Books: Non-Fiction

Willa Cather: A Biography

Book — Non-fiction. By Milton Meltzer. 2008. 160 pages.
An account of Willa Cather's accomplishments and personality written for upper elementary/middle school readers.

willacatherWilla Cather (1873-1947) was probably the last American writer in the late 19th-century realist tradition. Born in Virginia and raised in Nebraska, her best remembered works (e.g., O, Pioneers!, My Antonia) recreate a long-vanished prairie life.

It is interesting learning about her roots, but the woman herself is a far more fascinating topic. She resisted feminine fashion trends, cutting her hair to boys’ length and wearing neckties through high school and half of college. She was the first female editor of a major magazine (McClure’s), edited and revised the autobiography of Mary Baker Eddy of Christian Science fame, won a Pulitzer Prize, and caused many an upper class mother’s despair by catching the heart of her marriageable daughter.

For starters, Milton Meltzer’s latest entry in the “Literary Greats” series is another thorough and competent biography for young readers. The volume is library-bound and peppered with nicely-reproduced photographs. Its backmatter includes a chronology of Cather’s life, source notes, bibliographies, Internet resources, and an index.  [Review by Kathleen Karr.]

ISBN: 9780822576044 | Twenty-First Century Books | Out of print