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Vein of Iron

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  73 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Ellen Glasgow considered Vein of Iron, published in 1935, to be her best work. "No novel has ever meant quite so much to me, " she wrote a friend. The critics agreed; the book was favorably reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review and outsold all but one other work of fiction in the year of its publication. Opening in the years just before the First Wor ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by University of Virginia Press (first published January 1st 1935)
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Jan 06, 2008 polly rated it really liked it
Recommended to polly by: Ashley
I will read it this fall, Ashley. I promiseth this.


This is an excellent book, and I don't think that for merely geographical reasons. Ellen Glasgow: why did I not know about her in college, or at least before Ashley introduced her to me after I was well into my 20s?

Set in the mountains of Virginia (happy sigh) during the first part of the 20th Century, the book follows Ada Fincastle (happy sigh) from childhood into her 40s-ish. The book ends during the Great Depression, and tra
Jun 13, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. For my money/time, Ellen Glasgow is an under-rated American author. She depicts strong women in times when women were just discovering that they be independent. This is a maybe not heavy, classic literature, but a lovely family tale of life in the late 18th/early 19th century. I will definitely be adding Ellen Glasgow to my list of authors to read.
Apr 23, 2011 wally rated it liked it
Shelves: glasgow
reflects life during the big d, the depression. the wanton lifestyle of some....the unity of the fincastle family during the 30s, a unity that helped them endure the big d, the big depression...

an old couple commits's the journey, remember? bertie who went in search of hope/work...

flappers and the youth who live recklessly, janet, the boys who liked to get drunk

and so on.

also...stresses the importance of mother earth, say true, boy howdy...

the fincastle family is presented within th
Feb 02, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Another one of my favorite novels by Ellen Glasgow, this one takes place partly in the rural mountains of Virginia near Roanoke and partly in the fictionalized version of Richmond, called Queensborough. Vein of Iron includes Glasgow's most detailed critiques of religion through the character of John Fincastle, an itinerant Presbyterian minister whose theological views are too philosophically radical for American congregations. The novel follows his experiences in part, but it is mostly centered ...more
Tom Leland
Jul 13, 2014 Tom Leland rated it really liked it
"In that noonday of a planned tomorrow, when science has bared the last mysteries of the human entrails, and the closed cells of spontaneous generation are opened in public view -- in that morning brightness of knowledge will men have found a better world than human nature provides?"

Winner of the Pulitzer for a book written after this one, this book was second best-selling fiction book of 1935. Glasgow considered herself to be the first person in Virginia to say a word in favor of woman suffrage
Apr 03, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
This is not an exciting book, but it is good. I'm not sure this book if debuting today would make the bestseller cut. It isn't lightening speed suspenseful, but rather Ellen Glasgow's prose is so melodic in rhythm, that the reader doesn't mind lingering quietly on the scenery, the atmosphere of its setting to see what will happen. It is also rather depressing actually, but of course such was the time, The Great Depression. Even though it wasn't fast paced, it wasn't predictable either. I call th ...more
May 21, 2015 Caitmarie24 rated it it was amazing
This book is lovely. I picked it for my 2015 Reading Challenge for the "book you chose for the cover" entry. And I did. It's a small, squarish book, with a cover from the 1960s re-issue. Just green and gold. It was written in 1935, though, and I loved reading about Ada Fincastle McBride and the "vein of iron" that runs through the women in her family as they deal with the Civil War, and then the Great War and the Great Depression. Her family never has much but they make do with what they can and ...more
Jen Well-Steered
Oh, man, this gets pretty depressing as you watch the Fincastle clan go from rural poverty before WWI to possibly lower middle class in the 1920s boom years to ever more desperate urban poverty, until the very last page, when hope arrives. And yet, this is how the depression was: banks closing with all of your money inside and no depositors' insurance, businesses cutting your hours and your pay until they finally had to close their doors, people riding trains around the country looking for work. ...more
Mar 28, 2015 Patti rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because there was a large section of Glasgow in the University's fiction area and I had never heard of her. Set in turn of the century Virginia, I often thought of the similar timeline to Downton Abbey set in a very different socio-economic environment.
Jun 27, 2007 Rita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
Enjoyable to become acquainted with a whole family, living in an Allegheny farming village and then in Richmond, where they experienced the stock market crash of '29 and the depression. The strong women each have their own strengths.
Publ. 1935.
See my thoughts on Vein of Iron here:
May 14, 2010 Vikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. A strong girl is in love with her childhood sweetheart. A wicked girl says she is pregnant and he marries her. This took place in 1935.
Sep 09, 2013 Linda rated it liked it
The vein of iron in the women of a Virginia family 1901-1935 keeps the family going through many changes.
Oct 24, 2010 Greta rated it really liked it
Tough times are described well in Ellen Glasgows' story of the 20s & 30s in the Valley of Virginia. Friendly to a womans' experience and perspective,thus uncommonly good.
Pat rated it really liked it
Apr 14, 2007
Laura rated it really liked it
May 21, 2016
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Aug 17, 2012
Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Jun 05, 2007
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Aug 14, 2011
Susan Hunter
Susan Hunter rated it really liked it
Jun 05, 2014
Sarah Gardner
Sarah Gardner rated it really liked it
Apr 05, 2013
Paula rated it it was amazing
Nov 23, 2014
John  Ervin
John Ervin rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2010
Terry Everett
Terry Everett rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2014
Murry Spector
Murry Spector rated it it was amazing
Dec 18, 2016
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Aug 10, 2013
Julia rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2010
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Jul 21, 2012
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Sri Rhamadani rated it did not like it
Nov 17, 2015
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aka Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow

Born into an upper-class Virginian family, Glasgow rebelled at an early age against traditional expectations of women, becoming a best-selling author of 20 novels, the last of which (In This Our Life) won a Pulitzer Prize in 1942.

The majority of her novels have Southern settings, reflecting her awareness of the enormous social and economic changes occuring in t
More about Ellen Glasgow...

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