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One of Ours

Willa Sibert Cather

Book Overview: 

This work had been inspired by reading her cousin G.P. Cather’s wartime letters home to his mother. He was the first officer from Nebraska killed in World War I. Claude Wheeler, the subject of the novel, is a young man growing up on a Nebraska farm. The son of well to do parents, Claude is troubled by his apparent inability to find purpose with his life. Everything he does seems to turn out wrong, at least in his own mind. Although he is a skilled farmer, Claude believes his destiny lies elsewhere. While attending a church-affiliated college his parents have selected for him, he befriends a German family (the Ehrlichs’) who open his eyes to other possibilities in life.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Claude to read aloud to her. Bayliss had never been bookish. Even before he could read, when his mother told him stories, he at once began to prove to her how they could not possibly be true. Later he found arithmetic and geography more interesting than "Robinson Crusoe." If he sat down with a book, he wanted to feel that he was learning something. His mother and Claude were always talking over his head about the people in books and stories.

Though Bayliss had a sentimental feeling about coming home, he considered that he had had a lonely boyhood. At the country school he had not been happy; he was the boy who always got the answers to the test problems when the others didn't, and he kept his arithmetic papers buttoned up in the inside pocket of his little jacket until he modestly handed them to the teacher, never giving a neighbour the benefit of his cleverness. Leonard Dawson and other lusty lads of his own age made life as terrifying for him as they could. In wi. . . Read More

Community Reviews

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

Published in 1922, One of Ours by Willa Cather won the 1923 Putlizer Prize for the Novel. It carried Cather’s fine prose, especially when the object was the Nebraska landscape and life on the prairie. However, this story dominated by the atrocities of World War 1 and its significance to the protagon

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 fascina

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

“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

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 wit

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 s

I didn't enjoy this book as much as My Ántonia and O Pioneers!. Willa Cather's writing about farm life, etc. is beautifully done but this story was very slow and somewhat boring to me. I'll definitely read more by her but for me, this book wasn't her best.

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 r

"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 ha

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