O Pioneers!

Cather, Willa

(Book - 1992)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
O Pioneers!
One of America's greatest women writers, Willa Cather established her talent and her reputation with this extraordinary novel--the first of her books set on the Nebraska frontier. A tale of the prairie land encountered by America's Swedish, Czech, Bohemian, and French immigrants, as well as a story of how the land challenged them, changed them, and, in some cases, defeated them, Cather's novel is a uniquely American epic. Alexandra Bergson, a young Swedish immigrant girl who inherits her father's farm and must transform it from raw prairie into a prosperous enterprise, is the first of Cather's great heroines--all of them women of strong will and an even stronger desire to overcome adversity and succeed. But the wild land itself is an equally important character in Cather's books, and her descriptions of it are so evocative, lush, and moving that they provoked writer Rebecca West to say of her: "The most sensuous of writers, Willa Cather builds her imagined world almost as solidly as our five senses build the universe around us." Willa Cather, perhaps more than any other American writer, was able to re-create the real drama of the pioneers, capturing for later generations a time, a place, and a spirit that has become part of our national heritage.

Series that include this title

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1992.
Edition: 1st Vintage classics ed.
ISBN: 0679743626
Characteristics: 159 p. ;,21 cm.


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Jan 13, 2015
  • rwhite29 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is my favorite book of all time.

May 13, 2014
  • Shirleynature rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I was at least a third of the way in before it finally got interesting, but I’m glad I finished. I bought this book while I was in Kearney, Nebraska viewing the spring migration of sand hill cranes. On the drive home we stopped in Red Cloud and visited the beautiful Willa Cather Memorial Prairie.

May 18, 2011
  • hermlou rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Cather published this book in 1913, so it is a true picture of Nebraska at that time. Pioneers had a lot of trials from injury, disease, and crop failure, and Cather tells it all honestly. Alexandra is the oldest of her family and has an ability to manage the farm, which her brothers contribute to with manual labor. I enjoyed Cather's lyric descriptions of the land and her references to baseball and law school in Ann Arbor. Most of all I liked the fact that this was not written in 2011 about 1913, with possible anachronisms.


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Alexandra Bergson's devotion to the land turns an empty prairie into a prosperous farm.


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