Read Poor White by Sherwood Anderson Online


Hugh McVey was born in a little hole of a town stuck on a mud bank on the western shore of the Mississippi River in the State of Missouri. It was a miserable place in which to be born. With the exception of a narrow strip of black mud along the river, the land for ten miles back from the town - called in derision by river men "Mudcat Landing" - was almost entirely worthlesHugh McVey was born in a little hole of a town stuck on a mud bank on the western shore of the Mississippi River in the State of Missouri. It was a miserable place in which to be born. With the exception of a narrow strip of black mud along the river, the land for ten miles back from the town - called in derision by river men "Mudcat Landing" - was almost entirely worthless and unproductive. The soil, yellow, shallow and stony, was tilled, in Hugh's time, by a race of long gaunt men who seemed as exhausted and no-account as the land on which they lived. They were chronically dis-couraged, and the merchants and artisans of the town were in the same state. The merchants, who ran their stores - poor tumble-down ramshackle affairs - on the credit system, could not get pay for the goods they handed out over their counters and the artisans, the shoemakers, carpenters and harnessmakers, could not get pay for the work they did. Only the town's two saloons prospered. The saloon keepers sold their wares for cash and, as the men of the town and the farmers who drove into town felt that without drink life was unbearable, cash always could be found for the purpose of getting drunk....

Title : Poor White
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781406939927
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Poor White Reviews

  • Mad Dog
    2019-01-17 19:09

    An ambitious book that bored me for much ot its length. This book's intent was telling the tale of the impacts of the Industrial Revolution on small-town America as well as telling the personal tale of some of those involved. But the book got bogged down (in parts) by the boring telling of the story of the lead character (Hugh McVey). The character never really progressed (throughout the book), but worst of all he never really got interesting. He took long walks and brooded about how he didn't fit in with society. And he did this a lot. Brooding can be interesting if it is varied and insightful, but it can be really BORING if it is the same thoughts over and over. Hey, the main character was a great inventor, but the author never really showed the excitement of this aspect of the main character's life. The secondary main character (Clara) also lead a life of 'quiet desperation', but at least her thoughts (as one-sided as they were) were sometimes interesting. Her portions of the book were the most interesting to me.As far as the Industrial Revolution goes, this book IS IMO too one-sided to be very impactful. The author is preaching to the choir (with me) when he criticizes the results of business ambitions. But I lost interest in the author's heavy-handed and one-sided railing against businessmen. I don't buy that things were all idyllic and thoughtful in America before the Industrial Revolution came along to make everything about money and 'progress'. I don't buy that things were so great (and spiritual and personal) when people worked long days in the fields. There is some truth in the author's railing against the Industrial Revolution, but the author shows no balance whatsoever in his observations. I liked Winesburg Ohio (the collection of short stories written earlier by this same author) a whole lot. And this book contains that book's sensitivity to social awkwardness and inner purposelessness, but takes the 'negativity' to a whole new level. And it involves the abovementioned social commentary (whereas Winesburg is more personal). It is like the author's world view got a lot bleaker after he wrote Winesburg. Bleak can be OK, but not when it is this one-sided and disinteresting(one-dimensional).

  • James Govednik
    2019-01-01 13:04

    It seems everything I've read about Sherwood Anderson rates Winesburg, Ohio as Anderson's best work, but I like Poor White better. Like Winesburg, the plot is strongly rooted in the internal struggles of the characters. While Winesburg is a series of character studies, Poor White takes us along on the journey of Hugh McVey as he grows from a dazed social outcast to an unwitting mover and shaker of commerce, from the 1890s into the 20th century. Like life 100 or so years ago, the story moves along at a slow pace, but every bit of time I spent reading it felt like time I was unplugged or off the grid. And yet, I could sense the modern world looming over the characters, and I wondered who would be liberated and who would be crushed. Period novel (1920), very enriching read.

  • Christine Granados
    2019-01-06 15:41

    Enjoyed reading "Winesburg, Ohio" but this one not so much. I kept thinking that McVey's internal monologues could have been edited to one page. I did come away from the book with lines worth quoting about how America created/started its myth of greatness: "In a sweeter age many of these young men might have become artists, but they had not been strong enough to stand against the growing strength of dollars. They had instead become newspaper correspondents and secretaries to politicians. All day and every day they used their minds and their talents as writers in the making of puffs and the creating of myths concerning the men by whom they were employed."

  • Dan Honeywell
    2019-01-01 11:42

    This book is rather slow going, a little corny and sensational at times, but it is very good and very human. I give it 4 1/2 stars.

  • Guille
    2019-01-13 19:58

    Si han leído "Winesburg, Ohio" y les ha gustado, disfrutarán también de este libro (puede que un pelín menos o puede que dos pelines menos, pero no más pelines). Tiene los mismo ingredientes que aquellos cuentos: un lenguaje sensible y sencillo, tanto que a veces parece ingenuo; ese mundo rural de principios de siglo que el autor trata con una profunda melancolía; personajes con historias aparentemente insignificantes, con problemas triviales, que intentan salir de sí mismos o del estrecho mundo en el que viven o que no se les escape todo aquello que ha definido y determinado sus vidas; narraciones cotidianas que tienen dentro otras historias en las que todos podemos vernos reflejados porque tocan temas eternos; en fin, la vida misma.En este caso, todo ello se enmarca en una época de cambios sociales, políticos y económicos que van a cambiar por completo el ritmo de vida de las personas, el modo en el que se relacionan, las pautas de comportamiento entre el hombre y la mujer, entre patrón y empleado, toda una forma de entender la vida.

  • Iván Ramírez Osorio
    2018-12-27 16:11

    4.5 Es un libro entretenido. Una imagen cruda del impacto de la industralización en el campo, de la transformación de la vida rural a la vida urbana y de la crueldad que emerge con el dinero, el egoísmo y la avaricia. Hay unos pasajes en el libro que evocan profunda belleza y , como otros escritores de su generación, logra envolver al lector en el mundo que ha construido. Sin embargo, hay algunos pasajes que se antojan innecesarios lo cual, bajo ningún motivo, quita atractivo a la obra.Recomendado para personas que busquen lecturas similares a John Dos Passos y , en menor medida, a William Faulkner.Sherwood Anderson es la puerta y la bienvenida a la generación perdida.

  • Cynthia Moore
    2019-01-06 12:04

    After reading White Trash- a 400 year history of class in America, this was a breezier version of the same story. White Trash WAS excellent, but this felt like a more personal story brought to life.

  • Veronica
    2019-01-15 16:51

    t saddens me to say that I was, once again, disappointed with an admired author’s work. Poor White felt like it was trying much too hard to be a work of historical fiction, and in doing so, had this reader losing interest. I have read many great books within this category, however, this was not one of them.Anderson’s commentary on the burgeoning Industrial Revolution during the early 20th century reads at times like a scholarly work, rather than a piece of fiction, and has an academically dry tone.Born in 1866, Hugh McVey lives with his widowed drunkard of a father who leaves his young son without food or shelter while he disappears on drinking sprees. Hugh longs for human connection, but seems destined to live without it. He is taken in by a family for a few years who provide some education and stability, but they relocate and inexplicably, do not ask him to join them. With no expectation of success, the 6′ 4″ loner ventures forth and somehow manages to become a successful inventor of agricultural machines. This was a character I wanted to cheer for, but just didn’t care about in the end.The woman who takes Hugh into her home, Sara Shepard, is taciturn and shows little affection towards Hugh although she cares for him deeply. She puts all her efforts into educating him and plans daily lessons for him that prove successful. When she and her husband decide to move, they leave abruptly and for some obscure reason, no invitations is extended to Hugh.Clara Butterworth, another unsympathetic character, was the suffragette figure. Oppressed and reviled by her widowed father, she is sent off to college, not for an education, but for a prospective spouse and to take her away from her father’s home. Sure wish I could have something positive to say with regards to this character, but words fail me.Quotes:All men lead their lives behind a wall of misunderstanding they themselves have built, and most men die in silence and unnoticed behind the walls.No discussion around Poor White would enter my conversation with Mr. Anderson and I would intentionally focus on Winesburg, Ohio. We could sip Martinis sans the speared olive and perhaps he’d share his methodology or some other significant writing tips.My rating for Poor White is a 6 out of 10.

  • SamT
    2019-01-09 18:10

    Hugh McVey, a poor white boy, born in 1866 in Mudcat Landing, Missouri, was raised by his drunkard father. At age ten, he was taken in by the local station master, Henry Shepard and his wife, Sarah. She told him, " I've made up my mind to take you for my own boy and I don't want to be ashamed of you." She became his school teacher, kept him away from the citizens of the backwater town, and helped him get over his inherited laziness. He lived with the Shepards until he was nineteen when they moved to a farm Sarah inherited in Michigan.Hugh took over the station master's job when the Shepherd's left and kept the job until for about a year when his father was killed in a quarrel over a dog. He decided to head east, but not too far telling himself, "I'll go into the northern part of Indiana or Ohio where there must be beautiful towns."He wandered from town to town for three years working various jobs, looking for companionship, struggling to keep his mind from becoming idle, and fixing it on definite things. He settled near Bidwill, Ohio, where he became the telegraph operator at the Pickleville railroad station.Hugh seemed to be (and actually was) a lonely man with few social skills. Some of the city fathers of Bidwell thought he was working on inventions and his telegraph operator's job was only a bluff. Steve Hunter, the son of the Bidwell jeweler, decided to invest money in one of these inventions and start a factory even though he did not know if Hugh was an inventor or not.Hunter approached Hugh and to his relief found that Hugh was indeed working on a cabbage setting machine. "Steve Hunter thought, "Now I must make a proposal he can't refuse. I mustn't leave until I've made a deal with him."A deal was made and the rest of the book was a well written story of failure, success, love, greed, and mis-communication (though not necessarily in this order) as America moved from an agricultural to an industrial society.

  • Jim
    2019-01-03 13:47

    First published in 1920, it seems dated today, and I found that even if I flipped the pages from time to time I wouldn't lose any of the story line. Its about a young man who is urged by parent-like figures to work hard and treat life seriously. He subsequently leaves a job at a railroad station, as he has become successful as an inventor of labor-saving farm machinery. Somewhat introverted, that life takes over to the detriment of relationships of any kind until he meets a young woman on the rebound, and even after marrying her needs almost a week before he dares to become intimate with her. Even after they've had a child with another on the way, they scarcely know each other until - near the end of the book - she develops a maternal instinct toward him and he succumbs. Though it's touted as a description of the burgeoning of the middle west as industrialization occurs, it's very simply written, and I could couldn't wait to get back to Charlotte Bronte's "Villette" where I have to keep a finger at the footnote page, as I refer to them so often.

  • Humphrey
    2019-01-08 17:11

    Sherwood Anderson pulls it off. It's definitely an imperfect novel. There are moments when he seems to want it to be Bigger than what it is followed by moments in which he focuses in on one emotion, and the two moves aren't quite reconciled. That said, Anderson is very perceptive of the multifaceted and often-overlapping pulls of progress and nostalgia - the human experience of the modernization process - which makes for the novel's greatest strength. You get the feeling here that Anderson, as an impressionist of sorts best suited to the portraits and epiphanies of shorter forms, is bumping up against his maximum length. In some ways it's a strength, as you get a certain feel for the community involved, which he deftly allows to slip as that community burgeons into urbanity beyond the intimacy of its original smallness. It becomes a liability, however, as half of the transformation Anderson seeks to depict takes place in this much larger sphere, after all. It's not great, but it's rather good.

  • Nate Wright
    2019-01-04 11:47

    Poor White is a story about change. This is true in regards to the uncertain, coming-of-age characters, struggling to find their places in the world, and also to the landscape and society in which the characters live, morphing as it does to meet the demands of an increasingly industrial and capitalistic world. The book's slow pace, while difficult to get through at times, allows for this growth to be described in a very natural and human way. Anderson intimately familiarizes us with the landscape and the characters to the point that we can notice and reflect upon their coinciding and interconnected evolutions. The story's dilemma lies in how this evolution, seen early on in the book as a wholly positive thing, can also corrupt the virgin lands and minds that it improves upon. This may be a bit of a pessimistic narrative, but Anderson's attempt to highlight an inherent innocence found deep within the human spirit, subdued but occasionally rising up to overcome our materialistic urges, should too plant hope in the mind of most observant readers.

  • Jodi Lu
    2018-12-23 16:46

    His style is so unsettling to me. It’s so odd in the sense that everything’s so NORMAL to the point of extreme sleepiness of descriptive prose and top-level dialogue and clearly arranged chronology and blandish development but still, this banal scene and the faintest glimmer in each otherwise matte eye, is always infused with a sense of extreme anxiety that is definitively sticky and macabre. He should’ve tried his hand at horror. In Winesburg, Ohio (which is far more interesting to read in my opinion), he lets the rancid subtext float a lot more. Here you can’t find it much within the middle American industrialization tale, but everything feels like…a landscape surreptitiously painted in feces. Yeah, there’s a G-rated lesbian bit and some clean, brisk violence, but nothing at all to reveal that it's actually some coded creepy-alien his molest earth children. Or anything like that. So mostly it's pretty boring.

  • Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion
    2019-01-19 16:53

    I can understand most readers' criticism of this book. But it's Sherwood Anderson and he's got much to say. He has left his writing as the definitive stamp for the Midwest (and into Appalachia and other regions), for the turn of the century, and for modern America and the new industrialism. He's the one who puts things in its proper perspective and sees a bit further. He's the one who felt it so much he just got up and walked into the cornfields. I wish he could have walked another hundred years. Throughout a text that might be criticized as simple, prosaic, and even disjointed, there are scattered some miraculous kernels of insight, beauty, and that lonely, lonely feeling of our age.

  • Kristen
    2019-01-09 15:43

    If you like a story that talks about a town and everybody in it--the strange guy out at the telegraph office, the huckster that schemes for wealth as he piggybacks onto somebody else's idea, the oldsters who can't stand change and the young folks who swirl with the ambitions of their age, you would probably like Poor White. Set in fictional Bidwell, Ohio, just as the machine age ushers in, it portrays a vigorous, hopeful time that I'm kind of sorry I missed.The author, though, regretted the coming of the machines. His "most sensual" passages (according to reviewers) lament the passing of a bucolic age. Yes, I might like to have seen farm towns when they were full of people. These days, they're shells of their former selves.

  • Bryan France
    2019-01-18 20:00


  • Kerry
    2019-01-09 18:44

    Anderson is, no doubt, one of the most important American writers. It's true that he excels at short-format writing, such as those examples compiledWinesburg, Ohio . This attempt at a longer work, while it has its flashes of inspiration, does tend to meander. If you intend to only read one book by Anderson, Winesburg must be it, but if you're a huge fan, Poor White will give you more of a nuanced fix and an extended peek into the writer's view of his subject matter.

  • Kayla
    2018-12-23 13:00

    I know Anderson is supposed to be a great regional author, but i really think the only reason why he was published was because of the subjects that he wrote about (industrialism vs. nature, hardships of the underprivileged, sexual orientations, and Freudian philosophies. Everything is in exposition and he makes grotesque grammar mistakes. For example: "Hugh builded a wall between them."Great regional author or not, this is a terrible book and i feel sorry for the people who are forced to read it.

  • Martin
    2018-12-26 14:42

    A masterpiece! Anderson delves deep into the nation's psyche as small town folks grapple with the changing realities of the industrial revolution. Hugh McVey is born into a life of idle dreaming and is challenged to rise above his poor white ancestry to become a man of material progress. A story of an outsider longing for love and the adoration of society. Brilliant.A critical examination of a farming nation's transformation into a world of factories and automation and the myths of great men

  • Wadlington Johnson
    2019-01-02 15:41

    Where Sherwood Anderson succeeds is in his ability to raise the every day normal experience to a place of beauty. He doesn't in the way some authors do by relying on magical realism. Through his simple approach to writing and his ability to root out truths that are nearly almost always relevant if not often realized till Anderson points it out. Anderson is not necessarily an author for the current generation that has grown accustomed to wild twists and turns in story. What Anderson does is tell the stories about people the way they happen in real life imparting truth.

  • Judy
    2019-01-09 15:06

    Taking place during the late 1800s, a poor white trash boy gets to escape his background but never quite "fits in" with anyone. He wanders and eventually ends in a small Ohio town. The story of the coming age of industry -- factories that turn out labor-saving devices -- and the effect on working people; the story of those who are moneymakers and organizers; the story of young people who don't know how to love -- this book covers all of that and more. Apparently, this was Anderson's only successful novel -- most of his characters do not know how to live.

  • Kinsley
    2019-01-07 12:45

    while some parts may seem a bit sluggish, it was beautifully descriptive and incredibly insightful. It is really something people should read to understand a bit about where we are today, where we came from, what we gained and what we lost. If you are looking for a lot of plot and action though, this is not your book. I just read Winesburg, Ohio (it had been on my to-read list forever!) and think that book is more enjoyable to read, but I really appreciated this book for its beauty and insight.

  • Joy Davanzo
    2019-01-17 15:48

    I really enjoyed Anderson's description of small town and rural life even though it was idealized. The description made me realize some of life's qualities that are missing from our current post industrial society. The book was a wonderful societal history of the transformation of the rural to the industrial era. The plot was disjointed in parts but the great writing and insightful comments make up for any defects in this area. Every era has its advantages and disadvantages and Anderson describes them beautifully in this book. Highly recommend it!

  • Dylan Alford
    2018-12-26 15:56

    This book reminded me of the grapes of it could be a midwestern prequel to that. It's about a socially awkward, isolated guy who has a gift with math and mechanical reckoning...which shows that our progress from agriculturalism to industrialism was headed by unnatural, isolated people who put all of their energy into their work. It's also just about social isolation in general, as anderson's main theme...people's innability to communicate and resist loneliness. Then there's the whole element of adapting from agriculture to industry, on the scale of small towns.

  • Dustincecil
    2018-12-30 13:04

    Not may favorite so far of Anderson's books...The overall story was ok, but this could have been organized a little better.For the most part, there wasn't a whole of action in this- until the end... then it almost felt like too much action.Love the name "Pickleville" and the fact that it stuck way after the pickle factor shut down.

  • Dannielle
    2019-01-12 12:08

    Enjoyable read. The description of the town's transition to industrialization and its affect on the people was quite vivid. The relationship between Hugh and his wife could have been fleshed out more; maybe a sentence or two of intimate dialogue between them, discussion of their raising a child, etc. A Story Teller's Story is still my favorite by him.

  • Scott Murphy
    2018-12-23 19:58

    Good enough, but not great. Some of the imagery is really engaging. Some of the moralizing is predictable and forgettable, but seems heartfelt, nonetheless. A nice introduction to this writer, I imagine, but hardly indispensable fiction reading in my view.

  • Jeane
    2019-01-21 16:03

    As i always think about books written by American writers, about America around the times this was written, I thought it would be boring. But again i start to find this book quite interesting and find it harder to put down the more i read it.

  • Iain Coggins
    2019-01-06 15:42

    I have always loved Anderson and I had wanted to read this particular novel for years. What a pleasure to enjoy his clear, simple prose, so weighted with meaning! This is an American classic in the vein of Cather and Hemingway, but sadly one that has fallen by the wayside.

  • Dave
    2019-01-05 16:05

    Anderson has always been difficult for me to describe. His books have this strange tone that uncover this layer of mystery that I start to see in real life. Everything seems unknown and life more beautiful as a result. Almost opposite in Tolstoy.