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His Family
 
by
Ernest Poole
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His Family (Classic Reprint)

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  558 ratings  ·  83 reviews
In this 1918 Pulitzer Prize winning story, widower Roger Gale struggles to deal with the way his children and grandchildren respond to the changing society. His Family is the story of a sixty-year-old New York man who reflects on his life and the lives of his three daughters. The women represent three separate types - one maternal, the second devoted to social movements, a...more
Published (first published 1917)
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Melody
Nov 21, 2007 Melody rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Most folks
Shelves: pulitzer
Gem of a book that covers topics that are timely today.

This story revolves around a man with 3 daughters: the homemaker, the career woman, and the party girl. He attempts to come to terms with who they are and the changes they represent in families, morality, teh workplace, and culture.

One theme that runs through this is immigration: the career woman is a school administrator in tenement neighborhoods of New York City before and during WWI. The discussion of immigration nearly 100 years ago mirr...more
Johan Patrick Sy
Jan 01, 2014 Johan Patrick Sy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: loves Family Drama


For The Loving Father


This is my first Pulitzer novel to read because, I challenged myself to read Pulitzer novels since last year I invested my time reading Young Adults (view spoiler). I promised myself that every time I read a book I'll try to write a review on it (view spoiler)

His Family by Ernest Poole was the first Pulitzer winner for fiction (1918). The story revolved around Roger Gale...more
Emily
Feb 29, 2012 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: Pulitizer Prize winner
This novel received the first Pultizer Prize for the Novel in 1918...I am restarting my quest to read all of the winners. A recent drought in "good reads" led me on a trip to the library. After scanning the M. Atwood Shelf (I had read all the ones there) and walking aimlessly through the rest of the fiction area, I decided to dive back into Pulitizer Prize winners. Why not start with the first one!
This book was a bit slow and slightly melodramatic for my taste, but I still enjoyed it. Ironically...more
Martin
One of my favorite Pulitzer winning pieces of fiction. The story of a late, middle-aged man who lives in NYC and maintains the family farm in New Hampshire. He learns about "modern" life from his 3 very different daughters, a liberal-minded teacher, a shallow socialite and a prudish housewife/widow.

This is a wonderful story which reminds me at times of E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime, in that it encompasses the scope of life in early twentieth century New York, and the lives of the people who inhabit it...more
Kathryn
Read for my ongoing Pulitzer challenge.

His Family was published in the late 1910s and is a contemporary story for the time; now we're likely to view it more as an historical with the time and setting. Roger Gale is a middle-aged businessman, more viewed as an old man given the era, who focuses on his wife's dying words and how he must relate to his adult daughters. He regrets not really "knowing" his children, though he appears to communicate with them often, and this story offers an interesting...more
Dave
“The Harbor” is Ernest Poole’s best known work, although his later work, “His Family”, would be the first novel to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1918. “The Harbor was published in 1915, and the novel is among the first, if not the first, to present labor unions in a positive light. Though certainly a gritty novel for its time, I would not doubt that many readers today might find it rather tame. Ernest Poole clearly had sympathy for socialist causes, and this can be found in much of his work.

The nove...more
Sara
Quick review (to be updated later): The first winner of the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel (renamed Fiction in 1947) in 1918, the story follows Roger Gale in turn-of-the-century New York, and his attempts to connect with his three adult daughters. His wife died 16 years earlier, and despite her urging him, "You will live on in our children's lives", he has remained disconnected from them. Each child has different goals/interests in life, and Roger has a hard time relating to them. Edith is the old...more
Liz
His Family, by Ernest Poole, was the first book to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was published in 1918. I had never heard of it, and honestly I didn’t know what to expect, but I was intrigued to see what that first book, from that era of American history, was going to be about. So, in the age old tradition of saying cliches are bad but then doing precisely what they say – I judged the book by its cover.

My copy of His Family is a paperback, and the cover is mostly black and glossy. It is...more
Johnny
I've almost always loved the Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction, yet I've only read the most recent fifteen or so winners. Reading His Family began my quest to start at the very beginning and read through all of the titles I've missed. Back in 1918, this was the very first winner for the "Novel" category (one that was replaced by "Fiction" in 1948). Because this isn't necessarily one of those classic texts, I expected the book to be dated and stale, but I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wro...more
Dree
I read this simply because it won the first Pulitzer Prize for Novel.

Taking place in the years leading up to and beginning WWI, the story focuses on Roger Gale, a business owner who grew up in the mountains but has lived his adult life in New York City. As a widower, he stays in the city to be near his 3 adult daughters, as he promised his wife he would. The 3 women are three different "types"--Edith, the old-fashioned mother of 4; Deborah, the school principal/working woman; and Laura, the youn...more
Joyce Lagow
Early 20th century New York City is the setting and in a way the main protagonist of His Family, the winner of the first--1918--Pulitzer Prize for fiction. [return][return]Roger Gale is the head of a well-to-do family of three daughters; all four are very different not only in character but also in the way each embraces or rejects the changes that are occurring so rapidly, particularly as a result of the waves of immigration that crowd the city and change its physical, moral, and social landscap...more
Mark
His Family, the first Pulitzer Prize winning novel, is a drama that explores the trials and challenges of family life against the backdrop of the rapidly changing world of the early 20th century. Set in New York in 1914, Roger Gale is widower with three grown daughters, who each possess traits he sees in himself. As he emerges from the grief and depression of losing his wife, he turns to his daughters, remembering his wife’s advice that “you will live on in our children’s lives.” He comes to lea...more
Mark Oppenlander
One of the advantages of working at a University is that I have access to an extensive library. And through our library, I can request materials from an extensive network of additional libraries across the country and even around the world. Nonetheless, imagine my surprise when I requested through inter-libray loan a copy of the 1917 Pulitzer Prize winning novel "His Family" and received a first edition copy of it from one of our peer institutions. Yep. A 94-year-old book delivered in three days...more
JPGH
While I wondered whether this book would be a modern day contender for the Pulitzer Prize, I can see how it was appreciated for being ahead of its time in a number of ways--the focus on women characters and the choices facing women (for example, the impact of childbearing upon creative and professional life). It was also fascinating to read an account of observations being made in real-time of the technological and sociological revolutions taking place. There are conversations about the subways...more
Michael
Apr 01, 2009 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Fans of historical novels and family sagas.
Recommended to Michael by: Read as a Pulitzer Prize winner.
This warm, family saga takes place in New York just prior to WWI.

Roger Gale is a 60 year old with three daughters. His wife, Judith, died and he doesn't see much meaning to life although he remembers his wife's words. "Out life goes on in the lives of our children."

Roger's eldest, Ethel, is expecting her 5th child, Deborah at age 29 is a school principal, and Laura is the youngest, and his favorite. Her zest for life amazes him. He says, "She even danced in restaurants."

One day, Laura surprises...more
Melissa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joy
Jan 18, 2012 Joy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Readers who love good characters.
Just finished this book in the wee hours of this morning and I really enjoyed it. It turns out that the book starts around 1914, just before Europe becomes engaged in WWI. It ends a couple of years later, as far as I could tell, just before the U.S. enters the war. Roger Gale is the main character and he is a widower with three adult daughters, Edith, Deborah and Laura.

This is a great book for many reasons. First, Roger struggles with the complexity of parenting adult children and running into...more
Mr. Cole
I've almost always loved the Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction, yet I've only read the most recent fifteen or so winners. Reading His Family began my quest to start at the very beginning and read through all of the titles I've missed. Back in 1918, this was the very first winner for the "Novel" category (one that was replaced by "Fiction" in 1948). Because this isn't necessarily one of those classic texts, I expected the book to be dated and stale, but I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wro...more
Jeff Forster
It had been a while since I'd read a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I continue slowly in my quest to read all of them. It turns out the 1918 winner is out of print. How fortunes change in nearly a century. Thanks to a little rare book reprint house called Kessinger Publishing, I was able to get a copy from my library. Ernest Poole was a social reformer who also happened to churn out about a book a year from the turn of the century to 1940. His Family is apparently less well-known than...more
Joseph Whitt
His Family is the story of an aging widower reconciling his relationships with his three uniquely different daughters. From the beginning, the reading is delightful and welcoming as if we were guests in this family lives. Although written in 1917, the book has several themes which are still quite important to American society and American families today. Poole does an excellent job of characterizing the daughters: Edith, Deborah, and Laura; however, Roger's character has always felt to me a myst...more
Debra
This book is the first prize winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The award was first given in 1918. The rules for the prize state that the work must be by an American author, preferably dealing with American life ([http://www.pulitzer.org/]). His Family takes place in New York City. The main character observes the change in New York from a fairly rural place, with poets such as Whitman a part of his youth, to a city with auto's in the streets. I enjoyed reading a book that was contemporary...more
Marty
When my husband and I first set out to read all of the Pulitzer Prize winning novels, this was the very first,and we were somewhat disappointed when it was not readily available from our Sarasota library, or Amazon! We skipped to the second one and went from there. Recently, while beginning our summer travels, we were in Arlington Heights,IL - our former home, and checked that library which also did not have a copy. Finally we tracked it down in the Mt. Prospect, IL library and with the held of...more
Karen
Although I'm more inclined to read non-fiction, I wanted some fiction to read before I go to bed. I found the Pulitzer book club and decided to read them in order. This is the first book that won the Pulitzer Prize for the novel.

It took some time to get into the book. It's an interesting book in that one of the sisters is a Progressive. (The Progressive Party was officially formed in 1912.) It is interesting to read what her struggles were 100 years ago. The book was written in 1917 about a fami...more
Dawn
Roger Gale, 60 years old, has been a widower for 15 years. He is living in the family home with his two youngest daughters, Deborah and Laura. A third daughter is married with 4 children and is expecting a 5th. The home is rapidly being surrounded by tall apartment buildings. Roger owns a business which he still actively manages. Roger has been in somewhat of a daze since the loss of his wife but thinks of her admonition to be involved in the lives of the children. The lives of Roger's 3 girls a...more
Mel
This might be my new favorite book. Of All Time. It's a great story about a man and his daughters. They are all extremely different. One is flighty and shallow, one finds a family in social work and the third thinks raising a family is the only way to be a whole woman.

This book might have been written in 1917, but I can only imagine it was pretty controversial for its time, and the themes still resonate today. A tragic economy, education, health care. It's all there. In a book from 1917.

In som...more
Ronald Roumanis
His Family is beautifully written and paints a vibrant portrait of a typical early 20th Century middle-class family living in New York during the WW1 years. Poole has a talent for creating realistically passionate characters as well as infusing a sense of conflict into the family narrative. Three daughters in their twenties and early 30s living in the city in 1914 reveal the array of good, bad,responsible, and reckless choices young women can make. Each daughter reflects an aspect of their 60 ye...more
Dave Jecklin
Poole captures the emotions of a father who's life has been surrounded by work and who is challenged by his dying wife to reconnect with his three grown daughters. The novel follows Roger Gale's efforts to connect with his daughters and understand their lives.

As a father of three young children myself and with a wife who warns me they are growing up as I toil away at work, His Family is a timeless novel.

I was brought to tears as Roger Gale is dying and envisions his daughters as little girls a...more
Paulina
Is love for "humanity" a greater good than love for one's own tribe?This question lies at the heart of Ernest Poole's book. The characters of "His Family" -- a serious-minded reformer, a consummate mother (today's "helicopter parent"), and a fun-loving "flapper" -- each ask themselves whether or not one should "take care of one's own," even at the expense of the less fortunate. Thus, while giving me a glimpse into a time of immigrants, tenements, labor and educational reforms, women's suffrage,...more
Donna
Even though this book won the Pulitzer in 1920 its message is timeless. We live on through our family (extended and immediate) and impact lives in ways we will never know.

Interesting to compare this fictional tale with historical fact of the time. War significantly changed the dynamic of even the wealthiest families and really brought them closer together. Just as in North Dakota this past month where 80,000 out of 90,000 total population volunteered to help build temporary levies to block flood...more
Sally
For whatever reason, I decided that I should read all the Pulitzer prize winning novels (I've also decided to read all the Newberry award winners - although a lot of them will be re-reads. )This book almost made me give up my quest right at the beginning. It's not that there's anything wrong with it, it's just that i didn't care about the characters or what happened to them at all. Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mindset for early 20th century American literature? Or perhaps the moral lessons...more
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Ernest Poole graduated from Princeton University in 1902. He worked as a journalist and was active in promoting social reforms including the ending of child labor He was a correspondent for the Saturday Evening Post in Europe before and during World War I.

His novel The Harbor (1915) is the work for which he is known best.It is set largely among the proletariat of the industrial Brooklyn waterfron...more
More about Ernest Poole...
The Harbor His Second Wife (Dodo Press) Beggars' Gold The Nancy Flyer: A Stagecoach Epic The Village - Russian Impressions

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“And there came to him a feeling which he had often had before in many different places--that he himself was a part of all this, the great, blind, wistful soul of mankind, which had been here before he was born and would be here when he was dead--still groping, yearning, struggling upward, on and on--to something distant as the sun. And still would he be part of it all, through the eager lives of his children.” 3 likes
“I wonder if it won't be the same with the children as it has been with us. No matter how long each one of them lives, won't their lives feel to them unfinished like ours, only just beginning? I wonder how far they will go. And then their children will grow up and it will be the same with them. Unfinished lives. Oh, dearie, what children all of us are.” 1 likes
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