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Publisher's Summary

Life was hard on the Nebraska prairie, but for Alexandra Bergson, daughter of a Swedish immigrant family, her love of the land gave her courage and strength. When Alexandra's father dies, she takes over the care of her family and management of the farm, so that the Bergsons can stay in the place they've chosen for their home. O Pioneers! tells the story of a remarkable heroine, and draws on Cather's own experience growing up on the lonely and wild American prairies.

(P)1989 by Recorded Books, Inc.; Cover Art ©1988 by Wendell Minor

Critic Reviews

"A direct, human tale of love and struggle and attainment, a tale that is American in the best sense of the word." (The New York Times)
"Barbara McCulloh's voice and quiet tone match the flow of this American classic." (Omnibus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 03-24-13

Lifted and carried lightly by some one very strong

I love Willa Cather's soothing love of the land, of people, and nature. Her prose ripples and rolls like fields ready to harvest. Cather is elegant in her prose, but she doesn't hold back in her stories. O Pioneers! is a simple and passionate tale of life, struggles, tragedy and love. It is epic and simple both.

It is clear that Cather loved those immigrants who came from Europe (whether Swedes, Bohemians, or French) to carve their piece out of the American West. Her writing is full of the economical (yet hard) memory of the land, the circadian rhythms of nature and life, and the soft beauty and brutal tragedy of love.

She is one of those writers you either get and love, or just never quite connect to. For me, her prose is like a quickening. It makes me slow down, but also become more aware, more tolerant, more accepting of my own fragile place in this world.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Ok, but sound quality not great

Overall, the reading of the book is good - the narrator has a nice voice. However, the highest format the book is available in is Format 2, and it shows - the sound quality of the recording sounds muffled, and not as sharp as books you can get in Format 2. I recommend, if you want to get this book on Audible, find a version recorded in Format 4.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I've enjoyed listening to other Willa Cather novels (My Antonia and The Song of the Lark) but found this too slow-moving to keep my interest and gave up after an hour. If you enjoy long descriptive passages, you may like this more than I did.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Nan
  • Memphis, TN, United States
  • 06-12-08

O Pioneers!

I admire Willa Catha's writing but why is this book listed in the Gay and Lesbian Category? There are no gay or lesbian characters.

Hope other Gays and Lesbians complain too.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Well intended, but a minor effort: 2.5*

Limited in scope, a "feel-good" story written in simple prose, with nothing of substance to support it. Rather stock characters, though some more interesting than others. Religious "lessons" in the actions/punishments of wayward people. Basically a Christian look at a hard life, about forgiveness, tolerance, and learning to be satisfied with what one has.

If this was meant to contain any "feminist" threads, they were slim. Strong female protag who is successful in most of her endeavors, but waits till forever to marry. A few conflicts which could have proved interesting but didn't

Narrator fine; story -- good for 10-12 year olds; older kids would find it dull and unrealistic.

Lots of scenery, love of the land, etc. etc.

Read The Yearling if you like books about making it in the rough, about rising to overcome adversity and about growing up to be a "good" human being.

2.5 - 3*, because it is the first of a fairly good trilogy. My Antonia (the 3rd) is far better than this one; with more grit and real emotion, perhaps because by then Cather had matured as a writer.

  • Overall

Narration leaves much to be desired

I enjoyed the text of this book, but the reader all but kept me from getting through it. She speaks so slowly and deliberately that I found myself anticipating the dialog for her. Even when she emphasizes words to emote feeling, it's so little that one has to decide oneself whether the characters are, themselves, boring monotones or in fact come to life at all. I'd recommend getting a hard copy of this one or find a version with a different narrator.

  • Overall

Nice story Bad reading

The sound quality was not very good and reader used expression and rhythm as if she were reading a fairy tale to preschoolers. Can't recommend it.

  • Overall
  • Doug
  • Glenwood, IA, United States
  • 10-22-07

Great book, but ...

Awesome book! Really gives a good, in-depth picture of life on the frontier in vivid, beautiful, penetrating and challenging language.

BUT, the recording was terrible. It was a recording from a tape (the "turn over tape" instructions were left on at one point in the download). I had to turn my ipod up nearly all the way in order to hear the reading.

I hope that audible or someone can procure a better reading.

I love this site! Thanks for offering good books!


  • Overall
  • Allison
  • East Palo Alto, CA, United States
  • 09-21-07

Good book, bad recording

Unfortunately the sound quality for this recording is bad, it sounds like you are listening to an old wind-up phonograph. The story itself is good but not quite as engaging as My Antonia by the same author.