Oneida Public Library news: Cather’s ‘One of Ours’ is this month’s Great War book

Cather’s ‘One of Ours’ is this month’s Great War book

In this month’s selection of great books about the Great War, Dr. Roxanna Pisiak, humanities professor at Morrisville State College, will lead the discussion Thursday, June 21, at 7 p.m. on Willa Cather’s 1923 Pulitzer Prize winning novel “One of Ours.”

Cather’s novel chronicles the youth and maturing of a Nebraska farmer, Claude Wheeler, as he struggles with farming, love and a disappointing marriage. Claude’s salvation, as it was for many young Americans of the time, was the United States’ entry in April 1917 in the great European war. Cather’s descriptions of Claude’s army basic training, shipping to Europe and brutal life on the ravaged French Front stil remain today richly evocative of young Americans’ initiation into the “war to end all wars.”

The OPL’s Great War and Writings from the Front discussion series is one way the library is marking the centenary of America’s involvement in World War I. The discussion leaders for the five monthly sessions are Dr. Pisiak and the OPL’s Assistant Director Tom Murray.

Future sessions will discuss William March’s “Company K” (July 19), a much acclaimed novel at its 1933 publication in which the individual soldiers in an actual U.S. Marines company tell their stories from training camp to the worst fighting at the French Front in 1918; Mary Borden’s autobiographical stories about an American nurse’s experiences at the Front as collected in “The Forbidden Zone” (August 16); and Siegfried Sassoon’s autobiographical novel “Memoirs of an Infantry Officer,  (September 20).

Copies of Cather’s “One of Ours” are available at the OPL circulation desk for those who register for the discussion June 21. For more information, stop by the Oneida Library, 220 Broad St., or call (315) 363-3050.

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