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One of Ours

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  6,892 ratings  ·  623 reviews
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 rejected by a wife who reserves her ardor for missionary work, and dissatisfied with farming, C ...more
Paperback, First Vintage Classics Edition, 371 pages
Published February 9th 1991 by Vintage Classics (first published 1922)
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John Freeman I was surprised too that she won for that and not her Great Plains trilogy. Almost as surprised as when I found out that Edna Ferber won for "So Big" …moreI was surprised too that she won for that and not her Great Plains trilogy. Almost as surprised as when I found out that Edna Ferber won for "So Big" when her other books, "Show Boat" or "Cimarron" were clearly better...in my opinion.(less)

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  6,892 ratings  ·  623 reviews


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Jaline
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is fascinating for many reasons. Published in 1922, Willa Cather won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 – and it was well-deserved.

One of the fascinations for me is that people are people are people. Although there was a gentler and more polite tone within and between people, they still had the same thoughts and feelings and wonderings as people in our current times.

Willa Cather’s writing has a way of discovering the inner depths of people and through their thoughts and impressions, we feel t
...more
Duane
Winner of 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 comes along, and Claude sees this as his opportunity to do something meaningful with ...more
Cheryl
"Ruin and new birth; the shudder of ugly things in the past, the trembling image of beautiful ones on the horizon; finding and losing; that was life, he saw." A mother's love for a distressed son. A son's love for his emotionally-abused and pious mother. A young man pondering life and what it has to offer. A war that has to be fought. A protagonist who feels the pull of duty to a war that summons American lives. If this is not a book about the inner turmoils of war and one's psychological ba ...more
Whitney Atkinson
I'm crying as I write this review??? And it was a book for class????

This book is set during World War I, but the first half of this book talks about the main character's life at home and how he feels discontent with working on the farm and discontent with the marriage he fell into and discontent with living a life that was meaningless. I thought his inner struggle was so compelling and even somewhat relatable, and I adored his personality as well.

The latter half of this book is when he is deploy
...more
Meredith Holley
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Derrick Jensen
Recommended to Meredith 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
Chrissie
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“He is convinced that the people who might mean something to him will always misjudge him and pass him by. He is not so much afraid of loneliness as he is of accepting cheap substitutes; of making excuses to himself for a teacher who flatters him, of waking up some morning to find himself admiring a girl merely because she is accessible. He has a dread of easy compromises, and he is terribly afraid of being fooled.”

This is a quote taken from the story. It describes the central protagonist—Claude
...more
Daniel Chaikin
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The 1923 Pulitzer doesn't exactly stand out from Cather's other works, but there are some things she does more intensely here than anywhere else. She slows the story down, relying more on her storytelling mastery, and she brings in critical research and eye-witness interviews.

This is a World War I book, and Cather is quoted as hating that classification. But it's here she takes us to France, into the trenches and so on. Inspired by a close neighbor who was a casualty of war, Cather, the one tim
...more
Scott Axsom
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of Ours is another in a long line of beautiful works by Willa Cather, and the one she won a Pulitzer for. If you’re a Cather fan already, well, you’re used to her stories generally going not much of any place in particular. If you’re new to her work, prepare for a languorous, yet profound, journey through the lives of remarkably ordinary people. One of Ours hews to her style of magnificently in-depth characterizations and elegiac descriptions of the early twentieth century American West.

This
...more
Sara
3.5 stars, rounded up.

The first half of this novel is Willa Cather in her element. She knows the plains and its people, and as long as Claude was on the farm and in his small town, I found each word true and compelling. The second half of the novel, which takes place in France during WWI, does not ring as true and loses its grip on the characters somewhat. The horrors of the trenches of WWI are well-known and any idea that a man could feel happy to be there seems far-fetched. Happy to go, yes, h
...more
Jon
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sketchbook
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Who's the GREAT American writer ? Not Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wharton, Faulkner. Here she is : Willa Cather.
Sidharth Vardhan
At one point, an army officer thinks about scolding his soldiers for mixing with French women who had been living in a territory just freed from Germans but decides not to because it would be like scolding birds. You could basically say the same about reviewing Cather. There is no defining why exactly I love her writing so much. You could say she writes about Prairies or rural life so beautifully and you could say, about this particular book, that she created a magnification character in Claude ...more
Ensiform
Oct 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, war
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
Joe
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to
Willa Cather has been one of my favorite authors since I was a kid. I'm a Nebraskan, it's a law that we love Willa. I picked this one up at the library without knowing much about and was quite pleased with what I found. "One of Ours" is the story of Claude Wheeler, a small town boy at the turn of the century. The first half of the book moves at a deliberate pace and shows how Claude became the man he would ultimately be. The second half is all about Claude's time fighting in WWI. Cather does a f ...more
Nathan
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Nebraska half of the novel is good. I just couldn't get behind what Cather had to say about the experience of war once Claude goes to France. I have no doubt that many, many wonderful people find a home and a meaningful life in the military. I just struggle with the message that World War I trench combat made anyone's life whole. I've never been a soldier and I've never been in a war, but I've read the stories of many talented writers who've lived that experience and this story didn't ring t ...more
Dawn Michelle
I love Cather so much. Her writing is so pure and lyrical and really takes to the heart of wherever she is writing about; you feel what the people in the story are feeling and what they are seeing etc. This book is no exception. So well written, so heartbreaking on so many levels; I totally see how this won the Pulitzer - it is so worthy of that prize. A MUST read for any Cather fan.
Dan
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer-fiction, wwi
I started out liking Claude Wheeler, the young man from Lincoln Nebraska who is at the center of this novel. Claude gives up his dreams when his father convinces him to take over the lucrative family farm. Claude soon finds himself drafted into WWI. But as the novel moved apace, I became disinterested. I didn’t feel that when the story transitioned away from the farm that it was authentic any longer.

This novel was written in 1922 shortly after the war ended and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
...more
☕Laura
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
Elizabeth A.G.
Beautifully descriptive writing that brings an emotional, almost spiritual, appreciation of nature, family, friends, and particularly of the search for purpose in life that is meaningful. The characters are presented realistically human in their faults and strengths while Cather remains nonjudgmental, allowing the reader to decide their own attitudes toward them. I particularly liked the character of the cook and housekeeper Mahailey who was devoted to the Wheeler family and in particular to Cla ...more
Susan
I have always enjoyed stories about how people lived years ago, and this one certainly didn't disappoint me, giving a great insight into not only the everyday practicalities of living at this time, but also looking closely at the characters themselves, thier hopes, fears and personalities.
I've read many books about The First World War, but never from the perspective of American Servicemen travelling so far to fight a war which must have seemed so remote and distant, especially when you consider
...more
Nicky
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5*
Unfortunately while this is Willa Cather’s pulitzer prize winning novel, it is the first of her’s I have read and it will not be making me reach for another anytime soon.
The first half of this book set in Nebraska was much stronger than second part in the midst of WW1, which was not very convincingly portrayed. I think this is one of the most sedate depiction's of WW1 I have read until the last 10 pages.
Katy
Worthy of the Pulitzer. Wonderful writing that brings the reader to Nebraska and then France during WWI. A sad and touching coming of age story.
Rachel
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Shawn
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Ours - Willa Cather was given the Pulitzer Prize for this book in 1923, although, in my humble opinion, it is not her best work. The story follows Claude Wheeler, a thoughtful yet inexplicably restless son of a Nebraska farmer, through his early adulthood and into the trenches of World War One. The book is unique among Cather’s works as it was considered by her contemporaries as a “war novel”. Claude is a second generation Nebraska and, as such, he comes of age twenty or twenty-five years ...more
Christopher Sutch
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Devyn Duffy
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Ron
Pulitzer Prize winner or not, I almost quit during the first fifty pages. The opening is a dreadful bore. By modern standards, Cather commits almost every storytelling gaff. Even by 1922 standards, she should have compressed the first half of her story into half the space.

The story really begins when the Great War intrudes on the life of rural America. The protagonist breaks his provincial shell and enters the greater world. His life--and the story--begins as he sails past the Statue of Liberty
...more
Carol Douglas
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many people who read Willa Cather's books like My Antonia and Death Comes to the Archbishop don't know that she wrote a book about World War I, One of Ours, or that that book won the Pulitzer Prize. I finally read the book and like it as well as anything else she wrote.
One of Ours is the story of a Nebraska farm boy who is by far the brightest in his family but whose attempts to expand intellectually are shot down again and again.
Cather describes Nebraska, and indeed every place, wonderfully
...more
Angie (Bussen) Siedell
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
Ann
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing to discover a Cather work written in 1922 and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 - over 90 years ago - and have it thoroughly embrace you as though it were recently written. I was totally drawn in. Felt it was as much the story of a young man's growing up and early adult years in Nebraska, as it was a tale of the Great War, World War I. Loved it. Recommend.
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Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley (Gore), Virginia, in December 7, 1873.

She grew up in Virginia and Nebraska. She then attended the University of Nebraska, initially planning to become a physician, but after writing an article for the Nebraska State Journal, she became a regular contributor to this journal. Because of this, she changed her major and graduated with a bachelor's d
...more

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