Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When All the World Was Young” as Want to Read:
When All the World Was Young
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When All the World Was Young

(Porter Osborne Jr. #3)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,300 ratings  ·  54 reviews
The year is 1942 and Porter Osborne, Jr., is safely ensconced in medical school. He is physically safe, although taunted by the beckoning finger of Uncle Sam. Haunted by the family motto, "Remember who you are, " Porter wrestles with a flood of conflicting emotions. A year later, the conflicts still unresolved, he is an elisted man in the U.S. Army. In the face of incompre ...more
Hardcover, 610 pages
Published December 26th 2001 by Longstreet Press (first published January 1st 1991)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about When All the World Was Young, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about When All the World Was Young

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,300 ratings  ·  54 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of When All the World Was Young
Jun 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This trilogy is underrated. Porter Osbourne should go down as one of the classic characters not just in Southern Lit, but in literature in general.

The first book is as a good a rumination on adolescent male sexuality as Roth's "Portnoy's Complaint," and also examines race relations and generational distance in the agrarian early-20th century South. The second find Porter disillusioned with life and medical school, as well as losing his virginity to the unforgettable Vashti. The third sees him g
George Bradford
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to George Bradford by: Scott
Shelves: truth, southern-man
When All the World Was Young opens with Porter Osborne, Jr. in Atlanta's Druid Hills. Before him stands Emory University's Gate and Glenn Memorial Methodist Church (a drawing of which is on the cover of the book).

It is June of 1942. Porter is starting at Emory's School of Medicine in pursuit of his life long ambition to be a physician in his hometown of Brewtonton, Georgia. But the war raging in Europe and the Pacific overwhelm his thoughts and emotions.

After a grueling first year of medical sc
Scott Thompson
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books you can’t put down. You know, one of those books you stay up late to read and get up early to read again. As a Southerner I can relate to some of the things he talks about and I’m familiar with many of the places he writes about in the parts of the book where he’s still in Georgia. Many things have changed since those times but I have heard stories that are so much like what he writes that I feel like I’m hearing stories from a beloved uncle or grandparent and not just ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sams sends Porter Osborne, Jr. to medical school, but Porter has other things in mind. Set during the early 1940s, after Pearl Harbor, Sams gives readers a taste of what young men must have felt when their country went to war against Germany and Japan. Interestingly, Sams sends a little of the South with Porter as he goes to basic training in Illinois and to the European theater. The author gives a clear relevance to the Christmas song "I'll Be Home for Christmas," which has changed the way I he ...more
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This final book of the trilogy is all about Porter Osborne's experience in medical school and the medical/surgical units in Europe in the last couple of years of WWII. Porter breaks a number of the ten commandments during this time and does a lot of soul searching. He meets very few doctors worth emulating and questions his own career choice to continue in medicine. He also questions his religious convictions as he grows to have a deeper understanding of what drives those around him and who is d ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Our story begins in 1942. Porter is struggling with his conscience. He is in med school while other young men his age are fighting in the war. This story is filled with pranks that will make you gasp and laugh out loud at the same time. If you are reading the after reading Run with the Horsemen and The Whisper of the River, you have watched Porter Osborn grow up. The Porter Osborne we see at the end of the trilogy is not the same person the entered college at 16. He is a young man who will find ...more
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This last of the Porter Osborne, Jr. trilogy was immensely satisfying. It chronicled Porter's stint in medical school and in WW2, and was written with the same heartfelt sass and real life hokes and heartaches as the other ones. I loved this series and couldn't put it down! ...more
Joe Hampton
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sams is a wonderful story teller that will have you laughing one moment, thinking the next, and tearing up the next.
Chris Myers
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My second favorite book ever.
Brenda Meshejian
Gripping story. Could not put it down!

Well, I definitely will be reading more Ferrell Sams.
He is a brilliant story teller and wordsmith. I have even learned a little French. Loved this book and will pass it on to friends.
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where to start? The third book about Porter Osborne, I believe was written with a gap between it and the first two. Its tone is quite different, dealing with Porter's experiences in med. school and during WWII. My daughter-in-law hated the first book but really enjoyed this one (I think she missed the second entirely); I enjoyed the portayal of rural life in Georgia in the first, enjoyed the character developing during the second book and still need to digest a lot of this one, as it is big book ...more
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was my least favorite book of the trilogy (dealing, as it did, with more weighty topics than farm life, sex and education) but it still merited at least four stars. It took me quite a bit longer to get through this one--I put it down for a few months before picking it back up again in fact. In this book, Sambo goes to war and truly grows up. There are even more characters to try to track in this one, and in my opinion some loose ends that don't get resolved (c'est la guerre, right?)

The humo
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is for sure one of the most underrated books.It's a halarious and emotional journey of Porter Osbourne and his search for personal identity through a very tulmultious time in America. It is the beginning of WW11 and Porter has to decide between pleasing his dad, who is his hero, by staying in medical school, or pleasing himself and joining the army. The social presures of the times where joining the armed forces was the way to go and rejecting that was un-American weighed in on Porter as we ...more
Margaret Elder
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Porter Osborn grows up in this last volume of the trilogy. His initiation rites occur with his participation in World War II. This is a well written book, punctuated with poetry and profanity and profiles of characters who collectively represent the American Medical Corps in the European Theatre after D Day until the war's end. In the end he is a wiser individual who has decided to use his negative opinions of others to make himself a more positive person. Sams' writing style is excellent. His i ...more
May 13, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: shockingly-bad
I finally broke down and decided to read the final book in teh Ferrol Sams trilogy. My mom has been praising it for years, but something made me shy away from it.

Well. I hated it. I couldn't even finished it. Maybe it's because I was primed to not like it as much as the first two, but it was so far from satisfying. The story dragged. I couldn't even finish it. Halfway through I had a terrible feeling that it would NEVER BE OVER. So I turned to the back and read the last sentence. Then - it was f
Karen Nelson
Jun 02, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm not sure what this books rating will be yet. I like the characters, but the beginning is centered on war and medical school - two things I find yucky - so we'll have to see once I get past med school.

Finished the book. Sams is a great writer, extremely detailed. I don't like medicine or war so there are things I like and things I don't. Unless you are squeamish, you will probably enjoy Sams.
David Ward
Jan 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
When All the World Was Young (Run With the Horsemen #3) by Ferroll Sams (Penguin 1991) (Fiction). This is the final set of adventures chronicling the life of Porter Osborne Jr. as he survives medical school, the Second World War, and parenthood. This is the concluding book in this wonderful trilogy of what it was like to be "a boy who was raised right" in the South in the twentieth century. My rating: 7/10, finished 1992. ...more
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Edit May 23rd, 2013: My sweet friend Honey passed away on April 21st. I was blessed to read with her on Fridays for about seven years and I will miss her very much. This was the last book we finished together and it was a very good read.

Reading this one to Miz Honey. I'll be sorry to finish this trilogy for the second time! It does such a good job of loving the South without ignoring its flaws or the way we were treated after the war.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
WHEN ALL THE world was Young

Love reading Sam's . he keeps you interested most of the time. However this book became draggy at times unlike Downtown which I found to be so interesting I could hardly put it aside for a minute. I have introduced Sam's books to a family member in Ohio and she has bought this one already. I am sorry that Whisper of the River and Run With the Horsemen is not on Kindle reader.
Somewhere I saw a review that said, "this trilogy is underrated". I heartily agree. I am very sad to say goodbye to Porter Osbourne Jr. after following him through country grammar school, small-town high school, and small religious college to medical school and service as a medical tech in World War II. He remained throughout a unique individual. Part country boy, part southern hick, part intellectual, part Baptist bible-thumper, but an allover likeable character. ...more
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
The last of his special series and probably lacks some of the magic of the first two. Sams tries to convey a more difficult time and perhaps a more private time that doesn't have the universal connection that you can find in the first two -- but it's a necessary wrap up to one of the most special characters you will remember. ...more
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Definitely the darkest of the three books, but I also found it to be the most real. We really get to see Porter Jr. grow up and confront the world while still managing to maintain an element of that mischievousness and innocence that we remember oh-so-well from the first two books.

Great series. I'm really glad I read them all at once.
Marie Powers
Jun 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Still a disappointment compared to the first book in the trilogy. The third book was full of interesting, well-written anecdotes -- most of them likely remembered rather than invented by Sams -- but lacked passion. I never felt as though he let readers inside his thoughts and his ultimate decision to return to medical school and fulfill his goal of becoming a small-town physician.
Ally Martin
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Such a wonderful book (wonderful trilogy). I tried to savor this book as much as possible because I didn't want it to end. Sams is such an excellent writer, and his stories are compelling, hilarious, moving, and thought-provoking. I felt like I was getting little pearls of wisdom along the way, or thinking about things I had grown up hearing in a new way.

Aug 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
The last of his trilogy which is based on his life, but fiction. Porter purposedly flunks out of medical school so he can join the Army in WW II. He spends the war tending the wounded (and having adventures, of course) in Europe.
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
It took me almost 6 months to get through because I've been very busy. It's about a medical student who gets drafted during WWII, so semi-relevant. It was an interesting read and kept me entertained. ...more
Marguerite Hedrick
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my very favorite books and authors. (Can't remember other titles right now.) Found out after I read his books he's a friend of my oldest friend. Don't know if he's still alive. Would love one more book! ...more
Jan 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
the third book of the trilogy - like this second best. about world war two. a wonderful story teller.
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
See review of Run with the Horsemen.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Cold Sassy Tree
  • Family Inheritance
  • Crimson Phoenix (Victoria Emerson #1)
  • Personal History
  • Yeager: An Autobiography
  • Find The Wind's Eye
  • The Lords of Discipline
  • The Rose Code
  • Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove #1)
  • The Highland Fling Murders (Murder, She Wrote, #8)
  • The Early Spenser (Spenser, #1-3)
  • The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1)
  • When We Were Strangers
  • When We Were Young & Brave
  • The Education of Little Tree
  • Americana: Dispatches from the New Frontier
  • The King's War
  • Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin
See similar books…

Other books in the series

Porter Osborne Jr. (5 books)
  • Run with the Horsemen
  • The Whisper of the River (Porter Osborne Jr, #2)
  • Run with the Horsemen/The Whisper of the River-Boxed Set
  • Ferrol Sams trilogy: Run With the Horsemen; The Whisper of the River; When All the World Was Young

Related Articles

As this strange summer of staying put winds down, one thing remains truer than ever: Books offer us endless adventure and new horizons to...
58 likes · 30 comments