One of Ours
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One of Ours

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  2,993 ratings  ·  284 reviews
Willa Cather's Pulitzer Prize-winning narrative of the making of a young American soldier

Claude Wheeler, the sensitive, aspiring protagonist of this beautifully modulated novel, resembles the youngest son of a peculiarly American fairy tale. His fortune is ready-made for him, but he refuses to settle for it. Alienated from his crass father and pious mother, all but rejecte...more
Paperback, First Vintage Classics Edition, 371 pages
Published February 9th 2011 by Vintage Classics (first published 1922)
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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueRegeneration by Pat BarkerGoodbye to All That by Robert GravesA Farewell to Arms by Ernest HemingwayBirdsong by Sebastian Faulks
World War One Literature
23rd out of 131 books — 227 voters
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensThe Two Towers by J.R.R. TolkienThe Three Musketeers by Alexandre DumasThe Sign of Four by Arthur Conan DoyleOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
Five, Four, Three, Two, One-READ!
185th out of 196 books — 17 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mar 19, 2009 Sparrow rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Derrick Jensen
Recommended to Sparrow by: 1932 Pulitzer
Leave it to Willa Cather to write the most peaceful book about war I have ever read. One of Ours is not my favorite story about World War I or my favorite Cather, but it is truly beautiful. Cather's description of the destruction caused by war and America's participation in global economy is fascinating, and I was surprised to find a perspective that I think of as common in post-Vietnam writing in a book published before the Great Depression.

One of the characteristics I love most about Cather as...more
The story of Claude Wheeler, a college-age farmer's son in Nebraska, just before and during World War I. I try to put my finger on what is so appealing about Cather's prose, besides the sensitive and subtle presentation of her characters and her vivid descriptions of the physical world. I guess it's her non-judgmental choice of words--she presents some pretty repellent characters, but she never describes them in a way to prejudice the reader; she lets other characters be repelled by them. What s...more
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this is the story of Claude Wheeler, an American farm boy who grows to manhood convinced that there is something more “splendid about life” than the quotidian existence he sees around him, that will be his future. Frustrated at his inability to attend anything but a small religious college, and entranced by glimpses of a more daring family who engage in intellectual debate and love the arts, he gets married but finds that his wife, too, lives only for Christian miss...more
I loved the beginning of this book, then felt sort of bogged down in the middle, but was again very engaged at the end. I almost gave this book 3 stars because of the middle, but the parts of it that were beautiful were so beautiful that I think it deserves 4. One of my favorite passages was "Most of the boys who fell in this war were unknown, even to themselves. They were too young. They died and took their secret with them -- what they were and what they might have been", but there were many b...more
I'm afraid my experience with this book suffered a bit from what I've dubbed the Book Prize Oopsy Syndrome, wherein, according to this article, "winning a prestigious prize in the literary world seems to go hand-in-hand with a particularly sharp reduction in ratings of perceived quality". This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 and for me that's one of the best prizes a book can win. So I expected genius, and what I got was a good book. Just not genius.

But I am very interested to read more Will...more
Christopher Sutch
This fine novel is deceptively easy to read, but I think was Cather's most complex and significant work up to the time of its publication (1922; won the Pulitzer Prize). Rather than stating explicitly where the novel is going or, when the narrative finally moves toward its climax, the links with the events that happened earlier), Cather's style becomes here much more high modernist (without the technical stylings of Faulkner or Hemingway, both concerned at times with similar subject matter): sur...more
Joyce Lagow
1923 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.[return][return]I� ve lived in Nebraska and know well the rolling landscape, the hard-working but easy-going people who farm and ranch the land there. Willa Cather� s prose, as far as I� m concerned, reflects perfectly their characters. That is the first impression that a reader takes away from One of Ours. And its protagonist, Claude Wheeler, reminds me of young people I� ve met there, who love their state and their families, but somehow don� t quit...more
Devyn Duffy
Aug 06, 2013 Devyn Duffy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Willa Cather deserves a nomination as the greatest American author.

For some reason, One of Ours doesn't seem to move many people, but I found it to be a wonderfully written story of a young man who can't seem to figure out how to live. The characters seem real, as they do in all of Cather's work, and Cather is one of the few authors I know of who can describe scenes in vivid detail without being boring.

I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn't read it. You probably already know, howe...more
Who's the GREAT American writer ? Not Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wharton, Faulkner. Here she is : Willa Cather.
Scott Axsom
I'll post this review for now to warn any unsuspecting dead-tree version readers (like my Luddite self) to avoid the Wilder Publications version of this classic. It is so riddled with typos as to be unreadable. Guess I was forewarned, Amazon reviewers warned of this (though, I didn't avail myself of their reviews until I was already holding the bastardized version in my hands and wondering WTF).

There's even a typo on the back cover. Good God.

I've ordered another version from a respectable publi...more
Apparently, Willa Cather did not want this book to “be classed as a war story,” and after reading it, that makes a lot of sense to me.

Yes, Hemingway et al. did get their manties in a twist about how feeble the (surprisingly scanty) war parts were, but really, boys, that would seem to be missing the point. I mean, it’s right there in the title. No All Quiet on the Western Front for Cather; it’s One of Ours, and I read the “Ours” as we good old US of A-ers and the “One” as our hero, Claude Whee...more
I love Willa Cather, and each new book or story I read of hers just solidifies that opinion. I understood Claude so completely and, though I was frustrated with him at times, I also felt like he spoke my own thoughts and reflected the side of me that is too often discontented. It's not the "me" I show to the public, but too frequently it's the "me" inside.

And when, very late in the novel, I read this passage, I was so proud of him. I truly felt as though I'd watched him mature and become a man.

A book club selection. My friend Jenni said: She published the book in 1922, four years after end of the Great War, when the world was still reeling from shock. Critics panned it as jingoistic and unrealistic; Hemingway and other esteemed 20th-century novelists mocked battle war scenes, but readers (including many veterans) embraced the book en masse. It went on to win the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for literature, but remains a controversial portrayal of war.
After a great discussion, I do not think th...more
Willa Cather's One of Ours is the story of Claude Wheeler's part in World War One. I read this with it in mind as being a book about war, but now that I've finished it I don't think that the war was the main point. I think that this is a story of a young person trying to find themselves in an ever changing world. Claude is often directionless and lost, struggling to find his place in the world, with his hopes and desires failing to be realised again and again. The way I've read it, this places O...more
I've read My Antonia, O Pioneers, and Neighbor Rosicky. I mistakenly thought that what I loved so much about Cather are her prairie/pioneer/struggling to make a living off the earth/work ethic themes. I've long avoided reading One of Ours, because I feared the WWI setting would lull me to sleep. The truth is, Willa Cather could write banking manuals and make me fall in love with the characters. She's just a truly great writer. I so enjoyed this story. I love stories, and Willa Cather is one of f...more
‘One of Ours’ is Willa Cather’s 1923 Pulitzer prize winning novel that I read for the ongoing Librarything Virago group’s Great War theme read.
Cather is particularly known for writing about Nebraskan frontier life, and this novel opens in the Nebraskan farming community at around the time that the First World War was starting in Europe. Claude Wheeler is the son of a successful farmer, his future on the farm, seems assured. Many of Claude’s friends and neighbours are European immigrants – sever...more
I always forget how much I love Willa Cather until I start reading one of her books; they are always so satisfying, and this one is no exception. Part of my "Great War" reading list for the year, it is about a young man on a farm in Nebraska who is dissatisfied with his life. He knows that there is a huge world out there, ready to explore, with lots of glitteringly glamorous people--brilliant artists, intellectuals, etc.--but he chooses to marry and stay in his small world. (His "marriage" is ra...more
Thank you Barbara for sharing this beautiful story. I was not familiar with this story, but love many of Catcher's other books. Good writing has a way of drawing the reader in and making them think and this book is true to that. Caleb breaks your heart, but the story always rings true to the time and place. The more I read of WWI, the more I question what did we has people fail to learn that there had to be a WWII.
On a side note, I thought it funny when one of the older ladies had to go to her P...more
Darrick Taylor
Willa Cather's novel about a young Nebraskan who finds himself during WWI, One of Ours, was a pleasant discovery for me, for Cather had the great gift of being able to write beautifully and tell a good story, something done (mostly) to good effect in this novel, which won her a Pulitzer Prize. In it, Claude Wheeler is a sensitive, idealistic young man, alienated from his parents, family, and his home town, even while still loving it. He yearns for something more, but doesn't know what this shoul...more
Winner of the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for fiction One of Ours tells the story of Claude Wheeler a Nebraskan farm boy who longs for more than the rolling prairie and watchful eye of a Christian upbringing. He dabbles in education, marriage, and farming looking for something that is truly his own – something that will define him and end his longing. When America joins WWI Claude enlists in the army and will finally find his calling when he is leading his troops to victory and death in a trench on a fa...more
I'm pretty sure I am not the first person to notice this but Willa Cather was an amazing writer. Here are just a few of the gems I gleaned from this book:
She told off on her fingers the many ingredients, but he believed there were things she did not name: the fragrance of old friendships, the glow of early memories, belief in wonder-working rhymes and songs. Surely these were fine things to put into little cakes

Day after day he flung himself upon the land and planted it with what was fermenting...more
ONE OF OURS. (1922). Willa Cather. ***.
Counted among one of Cather’s best books, it doesn’t hold up well with age. It is a coming of age novel of a farm boy in Nebraska, Claude Wheeler. The writing is beautiful, but the plot – by today’s standards – is hum-drum. The twist is that Claude manages to grow up, but faces disappointments at every turn. When he is a young man, he is sent to a religious college when he wanted to go to the State College in Lincoln. He felt that the preacher-teachers wer...more
Daniel Villines
One of our Ours seems to be perceived as just another World War I novel but the truth is that the war is one of many settings in this novel that are used by Cather to tell a humanistic story. The book brings to life the beliefs of humans, the realities formed out of these beliefs, and their consequences. Specifically, she focuses on the people of small towns in rural America and one young adult who is in search of who he should become while living in a sea of strong-minded family and friends. Wh...more
Karen Hagerman
I can't possibly give Willa Cather anything less than 5 stars, although this wasn't my absolute favorite of hers. The first half, which takes place on the prairies and farms of Nebraska, is achingly beautiful and the main character, Claude Wheeler, will stay with me for a long time. I so sympathized with his general frustration - his desire to make more of himself, his disappointment in his frigid but efficient wife, his distaste for his father and his deep but unstated love for his mother. I co...more
Heather Mize

Willa Cather remains one of the best female American authors. For her lesser known "One of Ours" she won a pulizter in 1923. She wrote this book after visiting the grave of a cousin who died in WWI. Cather's book starts on the Nebraska prarie, the backdrop of her own childhood.
Cather's writing in One of Ours is accessible, something she is known for, even if it's a smidge less accessible than O!Pioneers, or My Antonia. She continues to write using imagery, and a love of the natural world contin...more

One of Ours is not my favorite Willa Cather novel., but it's very good. Good enough to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1923. Claude Wheeler is a young man with, seemingly, everything. Well respected parents who own a good Nebraska farm that will someday belong to Claude, and he has a new wife. But Claude has bigger dreams that can't be fulfilled in this setting. His parent's are indifferent to his dreams, and his wife is only interested in her church and mission work. Then World War I come...more
Chris Wolak
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I liked One of Ours very much, but it was not my favorite Cather novel. The book contains many of the familiar themes for which I love Willa Cather. She is easily my favorite author, and I wanted to write down some general thoughts I have about her.

I enjoy thinking about our country - the land and its people, on the frontier and as the country was developing. Ms. Cather with her deft craftsmanship is able to transport me there. And with little imagination required, I feel as if I'm able to 'see'...more
While I have read (and loved) several of Cather's books in the past (which, incidentally, I enjoyed more than this one), this was the first time I kept being reminded of Pearl S. Buck's writing and the similarities between the two. Both have an ability to write as anthropologists, with keen, insightful observation that brings a culture, environment and lifestyle to life. Both are able to fully depict a person's character and motivations in a complete three-dimensional way.

As with Buck, the plot/...more
The work really is divided in two-- Nebraska and the Great War/France. Part one is much better than the second and very familiar for those who have read other Cather. She is a genius at bringing to life the American West myth, reality, scenery, and character. The main character, Claude, is a fascinating character of the tragic kind; a representation of one wanting so much, but having no idea what that is or how to get it-- something that seems so American to me. The clarity, simplicity and passi...more
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How does OOO compare with Farewell to Arms? 2 7 Jun 03, 2014 09:58AM  
Wither Enid? 1 3 Sep 02, 2013 07:08PM  
Read by Theme: One of Ours 1 22 Apr 21, 2013 05:13AM  
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Wilella Sibert Cather is an eminent author from the United States. She is perhaps best known for her depictions of U.S. life in novels such as O Pioneers!, My Ántonia, and Death Comes for the Archbishop.

More about Willa Cather...
My Ántonia O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy, #1) Death Comes for the Archbishop The Song of the Lark The Professor's House

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“Life was so short that it meant nothing at all unless it were continually reinforced by something that endured; unless the shadows of individual existence came and went against a background that held together.” 8 likes
“Women ought to be religious; faith was the natural fragrance of their minds. The more incredible the things they believed, the more lovely was the act of belief. To him the story of "Paradise Lost" was as mythical as the "Odyssey"; yet when his mother read it aloud to him, it was not only beautiful but true. A woman who didn't have holy thoughts about mysterious things far away would be prosaic and commonplace, like a man.” 4 likes
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