OWEN GLEN by Ben Ames Williams


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This is, I think, Williams' finest novel- but it wont be a popular one, in the sense that his House Divided and his homespun Maine folk stories are popular. Once read, this story of young Owen Glen, miner's son, idealist and realist fighting in the cause of labor, inevitably seems to epitomize an era, the last decade of the 19th century. In flashes cut into the story, news bits from the local paper, the march of events in the still young nation's coming of age, the period forms background for the growing pains of labor. Owen's father, Welsh born, was a leader in his own right -- and loved the cause, though he resented the inroads made by the United Mine Workers against the Knights of Labor. His mother, a gentle soul, was steel underneath, and kept ""her men"" right in their relations to each other, to the goals they sought, to the standards she kept despite poverty and insecurity. The setting is an Ohio mining town, where social lines were lightly drawn and Owen went to school with the owner's son and the operator's son. His first love was his pretty young teacher; his first awareness of sex terrified him into a protective shell which kept him almost naively apart until, as the story ends, the girl who loved him had to tell him so. It is a moving story in its simplicity; its power lies in its projection of a facet in America's growth. Its sale will be predicated largely on Ben Ames Williams' name.

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 1950
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin