have some trouble with the l
Jackie Tilks
Mar 27, 2013 Jackie Tilks rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I felt like I was staying in the guest room at E. B. White's saltwater farm as I read it and I was sad to come back home when it was over. Not only is he an amazing writer with beautiful connections between farm life and WWII, but his depiction of nature and agriculture make you feel as if you could smell the hay and the kindling in the fire. He is also really funny and honest. I found this book comforting because many of the issues he struggles with in the 1940s ar ...more
Jun 28, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Most of us only know White as the author Charlotte's Web. He was so much more. As an essayist for The New Yorker for years his weekly column was a mix of farm life, life lessons and political thought

This book posts many if these essays from the period from 1939 to 1943

They are stunning in their simple meaningful prose. Few writers can compare the culling of his chickens to what was going on in Europe in 1939 and White does. When he says their will be no culling of his chickens no matter the colo
Sayce Falk
Jan 06, 2011 Sayce Falk rated it it was amazing
The New Yorker calls it superb reading, but I'd call it transcendent. E.B. White makes owning a saltwater farm in remote Maine sound like the one and only good thing you could ever do in your life and I'm more than halfway to believing him. The essays begin in the late 30s and run through the mid 40s, so you get an almost month-by-month evolution of White's thoughts on the coming World War; but as good as his conceptual writing on nationalism, civic duty, democracy, and manhood are, the real spa ...more
Apr 03, 2007 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
I've actually had this on my shelf for a long time and finally decided that I really needed to read some E. B. White. While I can't sit and read too many of these essays at one time, they are quite brilliant. A liberal man of the city who moves to live on a farm in Maine, White looks at the world as I wish more of us would--what is our impact on others and on our world? While he is writing his column for Harper's (this book is a collection of those commentaries) World War II is going on in Europ ...more
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Elwyn Brooks White was a leading American essayist, author, humorist, poet and literary stylist and author of such beloved children's classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine. He authored over seventeen books of prose and poetry and was elected to t ...more
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“There is another sort of day which needs celebrating in song -- the day of days when spring at last holds up her face to be kissed, deliberate and unabashed. On that day no wind blows either in the hills or in the mind.” 22 likes
“There is nothing harder to estimate than a writer's time, nothing harder to keep track of. There are moments—moments of sustained creation—when his time is fairly valuable; and there are hours and hours when a writer's time isn't worth the paper he is not writing anything on.” 21 likes
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