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His Family
Ernest Poole
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His Family (Classic Reprint)

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,163 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
"His Family" is a fictional novel by Ernest Poole. This novel tells the story of a middle-class family set against the gritty backdrop of New York City. Taking place at the turn of twentieth century, the novel benefits from modern romanticism of the 1910s as a fairytale age, the years before the first World War. This story centers around Roger Gale, a widower and family pa ...more
Paperback, 334 pages
Published September 27th 2015 by Forgotten Books (first published 1917)
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This engaging and endearing book, the winner of the first Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (in 1918), seems unfortunately to have slipped into the shadows. It is both gentle and powerful, a gripping story of the final couple of years in the life of Roger Gale -- his memories of and hopes for His Family.

Roger is a thoughtful and sensitive man, the father of three daughters. Illness had taken his wife Judith at a young age and Roger became a kind and conscientious single parent to three young daughters
Joshua Walcher
Apr 30, 2015 Joshua Walcher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 21, 2007 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  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
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 really liked it  ·  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 16, 2016 Spencer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for a good "book group book", His Family is a good choice. Set in 1913-1916 New York City, it tells the tale of Roger Gale, a 16 year widower, and his three daughters. Edith, 36, married with 4 children, and soon to be 5, has an insular view of her family. She focuses all her attention on maximizing the health, comfort and security of her family, at the expense of not experiencing the outside world. Deborah, 29, is single and a highly motivated principal of a large public schoo ...more
Feb 29, 2012 Emily rated it liked it  ·  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
Sep 25, 2009 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 30, 2013 Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
I found this book to be both really interesting and really problematic.
On the plus side, it’s a fascinating look at New York during a transformative time in history. The characters’ opinions about women, poverty, education, sex and technology is like a snapshot of the era, so much so that I think this novel would be great as required reading for a college class on American history. On the minus side, it has some major structural problems and I agree with other reviewers who said the themes are h
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
Sep 26, 2015 Realini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
His Family by Ernest Poole
Very different perspectives on the world are presented in a very good book

There are some very poignant and difficult issues that are debated in this awarded book, in fact the first to receive the Pulitzer Prize.
Roger has a family that constitutes the name of this novel, consisting of three very different daughters and a belatedly adopted son.
He had a son of his own, but that boy died and so did his wife, albeit her widowed husband keeps thinking about her.
There are som
His Family was published in 1917, the year the United States entered the First World War. The book's author, Ernest Poole, was a journalist who had written extensively about the terrible conditions that immigrants in New York City faced at home in the tenements and at work in the factories. He reported on the 1905 Revolution in Russia and was a member of the Socialist Party.

Considering these credentials, it is no surprise that in his novels Poole would cast a critical eye on wealth and tradition
Feb 20, 2016 Rrshively rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this 1918 Pulitzer Prize winner, Roger is struggling to understand his three grown daughters and the changing city of New York around him. "Modern" times have intruded on his life. One daughter is the ultimate housewife and mother, one is the career woman, and the third is the carefree party girl who wants no children. Although early 20th Century America was bigoted against immigrants, Roger overcomes some of his repulsion of the teeming ghettos to show some compassion for the lot of the poor ...more
Dec 29, 2013 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
His Family was the very first winner of the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1918, which marks the start of my attempt to read all of the Pulitzer recipients (and finalists)

His Family tells the story of a middle-class family in New York City in the 1910s. The family’s patriarch, widower Roger Gale, struggles to deal with the way his three daughters and grandchildren respond to the changing society. Each of his daughters responds in a distinctively different way to the circumstances of their lives
May 25, 2015 Missyjones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of book reviews but never taken time to write one. Until now. This is the best book I've ever read. Sure - I've read others that were funnier, more suspenseful, twistier plots. But this one is so relevant today. A man struggles to really know who his family is - to really get to know the people he knows best. And the struggle between hanging on to tradition vs. a more modern world. The book makes convincing arguments for both. His is a book I know I will reread. Probably more tha ...more
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
May 23, 2014 Jimmy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzers
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
Dec 02, 2008 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sara by: Pulitzer List
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
Oct 31, 2013 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prize-winners
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
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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
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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
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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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