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His Family
Ernest Poole
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His Family (Classic Reprint)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  884 ratings  ·  104 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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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
Given the history and prestige of the Pulitzer Prize, it bears remembering that the award for fiction got off to a somewhat shaky start. Established in 1917, the Pulitzer committee failed to award a prize for fiction/novel that year (a bad habit it can't seem to break even as recently as 2012), and the first true winner in this category, snagging the prize in 1918, was a work entitled His Family by Ernest Poole, a nice enough book but lacking in anything particularly outstanding or memorable to ...more
Joshua Walcher
I'm flabbergasted.

If you would have told me that I'd give this book a 4-star review when I was 50% through the book or even 75% of the way through the book, I would have laughed and told you that you must be thinking of some other book...not this one.

Ernest Poole must've lived through some serious family drama. Because man...this guy gets it. Never have I been so uncomfortable reading a book as I was when Roger's three daughters each tried to "fix" the other two with their ideas of how they shou
Although Poole seems to have good intentions with this story of an aging widower/father struggling to regain his foothold in the lives of his three adult daughters. Threads of truth concerning family dynamics as well as life truths can be found throughout the book, but are primarily overshadowed by aggressive stereotyping, providing for characters with limited growth and no ability to connect with the reader, as well as untiring repetition which eventually tires the reader.
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 Gal
Jean Carlton
The repetitive and obvious theme of 'life goes on' (and on and on)became a bit boring to me at first but it pulled me in as I found passages to which I could relate as a parent. Roger, aging patriarch, is looking back on his life after the death of his wife. Only then does he get to know his adult daughters. Major themes which cross all generations are the uniqueness of each of his children, the tendency of parents to meddle in their lives and decisions (all for their own good, of course!), th
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
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
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
George Wells
This takes a long time to get going, but when it does, it's a decent enough read. However, the author's messages of compassion for the poor and empowerment for women are laughably classist and sexist. There's also a touch of your grandparents' "I like those people just fine" style racism.

I read this as part of a plan to read all the Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction. Aside from helping me in that and the bit of extra insight into the thinking of tthe early 20th century, there's not enough here
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
Elizabeth Hesseltine
This book was first published in 1917 and was the winner of the first Pulitzer prize for Novel. What amazed me about this book was how the topics that were important in 1917 are the same topics that are important today. The main character (who is the father of three adult girls) deals with death, birth, and divorce. One daughter is very "old fashioned," one is all about new ideas and experiences, and one is devoted to her career, not putting marriage and babies as her first priority. One daughte ...more
As part of my Pulitzer winners effort, I tackled this first winner. I actually sentimentally found this story to be touching in a 4-star way; but I had to be honest in that the writing was simply mediocre. But for some reason, I find myself fond of this book, which to me makes it a successful effort. I think Poole does capture something significant about the trials and tribulations of changing families and generations; but the narrative and structural conventions are a bit simplistic. For instan ...more
Priscila Wood
His Family has a simple plot: Roger Gale, a widower man of sixty reflects about his life, his current city (New York) and the behaviour of his three daughters in the middle of the 1910's. However, Poole delivers a marvellous frame of the city, and grabs the reader's attention until the end, even though there are no great plot twists or secrets to be revealed - which is a great accomplishment.

Deborah, Laura and Edith are three sisters completely different, and this is the starting point of the bo
“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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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 ([]). 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
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
There is a level on which this book is completely sexist; the men in the story are whole people while the women are types, unable to see the whole picture and live as whole people. However, I imagine one hundred years ago, even acknowledging all these types / sides of a woman (including the career - obsessed) was progressive in and of itself. The book is well-written with a sweet spirit - and is a fascinating look at a rapidly changing New York City just prior to WWI.
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Tackling the Puli...: His Family (Ernest Poole, 1918) 31 31 Apr 03, 2015 11:36AM  
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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 about Ernest Poole...
The Harbor His Second Wife (Dodo Press) The Nancy Flyer: A Stagecoach Epic Giants Gone: Men Who Made Chicago Beggars' Gold

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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.” 6 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.” 2 likes
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