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review 2019-06-24 21:55
Review of The Pioneers by David McCullough
The Pioneers - David McCullough

I enjoyed this read by McCullough but not nearly as much as his earlier works. I actually had the honor of hearing Mr. McCullough give a talk on this book at the Hamilton Congregational church in Massachusetts where Reverend Cutler worked two centuries ago. His talk was inspiring as you would expect (one full hour standing at a podium with no notes - at age 85!), but in terms of the book, it just didn't grab me like many of his others. I did enjoy learning about the frontier settlements but I thought there were too many characters and not enough of a central story. Still worth the read though as he is a great writer and there are still great passages worth the time.

I know there was a lot of criticism of this book because it does not address the Native American history of the Ohio frontier outside of a few very short mentions. That is fair criticism, but in my mind, McCullough has never been about a deep dive into academic history, but has been more about telling a story about great men. With that in mind, I don't view this book as a history of the Ohio frontier or the Northwest Territory as much as a story about a number of individuals who went West at the turn of the century 1800.

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review 2018-08-26 05:41
Love for a wild land
O Pioneers! - Willa Cather

This one tugged at my heart.

 

All of the ingredients did: the hard life on new countries, the stubbornness of immigrants, the strong girl and all the quirky people you may find around her, the small town tragedies.

 

Most of all this love for the land, and the strange, difficult to explain ties one develops to it when you fight it and work it and live it.

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text 2018-08-26 00:36
Reading progress update: I've read 53 out of 176 pages.
O Pioneers! - Willa Cather

This second chapter of part two was the height of sweetness and nostalgia. I mean, I laughed, sure, but not so much for the idiosyncratic customs, which can always be picturesque to say the least, as for how much they reminded me of my my great-great aunts and theirs stories about immigration, life on the farm and reactions to advancements, and being part of the weird family that pushed even the girls to get as much education as they could manage and wanted (hell, my favourite one was an accountant)

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text 2018-08-24 23:55
Reading progress update: I've read 20 out of 176 pages.
O Pioneers! - Willa Cather

She missed the fish diet of her own country, and twice every summer she sent the boys to the river, twenty miles to the southward, to fish for channel cat. When the children were little she used to load them all into the wagon, the baby in its crib, and go fishing herself.
Alexandra often said that if her mother were cast upon a desert island, she would thank God for her deliverance, make a garden, and find something to preserve.

 

Interesting start setting and interesting characters.

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review 2018-02-16 13:26
A short, clean, and sweet romance, with a great setting and characters you’ll love.
Phoebe's Promise (Oregon Sky Series Book 1) - Kay P. Dawson

This is a sweet novella, a clean romance, and what’s more, it’s FREE. I was intrigued by the historical setting (as I had read about the Oregon Trail years back) and by the description of the book. I wondered how the girl pretending to be a boy would work out in such circumstances. The novella moves at a good pace and has all the elements fans of the genre would expect: a man a and woman destined for each other who try to resist the evident attraction between them (it’s complicated), a love rival (well, two, one each), setbacks, misunderstandings, past difficulties that get in the way, and family matters (that at times help and at others hinder the path of true love). The setting works well for the novella, and we get a good sample of the difficulties of the Trail and how hard it must have been for the pioneers, although the amount of detail would not satisfy a keen reader of historical novels. The characters are likeable and relatable, and although it is a short book (it includes two chapters of the next book in the series as well, so it is shorter than it seems), we get to care for them and want to see them settled and happy, especially after the hard times they have to live through. Both of the main characters, Phoebe and Colton, carry a weight of guilt because they feel they have not protected their families as they should and although they might play tough and pretend to be hard, they have hearts of gold and are loyal to a fault. Although Phoebe is hard-working and determined, she does not subvert the boundaries of her gender, and at times is in need of rescue (although she does a fair amount of rescuing herself, mostly emotionally). Colton is not a flawless hero, but rises up to the challenge, and beyond, when is needed. The author is particularly skilled at managing to make readers connect emotionally with the characters and the events, without going over the top pulling at our heartstrings. There are sad moments, but there are also joyful and light moments and, overall, this is an uplifting read. An easy read, with likeable characters, a romantic couple we root for from the beginning, and an interesting background. Although it is not full of surprises, it will satisfy fans of the genre. I became fond of the characters and enjoyed the sample of the next novel, so I might visit again.

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