O Pioneers!

  • by Willa Cather
  • Narrated by Kate Reading, Ken Burns (introduction)
  • 5 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman," writes Willa Cather in O Pioneers!
The country is America; the woman is Alexandra Bergson, a fiercely independent young Swedish immigrant girl who inherits her father's farm in Nebraska. A model of emotional strength, courage, and resolve, Alexandra fights long and hard to transform her father's patch of raw, wind-blasted prairie into a highly profitable business.
A gripping saga of love, murder, greed, failure, and triumph, O Pioneers! vividly portrays the hardships of prairie life. Above all, it champions the belief that hard work is the surest road to personal fulfillment. Described upon publication in the New York Times as "American in the best sense of the word," O Pioneers! celebrates the men and women who struggled to build a nation that is both compelling and contradictory.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Cather writes like Wyeth paints.

If you could sum up O Pioneers! in three words, what would they be?


Spare, but there.


Any additional comments?

The American heartland today was kick started by the people described in this book.
An important segment of history comes alive under Willa Cather's pen.

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- James

not the right performance for Cather

Would you listen to O Pioneers! again? Why?

Not this performance--Cather wrote strong women, and this narrator conveys them poorly. Alexandra's voice sounded like Luna Lovegood, and Marie is portrayed as ditsy rather than feisty. The inflections of the women's voices generally drove me nuts. And the men were portrayed with voices that made me think of fake mustaches in a junior high drama production. Just a mess.


Who was your favorite character and why?

This is a silly question to ask--why would people want to know a reviewer's favorite character?


Would you be willing to try another one of Kate Reading and Ken Burns (introduction) ’s performances?

I would not. My Antonia was one of my all-time favorite books (read in print), and I hoped I would get similar pleasure from listening to O Pioneers on a cross-country car trip, but of the many audiobooks I listened to on the trip (The Great Gatsby, A Farewell to Arms, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, . 1776, Alice in Wonderland, To Kill a Mockingbird) this was the only disappointment.


If you could rename O Pioneers!, what would you call it?

Another silly question.


Any additional comments?

Audible posts reviews at its discretion? The unavailability of reliable reviews is one of the reasons I have cancelled my Audible subscription.

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- Gretchen Gordon

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-09-2010
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio