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This 1934 Pulitzer Prize winner tells the story of a pair of young newlyweds in antebellum rural Georgia. The Pulitzer Prize-winner Lamb in His Bosom tells the story of Cean and Lonzo, a young couple who begin their married lives two decades before the Civil War in a land where nature is hostile, the seasons dictate the law, and the days are punctuated by the hard work of t This 1934 Pulitzer Prize winner tells the story of a pair of young newlyweds in antebellum rural Georgia. The Pulitzer Prize-winner Lamb in His Bosom tells the story of Cean and Lonzo, a young couple who begin their married lives two decades before the Civil War in a land where nature is hostile, the seasons dictate the law, and the days are punctuated by the hard work of the land. Cean and Lonzo’s only wealth is their hands, their obstinacy, and their love. By the time Cean is forty-three, she has borne fourteen children, buried five of them and her husband, and survived civil war, a venomous snakebite, a ferocious panther attack, and a deadly house fire. Neither life, nor the din of history has spared her. More than just a war history, author Caroline Miller’s quietly lyrical prose style pays poignant tribute to a woman’s life lived close to nature.


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This 1934 Pulitzer Prize winner tells the story of a pair of young newlyweds in antebellum rural Georgia. The Pulitzer Prize-winner Lamb in His Bosom tells the story of Cean and Lonzo, a young couple who begin their married lives two decades before the Civil War in a land where nature is hostile, the seasons dictate the law, and the days are punctuated by the hard work of t This 1934 Pulitzer Prize winner tells the story of a pair of young newlyweds in antebellum rural Georgia. The Pulitzer Prize-winner Lamb in His Bosom tells the story of Cean and Lonzo, a young couple who begin their married lives two decades before the Civil War in a land where nature is hostile, the seasons dictate the law, and the days are punctuated by the hard work of the land. Cean and Lonzo’s only wealth is their hands, their obstinacy, and their love. By the time Cean is forty-three, she has borne fourteen children, buried five of them and her husband, and survived civil war, a venomous snakebite, a ferocious panther attack, and a deadly house fire. Neither life, nor the din of history has spared her. More than just a war history, author Caroline Miller’s quietly lyrical prose style pays poignant tribute to a woman’s life lived close to nature.

30 review for Lamb in His Bosom (Modern Southern Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    This book was akin to discovering a buried treasure! How this Pulitzer Prize winning novel (1934) never came to my attention until January of 2016 when I read a brilliant review by Goodread’s friend Sara, I cannot imagine. I thank her for first introducing me to this exceptional book and to GR group On the Southern Literary Trail for selecting this as the September read which prompted me to purchase a copy and begin reading. It’s not an easy book to locate for borrowing purposes, but it was well This book was akin to discovering a buried treasure! How this Pulitzer Prize winning novel (1934) never came to my attention until January of 2016 when I read a brilliant review by Goodread’s friend Sara, I cannot imagine. I thank her for first introducing me to this exceptional book and to GR group On the Southern Literary Trail for selecting this as the September read which prompted me to purchase a copy and begin reading. It’s not an easy book to locate for borrowing purposes, but it was well worth the investment! Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind is one of my all-time favorite novels, and Lamb in His Bosom I believe should take a spot on the shelf right next to it. They complement each other beautifully. Lamb in His Bosom examines the American south from a different viewpoint – from that of the poor, non-slave-owning, hard-working farmers during pre-Civil War times. Slavery is an issue that is very distant to them; it is an institution of the “Coast”, the rich planters that live many miles away from them. We gain an understanding of their reflections on slavery, but this is not the main focus of the book, although certainly relevant to the times. The narrative focuses on Cean Smith from the time of her early marriage to Lonzo throughout her multiple childbirths and ending with the close of the Civil War. This is not a Civil War novel, however. Rather, it is a story about Cean and her husband and children and her extended family - their toiling of the land, the joys and sorrows of raising multiple children, and the faith they must hold onto in order to live from day to day in a land that is as likely to take away as it is to provide. It is about the rhythms of the seasons, the slow grind of daily living, and the tension of survival. In one moment we observe Cean grieving over loss: "she kept thinking that breaths were like threads on a mighty loom, drawn tight, woven among one another, broken singly as each life reaches its frayed or short-cut ending." At other times she contemplates the wonder of the life around her: "All these things buried about her house added to it, somehow; the yard was lived in now, like the house, each bush had something added to it, other than enrichment of the soil, for, together with its history of planting and rain and sun and dark, each bush now had, close by its seeking root, flesh that had grunted or peeped or squeaked while it lived. It gave Cean satisfaction to know about it." Caroline Miller’s writing is sensitive and lovely. Ultimately, it is the women of this novel that are the real heroes. Cean, her mother, Seen Carver, and her sister-in-law, Margot, support one another as well as their partners. Even in their suffering, they grow and reap more strength than ever before. They are life-sustaining, dependable and ever-giving. The author paints a vivid picture of the people and the landscape of the time. It is a genuine portrait of simpler times that were really anything but ‘simple’. Highly recommended for those that enjoy Southern literature and/or historical fiction. I should mention that the dialect of the region is used throughout the dialogue; it certainly made for an even more authentic voice and I quickly adapted to it and enjoyed it. "For a heart may be lifted up and cast down in the same moment, as sometimes sunshine comes while rain is falling, and builds upward in the sky tall reaches of misty, unlikely beauty."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    I was at Trader Joe's this morning and the cashier asked me what were my plans for the day. I told her I was going to finish my errands, then go home and settle in with a book. She asked me the title, I said "Lamb in His Bosom" and she gave me a blank stare. I told her it was about the settlers in the backwoods of Georgia before the Civil War. Another blank stare, then she told me she preferred books with drama. Drama? Drama? I should have told her I planned to go home and dive back into this nov I was at Trader Joe's this morning and the cashier asked me what were my plans for the day. I told her I was going to finish my errands, then go home and settle in with a book. She asked me the title, I said "Lamb in His Bosom" and she gave me a blank stare. I told her it was about the settlers in the backwoods of Georgia before the Civil War. Another blank stare, then she told me she preferred books with drama. Drama? Drama? I should have told her I planned to go home and dive back into this novel of what it took to survive in those years. You want drama, try building a home and a farm with nothing but your own strength and knowledge of how to get it done. Try giving birth to 13 children, not all of whom survive. Try killing a panther after one of those births just minutes after delivering your child alone, when you're too weak to lift the gun, but do it anyway to protect your child. Try dealing with drought, sickness, hunger, danger, all brought to you courtesy of daily life when hard work was all you could count on. Birth, death, young love, old age, it's all here. Drama with a capital D. The dialect in the mouths of these characters is a form of poetry, although it's not often used. The story is told in narrative form, in rich, simple terms, using old words I heard my grandmother use. Touchous, mought (for might), sploundered (a fainting spell), nighabout, and a phrase I used to love: root hog or die pore, meaning you have to work hard for what you get. "A woman has business to be as strong as a man. A man don't mind laying the ax between a calf's eyes; a woman does mind, and has to stand by and watch it done. A man fathers a little un, but a woman feels it shove up against her heart, and beat on her body, and drag on her with it's weight. A woman has to be stronger than a man". I hate to leave this world and the people I grew to love, but one of the truly wonderful things about books is that you can return to these places any time you wish. This one will be reopened many times.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    Two years ago, I set out to read every Pulitzer Prize-winning novel roughly in order and I’m now finishing up the 1930s. It’s been an interesting, arduous, and somewhat surprising project. After 16 books, I can see clear patterns and the biggest one, by far, is America’s infatuation with its own rural past. Fully 11 of the 16 I’ve read are historical novels set in the country. There’s nothing wrong with that, but many of these works didn’t deserve the prize, while novels like The Great Gatsby, a Two years ago, I set out to read every Pulitzer Prize-winning novel roughly in order and I’m now finishing up the 1930s. It’s been an interesting, arduous, and somewhat surprising project. After 16 books, I can see clear patterns and the biggest one, by far, is America’s infatuation with its own rural past. Fully 11 of the 16 I’ve read are historical novels set in the country. There’s nothing wrong with that, but many of these works didn’t deserve the prize, while novels like The Great Gatsby, and A Farewell to Arms were both passed over. So, it’s within that context that I’m reviewing Lamb in His Bosom, a first novel and massive bestseller at the time. The story is about a family of dirt-poor Georgia farmers and takes place in the decades leading up to the Civil War. In researching the novel, Miller, who was from a small Georgia town, would “go on excursions with her children, keeping her eyes peeled for old people who lived in old houses and might have stories to tell.” There's no recorded history of Georgian subsistence farmers from that time, which makes this novel extremely valuable. Every detail rings true. Here’s why you don’t want to miss a “candy-pullin,” here’s how women were treated, here’s the home-made medicines people frantically used to try to save a life. Over the course of the book, Cean Smith, the protagonist, churns out 14 children and works her ass off in stoic deprivation. People die from horrible accidents and infection, homes burn down, animals attack and the best anyone can hope for is to live long enough to get old and weak. Cean has never owned a slave, or even seen a person of color. The ocean exists only in hymns, and even a lake is beyond her experience. Lamb in His Bosom is at its strongest when it shows us the claustrophobic, isolated, forgotten lives of people, particularly women, in the Deep South before the war. These characters are ignorant and stunted, but also filled with dignity, grit, and common sense. All this makes Lamb in His Bosom a perfect novel for anyone who’s interested in the period. However, if you’re just looking for something to read, this is not the book for you. The novel is hurt by stilted dialogue and Miller is sometimes condensing to her characters—I think unintentionally—but the effect is still “look at these simple-yet-noble country folk.” She also runs into trouble with the plot and the book sort of stops rather than ends. Bottom Line: Should be required reading for anyone interested in the history of the American South. Everyone else, I would suggest taking a pass.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rebbie

    This book was one of the two picks for September of the On the Southern Literary Trail book group. I know, I'm like the worst book group member on all of Goodreads. But I finally got one finished in time to redeem myself with these fantastic people and be a part of the group, so there's that. Lamb in His Bosom won the Pulitzer in 1934, and even the infamous Margaret Mitchell of Gone With the Wind fame declared this book her favorite and said it was the best book written about the American South This book was one of the two picks for September of the On the Southern Literary Trail book group. I know, I'm like the worst book group member on all of Goodreads. But I finally got one finished in time to redeem myself with these fantastic people and be a part of the group, so there's that. Lamb in His Bosom won the Pulitzer in 1934, and even the infamous Margaret Mitchell of Gone With the Wind fame declared this book her favorite and said it was the best book written about the American South (for the record, I agree with the delightful MM, but I also love GWTW too; she shouldn't have sold herself so short imo). This book is the only one of its type that I've ever read: from the pov of poor farmers pre-civil war (and during, too) who did not have slaves. It's brutally honest in the way it represents the subculture of the South back in those days, even as to how the poor farmers back then viewed slaves and slavery. I'm pointing this out because this is a delicate issue in the United States (as it should be), and even though its honesty is valued deeply, it might be too painful for some people to read. The book follows the family (well, families) of the patriarch and matriarch Vince and Cean ("Seen") Carver. Mostly it's the story of their daughter, also named Cean, as she embarks on her new life with her husband Lonzo. The book travels through decades, and shows what happens to these people through birth, marriages, life, death, disasters, etc. Never again will I complain about my life (I'll try not to, pinky swear!); I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to survive back then. No matter what happened, you had to keep going or you would not survive. Working through the worst of scenarios no matter what trials you were facing was a matter of life and death. I found it fascinating to read about how people back then took care of ailments and other medical emergencies. We're so far removed from nature in our current modern society, and there's something to be said for being independent and savvy enough to figure out how to survive with nature and your wits. Two things: 1. The writing is superb. This is no exaggeration; Caroline Miller was decades ahead of her time in the way she wrote her lovely book. 2. I didn't think that there was enough story line having to do with the civil war. I realize that the book would have probably been 1000+ pages if Miller had done this, but I'd rather have that since this felt rushed and clipped. Anyhoo, this book is a total recommend for people who like historical fiction, family sagas, Southern literature, survival, a good mix of romance, heartbreak, sweeping family dysfunction, and an ever-changing cultural landscape. It's an A+ read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4.5* of five What a read, what a ride, what a life I led reading Cean's tribulations. What a miserable thing it is to be a woman, apparently, and how hard it is to love another! Forget the hell out of children. The little unknown thing was growing within her as suddenly and softly as the first touch of spring on the maples. It was putting out its hidden, watery roots as simply and surely as little cypresses take root in a stretch of swamp water away off yonder. It was coming upon her as qu Rating: 4.5* of five What a read, what a ride, what a life I led reading Cean's tribulations. What a miserable thing it is to be a woman, apparently, and how hard it is to love another! Forget the hell out of children. The little unknown thing was growing within her as suddenly and softly as the first touch of spring on the maples. It was putting out its hidden, watery roots as simply and surely as little cypresses take root in a stretch of swamp water away off yonder. It was coming upon her as quietly as the dark came up from the woods at night and hushed in the little clearing, closing every chink of every shutter tight with nothing. Impulses swelled within her, swelled her body fit to burst; yet they did not come out in words, nor song, nor in any sign. Only to lose them as soon as you writhe, scream, push, expel them. My gawd, the only comfort is Gawd. But in spite of all that, Caroline Miller is a storyteller and I kept going although I don't believe in gawd, ain't straight, and have always had money. Why? Because this is why I read: to discover. I discovered a lot reading this book...a lot I didn't know already, I mean. The view from 2017 back to 1933, when this book first appeared, feels like a greater gap than the one between 1933 and 1830s Georgia. That's silly, I suppose, since what Miller wrote was genuinely historical fiction, recreating in her imagination the ideas and feelings of people who never had any kind of break, never got any credit for their labor, never spoke in chorus the way the rich and powerful always have. I, we I would argue, need to read these voices. They left no imprint on the psyche of the nation, before or after the first US Civil War, being merely pawns in the games played higher up. Their fatalism is perfectly logical. They were largely christian folk and were accustomed to the idea of blessings or blastings emanating from Above sans explanation or merit. What sustained them? Miller, from her century's remove, thought it was: All these things buried about her house added to it, somehow; the yard was lived in now, like the house, each bush had something added to it, other than enrichment of the soil, for, together with its history of planting and rain and sun and dark, each bush now had, close by its seeking root, flesh that had grunted or peeped or squeaked while it lived. It gave Cean satisfaction to know about it. Just gorgeous, also exactly right, pitch perfect, and mercy on us all such a relief from the excessive flagellation poor, starchy, unbending Cean receives from This Our Life. I must say that the losses Cean endures through the War are enough to convince me that, had I to suffer them, would've made me much more receptive to the "charms" of religion. Nothing, however, on this wide green earth could make me receptive to New Light Preacher O'Connor's charms. What a tedious prig. I felt that half-star slipping the second I met him. It fell off for good at the end, which felt more like something academics would discover among her papers and label "Notes Towards an Ending" in the Norton Critical Edition. But the prose, the world, the sheer not-Gone with the Wind-ness of it, are reason enough to read it, and I feel confident in saying that you should.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    “The moon has all power; it even governs women’s ways, and who can explain that?” This is a beautiful but grueling book. It’s the story of an extended family of settlers in Georgia, around the time of the Civil War, trying to eke out a living on the land, with nothing much between themselves and the harshness of nature except what they and their families had learned the hard way. It opens with Cean and Lonzo taking off in their wagon to begin their marriage. Lonzo is a gentle and caring man, but “The moon has all power; it even governs women’s ways, and who can explain that?” This is a beautiful but grueling book. It’s the story of an extended family of settlers in Georgia, around the time of the Civil War, trying to eke out a living on the land, with nothing much between themselves and the harshness of nature except what they and their families had learned the hard way. It opens with Cean and Lonzo taking off in their wagon to begin their marriage. Lonzo is a gentle and caring man, but relationships in this time and place weren’t necessarily full of the love and comfort we hope for in our families today. They were fraught. Everything was fraught--for the men and for the women--and this book tells us a little of particularly what the women went through. It’s a bleak read, to be honest. So I was happy to notice an unusual reference that popped up in the narrative now and then: the mention of a crepe myrtle. It just so happened that I was reading this book in the late autumn, as my own crepe myrtle was slowly shedding its rusting blossoms while its leaves, in their so many gorgeous shades of orange, clung on strong in the breeze. I love this amazing bush, the way it transforms with each season, from the barren sticks it’s going to be soon to green and copper leaves in spring to the deep pink, frail blossoms of summer. As I read, the book and the bush seemed to be saying to me that there is a time for every season under heaven. Even now, with progress and conveniences, there are still seasons of difficulty. But I’m very grateful to my ancestors who, like Cean and Lonzo, struggled so hard to wrestle out a life so that I could come along and have an easier time of it. This story reminded me of what I have, and I thank them. “…she kept thinking that breaths were like threads on a mighty loom, drawn tight, woven among one another, broken singly as each life reaches its frayed or short-cut ending.”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Cean Carver weds Lonzo Smith on a fine Spring day in 1832, and they leave her parents’ home for the six-mile journey by ox cart to their new homestead. This 1934 Pulitzer winner deals with a backwoods country existence in rural Georgia, following the Carver / Smith families until shortly after the Civil War. Over the course of several decades, the book explores what life was like for these farmers of pre-Civil War America. They battle weather, wild animals, disease, and injuries. And, when calle Cean Carver weds Lonzo Smith on a fine Spring day in 1832, and they leave her parents’ home for the six-mile journey by ox cart to their new homestead. This 1934 Pulitzer winner deals with a backwoods country existence in rural Georgia, following the Carver / Smith families until shortly after the Civil War. Over the course of several decades, the book explores what life was like for these farmers of pre-Civil War America. They battle weather, wild animals, disease, and injuries. And, when called, the men leave to fight a war they never wanted, and have no stake in. It takes a little while to get used to the language and style, but it’s a wonderful book. At times it’s plodding, but there are extraordinary moments of brilliant writing. Descriptions so vivid you can feel the heat, smell the blood, hear the birds or the wail of panthers. It is a simple story, of simple people, but their lives are anything but simple. Cean Carver Smith is the focus of much of the novel. Over the course of the book she gives birth to fourteen children, mourns the death of several of her family members, endures moments of panic, and perseveres with courage and dignity. She is steadfast in her resolve to provide for her family, to love her husband and parents, and to endure. What is so special about the book is that it gives voice to the majority of rural farmers of this era. People with limited education, no slaves, many children, and a deep faith that hard work would reap rewards. Miller was the first Georgia writer to win the Pulitzer, and the success of this novel prompted the publisher to go seeking other Southern writers. Thus, was Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind discovered. That book quickly surpassed this one in popularity, and more’s the pity in my opinion. (NOTE: Review updated on second reading, Sept 2017)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Lamb in His Bosom is Caroline Miller’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel centered on poor farmers in the pre-Civil War South. My reaction to this novel was visceral. I am proud to say that my own heritage is rooted in just such rural people and that I could indeed see traces of my own great-uncles, grandmother and grandfather in the characters of the hard-working men and women portrayed here. It is, however, the women who capture my heart and make this novel sing personal songs to me. Cean, her mothe Lamb in His Bosom is Caroline Miller’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel centered on poor farmers in the pre-Civil War South. My reaction to this novel was visceral. I am proud to say that my own heritage is rooted in just such rural people and that I could indeed see traces of my own great-uncles, grandmother and grandfather in the characters of the hard-working men and women portrayed here. It is, however, the women who capture my heart and make this novel sing personal songs to me. Cean, her mother Seen, and Margot who leaves a physically easier but morally deficient life to join them in the wilderness that borders the Okefenokee swamp, are the ones who make endurance and joy possible, bring life into being, nurture the living and prepare the dead for burial. I could not help thinking of my own grandmother who bore eleven children and buried three of them either at birth or within a year of it. I can remember how hard-scrabble her life was, even when I was young and it must have seemed so much easier and “convenient” to her. Miller’s descriptions are vivid and detailed, so that it is easy to imagine these people at the hard labor of butchering, plowing, milking, cooking, sewing, and living. She pulls us into a world where birth and death are intimately linked and life is either a blessing or a curse depending on how capricious you believe God to be. It is also easy to find in the pages and characters the love and pleasures that are drawn from the simplest of things. The religious element in these lives is what essentially propels them forward during the unbelievable hardships they must bear. The promise of another world that is less cruel and in which they can meet again with those they have lost energizes and motivates them to live. “Seen would throw that promise back into God’s eternal face in the weak song of her lips. He had promised and repromised to bear her like a lamb in His bosom, never, no, never, no, never to forsake her.” One might ask where God is during all the horrors that visit these people, but one would be better to ask how they would ever have endured their lives without the promise that He was there and providing for them as they left this world for the next. What stuck me deeply was the difference between our lives and theirs. How removed we are from everything around us compared to the way they lived within their world and part of it. Nature is their intimate provider and their constant threat. Rattlesnakes and panthers assault them, but blooming flowers enthrall them and the creatures of the woods feed them. When death comes, it is a presence. They sit with the dead, they touch them, they clean them, they dig the graves and lower the coffins. They do not assign their care to a hospice or call for a mortician. Finally, there is the theme of home and family that runs through this story beginning to end. Seen and Vince leave Carolina to settle in Georgia because of the promise of a longer growing season and an easier life. They do not find that, but what they do find is a separation that is almost unbearable from the family and world they have left behind. Lias longs to leave this place of his birth, but in the end it is always homeward he looks. He wants those at home to always be looking for him to come and never to know of his death, because he wants never to be forgotten. In his own way, he proves the wisdom of his wish, for he is himself carrying alive in his heart the souls of those who have already passed from the earth in his absence. Cean mourns Cal’s death in the war more cruelly because he is so far from home when he meets his end. “But mayhap somebody dug a hole for him to rest in, away from their (buzzards) greedy beaks. Never did she know, and it was a sorrow to her; death is bad enough at its best, when ye can bury a body and lovingly tend the earth that lies above it…”. Miller has a wonderful grasp of the people she portrays and uses their language with the loving touch of one who has heard these words tripping from the tongues of real people. She says she mined these stories over time from elderly people she knew, and it is obvious to me that a current of reality runs through her writing that cannot be denied. I am amazed that I had never come across this novel nor heard of it, despite its having won the 1934 Pulitzer and having inspired Margaret Mitchell’s writing of Gone With the Wind. I am grateful to the Goodreads member who suggested it as a group read and thus brought it to my attention.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Camie

    This winner of the Pulitzer Prize the year before Gone With The Wind is the life story of Cean and Lonzo who newly married set out to build their lives in the backwoods of Georgia. A simply told story ( including terms like howsomever) of the self reliance required in a time when the daily chores of life such as growing crops and raising 14 children made you very old before age 40. 4 stars Sept OTSLT

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lawyer

    A Lamb in His Bosom: Caroline Miller's Antebellum South I was enthralled by Miller's portrayal of the strength of the yeoman farmer class in the wiregrass and piney woods of antebellum Georgia. The pace of life was dictated by the seasons. Whether crops would flourish or wither depended on the unpredictable vagaries of the weather. The harvest would yield a bumper crop or yield so little that starvation stared families in the faces. Death was a predictable misery. Disease, accident, all deadly. M A Lamb in His Bosom: Caroline Miller's Antebellum South I was enthralled by Miller's portrayal of the strength of the yeoman farmer class in the wiregrass and piney woods of antebellum Georgia. The pace of life was dictated by the seasons. Whether crops would flourish or wither depended on the unpredictable vagaries of the weather. The harvest would yield a bumper crop or yield so little that starvation stared families in the faces. Death was a predictable misery. Disease, accident, all deadly. Miller depicts her characters facing their losses with a resigned acceptance. The atmosphere of Miller's novel is one of unrelenting tension that can leave the reader drained. Miller's growing description of the distinction between the farmer class and the coastal traders deftly foreshadow the establishment of the planter class. As the decades pass, Miller accelerates and compresses the coming and passing of the American Civil War. The ending seems a rush to bring the novel to a close. I found Miller's development of strong and independent women to produce a work appropriately considered an early of feminist literature. I consider Lamb in His Bosom to be very deserving of its 1934 Pulitzer Prize. While I Recognize Gone with the Wind a beloved work of literature, Caroline Miller wrote a novel more realistically portraying a truer world of the South and its people. Remarkably memorable. Highly recommended. reply | edit | delete | flag *

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dave Marsland

    This isn't any novel, it's a cultural masterpiece. In a world where thrills are cheap, or as Bukowski puts it ''a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes'', this book is humbling. It's a timeless classic. My review is this. Turn off your TV, turn off your phone. Read this book and then go for a walk and look for whatever wildflowers are in season. This isn't any novel, it's a cultural masterpiece. In a world where thrills are cheap, or as Bukowski puts it ''a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes'', this book is humbling. It's a timeless classic. My review is this. Turn off your TV, turn off your phone. Read this book and then go for a walk and look for whatever wildflowers are in season.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    This is a quiet story of one family, one woman living in rural Georgia on a small family farm in the decades before the Civil War. The afterword affirmed that the life and dialect portrayed in this novel was strikingly accurate despite being written a century later. Without melodrama, Miller drew me into the joy and pain, the setbacks and successes, the love and tension of these hard-working people that learned to accept life as it came.,

  13. 5 out of 5

    B.

    This book was a total surprise. The author was born and partly raised in my small southern Georgia hometown and was the first Pulitzer Prize winner from the southern U.S. She's the one who paved the way for Margaret Mitchell. The book itself seems simple on the surface, but really goes much deeper, especially if you know south Georgia. For someone who grew up in the region, there's something uncannily familiar in the characters. Uncanny because the books is set in the pre-Civil War era, yet you This book was a total surprise. The author was born and partly raised in my small southern Georgia hometown and was the first Pulitzer Prize winner from the southern U.S. She's the one who paved the way for Margaret Mitchell. The book itself seems simple on the surface, but really goes much deeper, especially if you know south Georgia. For someone who grew up in the region, there's something uncannily familiar in the characters. Uncanny because the books is set in the pre-Civil War era, yet you can still easily see elements of that rough and scrabble pioneer spirit in so much of Georgia now. The story is an elegiac epic centering around one extended family and their various struggles to survive, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Maybe not for everyone, there's not a lot of historical reference, not much action, but the characters are true, living people and the writing is lyrical and lovely.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    An exceptional accounting of antebellum south Georgia pinywoods pioneers, exquisitely written. The title coming from a psalm/hymn "How Firm a Foundation" that was a favorite of Cean's mother - "when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn/Like lambs in My bosom they shall be born". An exceptional accounting of antebellum south Georgia pinywoods pioneers, exquisitely written. The title coming from a psalm/hymn "How Firm a Foundation" that was a favorite of Cean's mother - "when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn/Like lambs in My bosom they shall be born".

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I will come back to this one, some day. Perhaps. I just didn't feel any magic, after 40 pages or so, and it's much too hot to be reading a song of the south that doesn't deliver from the get-go, when it's 40C in the shade! My mind kept drifting towards Conrad Richter's Awakening Land trilogy, (which also won the Pulitzer) and how I fell into it like a cool drink of water; this one was merely tepid. Like Cean in the novel, "I be thinkin' on it sum a'fore I set my min' to it agin." I will come back to this one, some day. Perhaps. I just didn't feel any magic, after 40 pages or so, and it's much too hot to be reading a song of the south that doesn't deliver from the get-go, when it's 40C in the shade! My mind kept drifting towards Conrad Richter's Awakening Land trilogy, (which also won the Pulitzer) and how I fell into it like a cool drink of water; this one was merely tepid. Like Cean in the novel, "I be thinkin' on it sum a'fore I set my min' to it agin."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    For me it was difficult to read because of the dialect and so it was 4.5 stars. But I had to round it up for the grit in this couple and the precision to a time, place, and their cored priority of everyday. The minute to minute of what is "survival important and right to do" NOW. The telling of their tale in the real eyes of their own scopes of knowledge and belief. It's life before antibiotics and all of those warm and cozy modern features like 24 hour hot water ready in minutes and electric li For me it was difficult to read because of the dialect and so it was 4.5 stars. But I had to round it up for the grit in this couple and the precision to a time, place, and their cored priority of everyday. The minute to minute of what is "survival important and right to do" NOW. The telling of their tale in the real eyes of their own scopes of knowledge and belief. It's life before antibiotics and all of those warm and cozy modern features like 24 hour hot water ready in minutes and electric light to stay up all night if that's your choice. The days of a great numbers of births but possibly just a few adult children after all was of your elder age. In a day when elder age and ill health could be any time after 40. Or just about 40. And when most of your food didn't come from any market let alone in a condition ready to cook or prepare for eating. In other words, it's about marriage and family in the rural backwoods Southern USA homestead of more than 150 years ago. Nearly everything has changed since then; it has for most places on all continents altered immensely in the last 200 years. But this is one humongous reminder of how tough and resilient (AND unafraid of unknowns and words in general as opposed to dire possible actions) that human beings required as base form then. Initiative and purpose were not just desired qualities but essentials. No plot or storyline here- others have said it better.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I read Lambs in His Bosom after visiting the Margaret Mitchell house in Atlanta and learning that this novel was her favorite book. Fascinated and curious as to what moved Margaret Mitchell, I bought the book right there, in the gift shop and read it right away. It is interesting to me that the author who romanticized the old south aristocracy was influenced by a book about the southern poor, whose lives were so remote that they hardly knew there was a war going on beyond the boundary of their l I read Lambs in His Bosom after visiting the Margaret Mitchell house in Atlanta and learning that this novel was her favorite book. Fascinated and curious as to what moved Margaret Mitchell, I bought the book right there, in the gift shop and read it right away. It is interesting to me that the author who romanticized the old south aristocracy was influenced by a book about the southern poor, whose lives were so remote that they hardly knew there was a war going on beyond the boundary of their land. People who scrapped for their own living, and then were asked to fight to preserve a way of life that they didn't share. Caroline Miller does a great job transporting the reader into a world beyond Gone With the Wind. She was the first of many great southern women writers.......all of whom I intend to read!

  18. 5 out of 5

    ☯Emily Ginder

    In 1934, Caroline Miller won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for Lamb in His Bosom. She was the first Georgian to win this award, soon followed by Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. Both novelists explored the life of Georgians. However, Ms. Miller wrote about the poor farmers who did not own slaves and who labored from morning to night making a living. This book was a realistic picture of the life of a farmer, Lonzo, and his wife, Cean, in the period before the Civil War and contrasts str In 1934, Caroline Miller won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for Lamb in His Bosom. She was the first Georgian to win this award, soon followed by Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. Both novelists explored the life of Georgians. However, Ms. Miller wrote about the poor farmers who did not own slaves and who labored from morning to night making a living. This book was a realistic picture of the life of a farmer, Lonzo, and his wife, Cean, in the period before the Civil War and contrasts strongly to idealized propaganda written by Margaret Mitchell. I was most impressed with the hardship experienced by the women who endured pregnancy after pregnancy. The author describes postpartum depression accurately. She shows how each pregnancy weakens the mother. The swiftness of death of family members breaks the monotony of working on the farm day after day, month after month and year after year. The book ends when the Civil War is over, so there is no resolution to the problems Cean and her family will face after the war. There were some sections and descriptions that were boring, so I ended up stopping for a while to read other books. However, most of the book was engrossing and I would recommend that everyone who has read Gone with the Wind read this book in order to get a "fair and balanced view" of life in Georgia.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    In the 20-year history of our book club, one devoted to reading classics and Pulitzer and Nobel prize winning lit., we rarely have one that has brought as much acclaim as this book. Several of us had read the book and recommended it for years. The outdated title was off-putting to the other group members. They were all pleasantly astounded and still recommend it to any newcomers that attend our group with misty eyed fondness. Perhaps the title, which uses religious references that are not played In the 20-year history of our book club, one devoted to reading classics and Pulitzer and Nobel prize winning lit., we rarely have one that has brought as much acclaim as this book. Several of us had read the book and recommended it for years. The outdated title was off-putting to the other group members. They were all pleasantly astounded and still recommend it to any newcomers that attend our group with misty eyed fondness. Perhaps the title, which uses religious references that are not played out in a major way in the book, not to mention the archaic word "bosom," should be changed to make the book more assessable today. I am not sure what I would call it if I were in charge of the new title, other than "wonderful!"

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrea AKA Catsos Person

    1) Classic Bingo 2016-->O5 Prize Winning Female Author 2) Women's Lit Enthusiasts January 2016 BOTM This amazing book won the Pulitzer in 1934 and richly and justly deserves to be more widely known. 1) Classic Bingo 2016-->O5 Prize Winning Female Author 2) Women's Lit Enthusiasts January 2016 BOTM This amazing book won the Pulitzer in 1934 and richly and justly deserves to be more widely known.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jmdavidcoastal.edu

    My great-great aunt wrote this book and i have one of the first copies ever printed in 1933. i love the book because of all the work that she put into it just to write the story. Miller actually me with people and collected stories and wrote the book. it is very interesting from a historical and language aspect. read it!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Kovach

    This is a very powerful and beautifully-written book about rural Georgia in the 1800s. (It was Margaret Mitchell's favorite book!) If you are interested in American history, especially historical fiction about the antebellum South, check this out. (Some of the characters' ways of thinking are backward and offensive by our standards, especially regarding racial issues, but it is a book about uneducated people from a time long ago, and it can be valuable to see how far we've come racially, sociall This is a very powerful and beautifully-written book about rural Georgia in the 1800s. (It was Margaret Mitchell's favorite book!) If you are interested in American history, especially historical fiction about the antebellum South, check this out. (Some of the characters' ways of thinking are backward and offensive by our standards, especially regarding racial issues, but it is a book about uneducated people from a time long ago, and it can be valuable to see how far we've come racially, socially, medically [if you cut your foot back then and got an infection, you basically died], and in so many other ways. It's definitely better to live in our time than in any other.) This book won a Pulitzer and as sometimes happens, I'm glad I read it just because it won a Pulitzer. I've read quite a few fantastic books just because they won a Newbery, too. DON'T read only books that won one of these two awards, but DEFINITELY mix some in!

  23. 5 out of 5

    robin friedman

    A Novel Of Georgia Pioneers The Pulitzer Prize for fiction generally is awarded to novels that celebrate the diverse character or ideals of American life. In 1934, "Lamb in his Bosom", an unusual first novel by an unknown southern writer, Caroline Miller, received the Prize and became a best-seller. Miller (1903 -- 1992) continued to write through her life, but she never duplicated her initial success. "Lamb in his Bosom" is a historical novel set in rural south Georgia from about 1840 to the end A Novel Of Georgia Pioneers The Pulitzer Prize for fiction generally is awarded to novels that celebrate the diverse character or ideals of American life. In 1934, "Lamb in his Bosom", an unusual first novel by an unknown southern writer, Caroline Miller, received the Prize and became a best-seller. Miller (1903 -- 1992) continued to write through her life, but she never duplicated her initial success. "Lamb in his Bosom" is a historical novel set in rural south Georgia from about 1840 to the end of the Civil War. The setting is rarely explored in history or in literature; Miller brings it to life. Pioneers from North Carolina and Kentucky migrated to this remote area, full of swamps and pine forests and established hardscrabble farms. The population was sparse and life was hard. Miller's novel covers the lives of several generations of the pioneering farmers. Her primary character is a woman, Cean Smith, who at 15 marries an older man, Lonzo, and begins life with him in a cabin six miles from her family, the nearest neighbors. She helps Lonzo with the farm work, keeps the house, and over the marriage bears 13 children, 8 of which survive. The farm is self-sufficient, run entirely by husband and wife. There were no slaves in this part of Georgia, whose population consisted of small, yeoman farmers. Once each year Lonzo and other men travel 80 miles to the Georgia "Coast" to engage in barter. Miller threads Cean's story into the life of the community, particularly her parents and siblings. Her brother, Lias, marries a woman he meets on the coast, Margot, whom his family fears will be of questionable virtue. Problems in the marriage result instead from Lias' own wandering, violence, and unfaithfulness. Miller recreates beautifully the dialect of the place and time. The speech patterns are worth preserving and draw the reader into the story while making for slow reading. Miller offers beautifully descriptive passages of the nature and wildness that formed the settlers' lot -- including the swamps, capricious weather, animals, and snakes. She also offers a convincing portrayal of the rigors of farm life, from planting to cutting wood, to travel, and, especially bearing and raising many children. The book centers on the travails of life. During her first pregnancy, Cean is bitten by a rattlesnake and nearly dies. The pregnancies are always life-threatening. Many people die during the course of the book. Injuries from animals, momentary carelessness with an ax, and fire, for example, are rampant. Miller shows the gradual development and growth of the region. As the Civil War approaches, the population increases, and more formalized religion and education come into the area. When her husband dies, Cean gradually develops a relationship with a New Light minister, Dermid O'Connor. The religious nature of the simple farm pioneers receives much emphasis in the book. "Lamb in his Bosom" offers a realistic historical portrayal of a small, isolated area of rural America. The characters in the book have rude, harsh lives. Miller develops them with a great deal of sympathy and affection; she clearly considers these early Georgia pioneers as the salt of the earth and she effectively conveys her portrayals to the reader. Miller's book had a considerable influence on Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind". There is little of the romantic in Miller's book and the characters and stories in the two novels are far apart. Miller's novel had been almost forgotten before it was reissued in this this 1990's edition with an afterward by literary scholar Elizabeth Fox-Genovese. The book describes a specific place and moment of American time but it echoes something universal in American experience and in Americans' visions of themselves. The book deserved the Pulitzer Prize it received in 1934. Readers with an interest in the literature of the American South will enjoy getting to know this book. Robin Friedman

  24. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    An incredible and rare book. The authenticity of the characters and their world is what makes such a startling read, especially considering that the poor white southern antebellum story is one that - at least at the time of Caroline Miller's writing - lay largely undocumented. I was particularly interested to read in the afterword how she found her source material back in the 1930's, how she would travel with her children in tow, knocking on strangers' doors with the thin veil of asking for butt An incredible and rare book. The authenticity of the characters and their world is what makes such a startling read, especially considering that the poor white southern antebellum story is one that - at least at the time of Caroline Miller's writing - lay largely undocumented. I was particularly interested to read in the afterword how she found her source material back in the 1930's, how she would travel with her children in tow, knocking on strangers' doors with the thin veil of asking for butter or eggs, just to get to speak to those with ties to the previous generations. The speech, thoughts, ideas, and general inner workings of the characters make the plight of Cean Smith/Carver/O'Connor viscerally affecting. I can certainly appreciate the thinking behind New York Times' critic Louis Kronenberger's judging Lamb In His Bosom as "less notable as a novel than it is as a picture", but also think he missed the point. Plot heavy it is not - we often arrive at the facts after the event, which may disappoint some though I thought these decisions to cut much of the emotional drag was really pertinent to capturing the austerity of the times and, above all, brave. It may be more of a picture in the end, but I personally love these meandering stories that work their magic slowly. How else could we possibly feel like we have personally known a woman (Cean) through all the stages of her life in such a profound and delicately touching manner? A whole world is conjured up before our eyes and ears, in what is sometimes the most gorgeously poetic prose I've read. Thank you to the Goodreads group 'On the Southern Literary Trail' for bringing this book to my attention. I would never have read it otherwise, and I'd be all the poorer for it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Janice (JG)

    This is a novel of historical realism about the Georgia backwoods and the poor whites who pioneered there in the antebellum south. It is also a story about the women who were the glue that held it all together. Caroline Miller writes simply, with (as Elizabeth Fox-Genovese says in the Afterwords) "an extraordinary fidelity to the language of those she was writing about." This is a rare excursion into a time and place and people that history has never had much interest in, or information about. A This is a novel of historical realism about the Georgia backwoods and the poor whites who pioneered there in the antebellum south. It is also a story about the women who were the glue that held it all together. Caroline Miller writes simply, with (as Elizabeth Fox-Genovese says in the Afterwords) "an extraordinary fidelity to the language of those she was writing about." This is a rare excursion into a time and place and people that history has never had much interest in, or information about. As Fox-Genovese remarks, none of those poor whites had the time, inclination, or education to keep diaries and running accounts of their lives, and so we have no real record of life as they lived it. Caroline Miller came from roots in the frontier history of Georgia, and used her understanding and background to build this beautiful story by connecting with others who were the legacy of generations of Georgia backwoods farmers and poor whites. Miller's writing is so perfect, you don't even notice it. Instead, the time, and the place, and the people become totally real. This novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1934, the first Pulitzer winner to come out of Georgia, and was well deserving of it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Donna Brown

    I think this is one of the best books I've ever read. It recreates a time in Georgia before the Civil War in great and convincing detail. It also could apply to almost any American pioneer family in the country: out-of-use names for things, the hard work it took to do things we take for granted, the frustration of a woman who is pregnant most of her life. Ms. Miller gets into the minds of both the women and men very convincingly. According to her bio at the back of the book, she spent lots of tim I think this is one of the best books I've ever read. It recreates a time in Georgia before the Civil War in great and convincing detail. It also could apply to almost any American pioneer family in the country: out-of-use names for things, the hard work it took to do things we take for granted, the frustration of a woman who is pregnant most of her life. Ms. Miller gets into the minds of both the women and men very convincingly. According to her bio at the back of the book, she spent lots of time talking to elderly people who were the first to move to the area where she lived in Baxley, Georgia. The book was published in 1934, so there were still some who could remember back to their childhood, and the culture probably hadn't changed dramatically by then. Georgia was still a very rural, agricultural state. She does an amazing job of memorializing the language used back then. I still don't know what a pinder is, except that it comes out of the ground like a potato. These people work all the time. If you have seven daughters, you have to make seven quilts, sheets, blankets, and other things necessary to start a home, in preparation for seven wedding days. The men are expected to cut all the trees necessary to build a house and have them ready for the house raising when neighbors and family all come and help notch the logs and raise up a cabin. Of course, at first, you don't have a floor, just the ground. Caen Carver, the protagonist of this story, picked a very good husband, a hard worker and great provider for the children who were born every year or so. Those who didn't pick so well had a hard and bitter life. This book by far educated me as to the life of a woman of her time. It made me appreciate a lot of things I have now. To me, Caroline Miller ranks with the top writers of her time. Comparisons to Thomas Wolfe kept running through my mind while reading this. I was gratified to see in her bio that of the five Southern writers she considered very good, Wolfe was the one she admired most. Her prose is not as poetic as his, but it is lyrical and concise and, I think, just as good. I hope those who read it love it as much as I do. It's a shame that it's a book you never hear about anymore. Five stars from me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gary Lindsay

    If you are looking for a book with a strong female protagonist, I highly recommend this regional novel set in rural Georgia in the first half of the 19th century. Although it shares a general setting with Gone in the Wind, the two books couldn't be further apart in culture. The white farmers in this part of Georgia struggle to scratch out an existence with their own sweat and savvy, not through slave labor. The women in this time not only toiled in the field alongside their husbands, but milled If you are looking for a book with a strong female protagonist, I highly recommend this regional novel set in rural Georgia in the first half of the 19th century. Although it shares a general setting with Gone in the Wind, the two books couldn't be further apart in culture. The white farmers in this part of Georgia struggle to scratch out an existence with their own sweat and savvy, not through slave labor. The women in this time not only toiled in the field alongside their husbands, but milled the cotton, wove the cloth, preserved the food and bore the children. This book gives us both insight and empathy for these women, especially illuminating the spirituality that gave them both strength and hope and burdened them with guilt and sorrow. The book achieved great acclaim after winning the Pulitzer in 1934. Its financial and literary success led to greater interest in Georgia literature and the discovery of Gone With the Wind.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Rohrer-walsh

    Caroline Miller informs her readers about the people and life of the back woods of rural Georgia during the ante-bellum period of the US. More than that though, she teaches her readers about human endurance, suffering, hope, and constancy. We follow Cean--as mother, wife, daughter, and sister--through her struggles to become a woman she can look in the mirror and be proud of. Despite her hardships and disappointments, Cean self-actualizes, growing more confident, competent, and beautiful. The fi Caroline Miller informs her readers about the people and life of the back woods of rural Georgia during the ante-bellum period of the US. More than that though, she teaches her readers about human endurance, suffering, hope, and constancy. We follow Cean--as mother, wife, daughter, and sister--through her struggles to become a woman she can look in the mirror and be proud of. Despite her hardships and disappointments, Cean self-actualizes, growing more confident, competent, and beautiful. The first half of the novel paces more slowly, leisurely letting us get to know the families and their situations. The second half narrates more drama and culminates with a perspective while not totally unexpectedly, certainly intriguely.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan Bybee

    Winner of the 1934 Pulitzer prize. The story of Cean Carver Smith and her family, farmers in backwoods Georgia before and during the Civil War. While writing this novel, Caroline Miller went around visiting old-timers in her area and closely observed their dialect and learned from them the old ways of doing things. Some chapters are like reading an issue of Foxfire. Lamb In His Bosom was a powerful read and reminded me a great deal of The Awakening Land trilogy. I'm sure Conrad Richter was heavi Winner of the 1934 Pulitzer prize. The story of Cean Carver Smith and her family, farmers in backwoods Georgia before and during the Civil War. While writing this novel, Caroline Miller went around visiting old-timers in her area and closely observed their dialect and learned from them the old ways of doing things. Some chapters are like reading an issue of Foxfire. Lamb In His Bosom was a powerful read and reminded me a great deal of The Awakening Land trilogy. I'm sure Conrad Richter was heavily influenced by Caroline Miller.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bookslut

    It took me a while to get vested, but once I was, this was a very moving read. A nice change of pace from my other recent reading, and a great, humanizing reminder of how alike we all are.

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