Poor White
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Poor White

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  160 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Sherwood Anderson was a 20th century American writer of short stories. Anderson grew up in Ohio and after college became a copywriter in Chicago. He is most famous for his collection of interrelated short stories, Winesburg Ohio, which he began writing in 1919. Poor White was published in 1920. Hugh McVey is an inventor who rises from poverty. The story is set on the banks...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Echo Library (first published 1920)
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Mad Dog
An ambitious book that bored me for much ot its length. This book's intent was telling the tale of the impacts of the Industrial Revolution on small-town America as well as telling the personal tale of some of those involved. But the book got bogged down (in parts) by the boring telling of the story of the lead character (Hugh McVey). The character never really progressed (throughout the book), but worst of all he never really got interesting. He took long walks and brooded about how he didn't f...more
James Govednik
It seems everything I've read about Sherwood Anderson rates Winesburg, Ohio as Anderson's best work, but I like Poor White better. Like Winesburg, the plot is strongly rooted in the internal struggles of the characters. While Winesburg is a series of character studies, Poor White takes us along on the journey of Hugh McVey as he grows from a dazed social outcast to an unwitting mover and shaker of commerce, from the 1890s into the 20th century. Like life 100 or so years ago, the story moves alon...more
Wadlington Johnson
Where Sherwood Anderson succeeds is in his ability to raise the every day normal experience to a place of beauty. He doesn't in the way some authors do by relying on magical realism. Through his simple approach to writing and his ability to root out truths that are nearly almost always relevant if not often realized till Anderson points it out. Anderson is not necessarily an author for the current generation that has grown accustomed to wild twists and turns in story. What Anderson does is tell...more
Alex
Sherwood Anderson pulls it off. It's definitely an imperfect novel. There are moments when he seems to want it to be Bigger than what it is followed by moments in which he focuses in on one emotion, and the two moves aren't quite reconciled. That said, Anderson is very perceptive of the multifaceted and often-overlapping pulls of progress and nostalgia - the human experience of the modernization process - which makes for the novel's greatest strength. You get the feeling here that Anderson, as a...more
Veronica
t saddens me to say that I was, once again, disappointed with an admired author’s work. Poor White felt like it was trying much too hard to be a work of historical fiction, and in doing so, had this reader losing interest. I have read many great books within this category, however, this was not one of them.

Anderson’s commentary on the burgeoning Industrial Revolution during the early 20th century reads at times like a scholarly work, rather than a piece of fiction, and has an academically dry to...more
Jim
First published in 1920, it seems dated today, and I found that even if I flipped the pages from time to time I wouldn't lose any of the story line. Its about a young man who is urged by parent-like figures to work hard and treat life seriously. He subsequently leaves a job at a railroad station, as he has become successful as an inventor of labor-saving farm machinery. Somewhat introverted, that life takes over to the detriment of relationships of any kind until he meets a young woman on the re...more
Jodi Lu
His style is so unsettling to me. It’s so odd in the sense that everything’s so NORMAL to the point of extreme sleepiness of descriptive prose and top-level dialogue and clearly arranged chronology and blandish development but still, this banal scene and the faintest glimmer in each otherwise matte eye, is always infused with a sense of extreme anxiety that is definitively sticky and macabre. He should’ve tried his hand at horror. In Winesburg, Ohio (which is far more interesting to read in my o...more
Timmy
I can understand most readers' criticism of this book. But it's Sherwood Anderson and he's got much to say. He has left his writing as the definitive stamp for the Midwest (and into Appalachia and other regions), for the turn of the century, and for modern America and the new industrialism. He's the one who puts things in its proper perspective and sees a bit further. He's the one who felt it so much he just got up and walked into the cornfields. I wish he could have walked another hundred years...more
Timothy Crook
One of the most overlooked books in American fiction by one of the most overlooked but influential writers that influenced so many writers after him, love Sherwood Anderson!
Dylan Alford
This book reminded me of the grapes of wrath...like it could be a midwestern prequel to that. It's about a socially awkward, isolated guy who has a gift with math and mechanical reckoning...which shows that our progress from agriculturalism to industrialism was headed by unnatural, isolated people who put all of their energy into their work. It's also just about social isolation in general, as anderson's main theme...people's innability to communicate and resist loneliness. Then there's the whol...more
Judy
Taking place during the late 1800s, a poor white trash boy gets to escape his background but never quite "fits in" with anyone. He wanders and eventually ends in a small Ohio town. The story of the coming age of industry -- factories that turn out labor-saving devices -- and the effect on working people; the story of those who are moneymakers and organizers; the story of young people who don't know how to love -- this book covers all of that and more. Apparently, this was Anderson's only success...more
Kinsley
while some parts may seem a bit sluggish, it was beautifully descriptive and incredibly insightful. It is really something people should read to understand a bit about where we are today, where we came from, what we gained and what we lost. If you are looking for a lot of plot and action though, this is not your book. I just read Winesburg, Ohio (it had been on my to-read list forever!) and think that book is more enjoyable to read, but I really appreciated this book for its beauty and insight.
Paul Hansbury
Recommend it and recommend it for historian/sociologists to yellow-marker multiple passages which shrug off the limited third-person narrative and describe american societal change in apt terms.
Iain Coggins
I have always loved Anderson and I had wanted to read this particular novel for years. What a pleasure to enjoy his clear, simple prose, so weighted with meaning! This is an American classic in the vein of Cather and Hemingway, but sadly one that has fallen by the wayside.
Jeane
As i always think about books written by American writers, about America around the times this was written, I thought it would be boring. But again i start to find this book quite interesting and find it harder to put down the more i read it.
Dave
Anderson has always been difficult for me to describe. His books have this strange tone that uncover this layer of mystery that I start to see in real life. Everything seems unknown and life more beautiful as a result. Almost opposite in Tolstoy.
Wanda
Sep 14, 2011 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Samuel Eliot Morison mentions it favorably in his "The Oxford History of the American People"; in fact it seems to have quite touched him. I found it on Gutenberg, so I downloaded it to my eReader.
Jeff
Pretty good, though a bit disjointed, collection of characters and stories about industrialism and the changes it wrought in the mid-west late in the 19th century.
Lorenzo Berardi
Huckleberry Finn revisited in the north of United States.
Better than Mark Twain.
Catherine
Interesting story of rural America and the advent of the industrial age.
Mary
Simple, quick, makes you think.
Chris
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Jul 24, 2014
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Sherwood Anderson was an American writer who was mainly known for his short stories, most notably the collection Winesburg, Ohio. That work's influence on American fiction was profound, and its literary voice can be heard in Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, John Steinbeck, Erskine Caldwell and others.

From PBS.org:
Sherwood Anderson, (1876-1941), was an American short-story writer a...more
More about Sherwood Anderson...
Winesburg, Ohio The Egg and Other Stories Death in the Woods and Other Stories Triumph of the Egg The Portable Sherwood Anderson

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“The machines men are so intent on making have carried them very far from the old sweet things.” 4 likes
Robert Ingersoll came to [a small Midwest town] to speak . . . , and after he had gone the question of the divinity of Christ for months occupied the minds of the citizens.” 1 likes
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