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One Man's Meat

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,520 ratings  ·  183 reviews
Too personal for an almanac, too sophisticated for a domestic history,
and too funny and self-doubting for a literary journal, One Man's Meat
can best be described as a primer of a countryman's lessons a timeless
recounting of experience that will never go out of style.
Paperback, 296 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Tilbury House Publishers (first published 1942)
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  1,520 ratings  ·  183 reviews

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Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you desire twists and turns and cheap thrills in your reading, then this is not the ride for you.

These are Mr. White's ruminations from a pre-American involvement of WWII, up until December of 1942.

They are quiet; they are sublime. They are not to be rushed. In fact, I found myself at the end of each essay in a sort of hushed awe. I rarely wanted to read more than one per night. They're too precious.

If you don't know Andy (the beloved Mr. White's nickname), I can't recommend him more. At a
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
E. B. White, didn't just write Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. He wrote this, and it too is excellent. He is one of those few authors who write equally well for both children and adults.

In 1938 he left NYC, picked up his wife and young son Joel and moved to a saltwater farm in Maine. He became a farmer while at the same time writing as a columnist for Harpers. Both he and his wife also continued their respective jobs at New Yorker! E.B., that is Elwyn Brooks (1899 – 1985), had been working t
Betsy Robinson
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One Man’s Meat by E. B. White

This house, this house now held in Sunday’s fearful grip, is a hundred and twenty years old. I am wondering what Sabbaths it has known. Here where I sit, grandfather H. used to sit, they tell me—always right here. He would be surprised were he here this morning to note that the seams in the floor have opened wide from the dry heat of the furnace, revealing the accumulation of a century of dust and crumbs and trouble and giving quite a good view of the cellar. (46)

If ever I was to meet my soul-mate in book form, I believe it would be E.B. White's One Man's Meat. While reading this collection of his essays written between 1938 and 1943, I was continually struck by how White's personal recountings of his daily life and thoughts could be so applicable to me, a 59-year-old woman living her life 70 plus years later. White writes with thoughtfulness, insight, wit, and humor about roofing his barn while war looms, bringing a cow home after his personal probation ...more
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, essays
One Man’s Meat is a collection of essays written by White in the late 1930s and early 1940s. White interjects world politics, children’s literature and farming in to this eclectic series of essays that have an eternal quality to them. White’s ability to blend several topics into one coherent essay is humbling to this writer. I was very fascinated by the way White intertwined the completely mundane with the overwhelming world, here is just one example:

“While the old wars rage and the new ones han
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This collection of essays is such a fine book; it deserves a much better commentary than it currently has here. And given the times we live in, its subject matter is particularly timely for American readers -- the period of history leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the early years of the war effort -- all told from the point of view of a thoughtful writer on a small farm in Maine.

White had moved there with his wife and young son from New York, where he'd been writing for The New Yorke
David West
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A very unique collection of essays. Some were just so so, but there were some moments of literary brilliance. The subjects range from thoughts on world affairs to raising chickens and the design of automobiles.
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, lp2000s
The essays of E. B. White in his delightful collection, One Man's Meat, represent a style of writing that is very welcoming to the reader. I found myself laughing out loud at his subtle humor and, while some in our Thursday night book group found the book somewhat superficial, I found a connection that suggested deeper thoughts. Written in the late 30's and early 40s during the approach of and beginning of World War II, White's essays comment on the world around him and chronicle his life on a f ...more
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Simply put this is one of my favorite books of all time. I was sad to get to the end. I love to read essays, love to write essays, but this is more than just about reading someone who is a master of the format. Somehow, this collection of incredibly funny, sweet, personal and very masculine stories is put together in such a way (either by editing or by their own natural chronological order) that they form a story of his life just before and during the start of WWII. He comes alive in these pages ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just love to read EB White's essays and this collection was especially enjoyable. These essays were written between 1938 and 1943 and gave an idea of what life was like in rural America during the early years of the war. My dad grew up on a small farm in upstate NY and so many of these essays reminded me of stories my dad would tell about this time. This is a book I will dip into and read over and over again.
Christine Boyer
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Hmmm. I thought I would love this as I loved Here Is New York, but for some reason I didn't. This was a collection of essays, some were good, some were not. I found his writing to be somewhat circuitous and hard to follow. Also, I must say I was a little put off. I never like that sort of city boy discovers country boys are smarter than they look theme. It was supposed to be self-effacing, but it came off as arrogant. Not only is that kind of message insulting to the "country bumpkin" but it is ...more
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
1968 was the worst year ever. MLK and RFK. Riots. Viet Nam. An unrelentingly bad outlook for a mostly clueless college junior turning 21 that summer and thinking a lot about what sort of world he would be graduating into the following year (a much better year!). Drugs and beer brought no relief that summer of '68, only heightened paranoia and deeper depression. Books and music saved me. Among these was E.B.White's "One Man's Meat." A celebration of life. Natural peacefulness. Great writing. I'd ...more
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: format-paper
I am a huge fan of E.B. White's essays. This collection, all written in the late 1930's and very early 40's, is often a time capsule from small-town American life in the early years of WWII - certainly not simpler or easier times, but maybe kinder and less complicated. White writes beautifully; he has a wonderful eye (and ear) for details. Truly, he's a pleasure to read. and savor. I can't remember the last time I spent four months on a book (although I probably read the last half of it in a wee ...more
Jef Sneider
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book. I think of E.B. White every time I straighten a rug. He found himself wandering around his apartment doing just that when he decided to head out to the country to try a different type of life. Good idea for him, but I still straighten rugs all the time.
Courtney Johnston
Dec 12, 2010 rated it liked it
A deeply perplexing long-short little book. I kept putting it down and then it would worry away at the edge of mind mind, so, in a dogged mood, I finished off, letting myself skip and skim a few of the many essays.

'One Man's Meat' is a anthology of columns written under that name by White for 'Harper's Magazine' (plus three essays written for the New Yorker) between July 1938 and January 1943.

As White writes in his introduction:

'One Man's Meat' is, as the title suggests, a personal record. It is
Eric Mueller
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
E. B. White is a master essayist and this collection did a great job at reminding me that. His Collected Essays is one of my favorite books of all time and this one offers more essays, shorter essays, and moves across time rather than subjected. Most essays take place during the 1930s and 1940s, and it's really interesting to see his takes on life back then. From living on a farm and Maine (not one making living in Maine seem more appealing) to his thoughts about US involvement prior and during ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After Essays of E.B. White, I couldn't stop. I needed more. I picked up One Man's Meat because it sounded interesting. And it was. The book collects a column that White wrote for Harper's in the early 1940s. Many of the articles are about life on his farm, and I enjoyed those the most. I like the subtle humor that comes across in these pieces. I like the voice he's created, and I admire the compactness of thought that makes his writing crisp.

If nothing else, reading these essays has put in my mi
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the first part of the book there is a sentence or so in each essay that is jarringly dated and callous--such as when he complains about the cost of grain because Germany is invading France. On the other hand, these passages reveal the isolationism and blase attitude so prevalent in the U.S. at the time. Other than the historical context issues, most of these essays were a delight.
Daniel Frank
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
review forthcoming
EB White is observant, wise, and funny, yet unpretentious.
Larry Putt
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent book by E.B. White. The book deals, for the most part, with White's daily adventures on his farm in Maine. I love listening to the voice of White as he describes the birth of lambs, coon hunting, the misadventures of his dogs, etc. One truly feels that White has invited you into his home and his life. A collection of essays, White's writing is warm and homespun, while demanding some rumination by the reader, at least this reader, at the conclusion of each essay.
Jan 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Read this book of essays as part of my reading through the serendipitous secondhand reading room I had access to in Africa during 2008. Loved this book. It's essays by EB White, who left NYC to go live on a farm up in Maine. He writes about the world, about farm life, about what his neighbors do, about his observations and opinions. This book has one of my favorite pieces of writing ever, something White wrote about his dog. It reminded me strongly of a writer friend of mine, in its observationa ...more
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-my-books
One of the few books I tried to read as slowly as possible (only a chapter or two at a time a few times a week) because I wanted it to last as long as it possibly could. This is probably the best essay collection I've ever read and should be an absolute must-read for any aspiring author. Virtually every page has subtly brilliant turns of phrase I only wish I could emulate. Even if you have no desire to write, the glimpse into everyday life in the 30's and 40's is fascinating. My only wish is tha ...more
Ed Cottingham
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This collections contains "Sabbath Morn," my favorite of the many White pieces that I have read. I have never seen religious skepticism so gently, humanely, wittily, and artfully expressed. I might even say that it is nostalgic toward a certain style of religious service as it was commonly broadcast over the radio from many churches on Sunday mornings of times mostly gone-by. As is typical of White, it is nostalgic about a lot of things.
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Only read EB White if you are prepared to ruin yourself for other writers. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but wow could this fellow tell a story. So well written, funny, moving. I marked about 50 different places in the book to reread which tells me that I need to actually purchase a copy. Simply wonderful.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
E.B. White romanticized raising chickens in a way that I know is not true. Chickens are dumb, smelly animals who are loud and eat each other. But damn if I don't want to move to a farm and raise some chickens. Lovely lovely lovely.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An amazing anthology of essays that show how simple, yet hard, life on a 1940’s New England farm could be. Peppered with opinion regarding the advent of WWII and insights into American life, EB White turns descriptions of life on the farm into a collection of folksy of Americana.
Andrea Lechner-Becker
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Can E.B. White be my grandfather? Regardless of his consent, I'm going to start quoting this book in conversation with, "As my grandfather used to say..."

I LOVE every moment, every passage, every single sarcastic and well-written tale in this manuscript. From the old-timey chapters on the cost to raise his chickens to his government-supplied limestone allotment (from President Roosevelt!), this book takes the reader back to the simple country life of WWII-era America as seen by a man who, by hi
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pandemic-reading
I have been reading this book over the winter and then, rereading essays I have bookmarked on nights I have trouble sleeping. First published in 1942, the collection has never been out of print. I am intrigued by that: why do so many find observations about life on a salt farm relevant? My edition was published in 1997 with a forward by his stepson, Roger Angell and an introduction dated May, 1982, by E. B. White. I feel it is a little piece of history that I hold in my hands.

In 1938, E.B.White
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bed-books
Essays first published between 1938 and 1944 interpose musings about war and patriotism with notes on daily farm chores. For example:
The passionate love of Americans for their America will have a lot to do with winning the war. It is an odd thing though: the very patriotism on which we now rely is the thing that must eventually be in part relinquished if the world is ever to find a lasting peace and an end to these butcheries...Yet all the time I know that this very loyalty,
this feeling of bei
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Elwyn Brooks White was a leading American essayist, author, humorist, poet and literary stylist and author of such beloved children's classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine. He authored over seventeen books of prose and poetry and was elected to t ...more

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