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O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  37,190 Ratings  ·  2,394 Reviews
O Pioneers! is a 1913 novel by American author Willa Cather. It was written in part when Cather was living in Cherry Valley, New York, with Isabelle McClung and was completed at the McClungs' home in Pittsburgh. The book is number 83 on the American Library Association's list of most frequently banned or challenged books.

O Pioneers! tells the story of the Bergsons, a fami
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Kindle Edition, 206 pages
Published (first published 1913)
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Cecily

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I was entranced by the Nebraska prairie and a wonderful leading woman, living a century ago: a time and place I have never been, but which leaped from the pages, with simple craftsmanship, to sculpt the landscape of my mind’s eye, as Alexandra transformed both her fields and the lives of those around her.

The final thirteen pages felt written by or about a different person, not the author and protagonist I thought I knew.

Prairie Spring

The novel opens with a poem contrasting the harsh landscape w
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Henry Avila
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alexandra Bergson, at a young age , has to take care of her family and farm, in Nebraska, with the untimely death of their father John, he wished his oldest child ( and smartest ), to guide the poor immigrants from Sweden in the 1880's, everyone agrees at first, struggling on the harsh prairie, are also brothers Lou, Oscar and five year old Emil, her pet, the mother knows little about farming... An endless drought soon after begins , the Sun baking the soil , the crops withering for lack of rain ...more
Meredith
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Meredith by: sadly, I think no one did
Alexandra looked at him mournfully. “I try to be more liberal about such things than I used to be. I try to realize that we are not all made alike.”

Everything in O Pioneers! is beauty to me. I am so in love with this book. Maybe it is because I have it in my brain that pioneers by definition suck that Willa Cather always catches me by surprise and turns me upside down. It’s like walking through an alien landscape and then running into my best friend. I thought what I would find was Michael Lando
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Jaline
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2017-completed
Can we even imagine what it was like for the early homesteaders and pioneers, arriving (most likely) from somewhere in Europe in a last-ditch effort to make something out of nothing? There it is before them – a vast, lonely, rolling plain of earth meeting a vast, lonely, infinite sky. Where does one even begin?

In this novel, Willa Cather takes us on a journey where we see exactly where it begins – with sod huts or log cabins or some form of shelter. Then comes the dawn to dark labour of breaking
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Diane
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman."

I don't know why I haven't read this before -- it seems like the kind of novel I should have been assigned in 9th grade -- but I'm glad I read it as an adult because I wouldn't have appreciated it as much when I was younger. I am from the Midwest and my grandparents were farmers, and I loved Willa Cather's stories about what it was like for the pioneers in Nebraska. I liked Cather's spare writing style; she gives just the rig
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Margitte
Once again, a second time, I was at the mercy of Willa Cather's writing, and closed this book with a feeling of accomplishment: as a reader as well as a human being.

In my world, more than a century after this novel was written, we still battle nature on a daily basis and we are aware that nature will return the moment we leave this little piece of earth for a respite. With seed, roots and rain, the stories of ages of human history will be covered in an instant, wiped away as though we never walk
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Cheryl
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, america
Isn't it queer: there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before; like the larks in this country, that have been singing the same five notes over for thousands of years.

If you've read Willa Cather's famous My Antonia, you're already aware of the Bohemian community, those farming pioneers of the American frontier she writes about. The young Swede protagonist of this novel, Alexandra Bergson, is familiar; she grows up
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Duane
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gets high marks from the critics, and One of Ours won the Pulitzer Prize, but of all her prairie novels, My Ántoniais my favorite. But they are all well written, all very readable, all worth reading.
Richard Derus
Rating: 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: Set on the Nebraska prairie where Willa Cather (1873–1947) grew up, this powerful early novel tells the story of the young Alexandra Bergson, whose dying father leaves her in charge of the family and of the lands they have struggled to farm. In Alexandra's long flight to survive and succeed, O Pioneers! relates an important chapter in the history of the American frontier.

Evoking the harsh grandeur of the prairie, this landmark of American fiction unfurls
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Jason Koivu
Beginning with simplicity, innocence and hope, Willa Cather runs her pioneers through the ring of fire that is the hallmark of the pioneer's life and only some of them survive.

Perhaps I've made that sound more exciting than O Pioneers! actually is. There are far too many dull scenes in this book for me to call it a perfect classic, but it is a solid addition to American western frontier literature.

Writing from her experiences, Cather populated her novel with Scandinavian immigrants, gave them b
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  • The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories
  • Babbitt
  • Old Jules
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  • Founding America: Documents from the Revolution to the Bill of Rights
  • Night and Day
  • The Moon Pool
  • Sister Carrie
  • The Glimpses of the Moon
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
  • The Awakening and Selected Stories
  • Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway
  • Where Angels Fear to Tread
  • The Robber Bridegroom
  • After All These Years
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Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley (Gore), Virginia, in December 7, 1873. Her novels on frontier life brought her to national recognition. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, One of Ours (1922), set during World War I. She grew up in Virginia and Nebraska. She then attended the University of Nebraska, initially planning to become a physician, but after writin ...more
More about Willa Cather...

Other Books in the Series

Great Plains Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Song of the Lark (Great Plains Trilogy, #2)
  • My Ántonia (Great Plains Trilogy, #3)
“Isn’t it queer: there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before; like the larks in this country, that have been singing the same five notes over for thousands of years.” 122 likes
“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. I feel as if this tree knows everything I ever think of when I sit here. When I come back to it, I never have to remind it of anything; I begin just where I left off.” 99 likes
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