O Pioneers!, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


'For the first time, perhaps, since that land emerged from the waters of geologic ages, a human face was set toward it with love and yearning. It seemed beautiful to her, rich and strong and glorious.' Willa Cather's second novel, O Pioneers! (1913) tells the story of Alexandra Bergson and her determination to save her immigrant family's Nebraska farm. Clear-headed and fiercely independent, Alexandra's passionate faith in the prairie makes her a wealthy landowner.

By placing a strong, self-reliant woman at the centre of her tale, Cather gives the quintessentially American novel of the soil a radical cast. Yet, although influenced by the democratic utopianism of Walt Whitman and the serene regionalism of Sarah Orne Jewett, O Pioneers! is more than merely an elegy for the lost glories of America's pioneer past. In its rage for order and efficiency, the novel testifies to the cultural politics of the Progressive Era, the period of massive social and economic transformations that helped to modernize the United States in the years between the Civil War and World War. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe.

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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

Last year I read My Antonia and absolutely loved it and vowed to read more Willa Cather, her writing is so straight forward and real she is such a true talent. There is nothing flashy in this book it is just the story of a family, how they get through the day, and the hardships they go through. I liked that the head of the family was the daughter and not the sons that the father was forward thinking enough that he left the farm to his daughter and left her in charge. Then when the brothers decide they don’t like this arraignment oh they made me mad! Poor Marie and Emil, and the aftermath for Alexandra and the life not lived. One thing about Willa Cather not everyone gets a happy ending and I like that because it is true to life not everyone gets a happy ending!I will end here there are plenty of reviews for this book so I will just say if you like a simple story of life told beautifully try Willa Cather.4 Stars

Review by

I loved this story of such a strong woman and the beautiful descriptions of prairie life. Although, the end was heartbreaking.

Review by

This is a great little novel about the plight of the immigrant farmers in Nebraska toward the end of the 19th century. I liked that the main protagonist was a woman, and a strong woman of course, who was given responsibility of managing the homestead by her dying father and used this advantage to realize her vision. It's very placid going for the first half and very pleasant as such, but the dramatic elements come in during the second half and move the story along in ways one would not at all have expected from what came before. Very well done. Makes me want to read more work by Willa Cather, and while I liked this novel very much, in the end I can't say it really moved me. Perhaps this has something to do with the ending and the moralistic attitude taken by the characters of the after a tragic outcome, which I hope was not the stance taken by the author as well.

Review by

A realist tale of Swedish immigrants living on the Nebraskan plains, their lives, and their hardships, Cather expertly paints a vivid, natural picture of pioneer life, not one embellished, but one fully developed. Truly captures the spirit of pioneer life.

Review by

I loved this book . The landscape is such a feature, a thing of beauty and threat and the promise of hard work. The way of life is portrayed brilliantly, a unique subgroup of Swedish immigrants to the US , their language, culture, habits of dress and food, all fascinating . The role of women is shown through their work, family and personal relationship ships.a very powerful, moving novel.

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