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Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey Summary and Reviews

Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey

by Kathleen Rooney

Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey by Kathleen Rooney X
Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey by Kathleen Rooney
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About this book

Book Summary

A heart-tugging and gorgeously written novel based on the incredible true story of a WWI messenger pigeon and the soldiers whose lives she forever altered, from the author of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.

From the green countryside of England and the gray canyons of Wall Street come two unlikely heroes: one a pigeon and the other a soldier. Answering the call to serve in the war to end all wars, neither Cher Ami, the messenger bird, nor Charles Whittlesey, the army officer, can anticipate how their lives will briefly intersect in a chaotic battle in the forests of France, where their wills will be tested, their fates will be shaped, and their lives will emerge forever altered.

A saga of hope and duty, love and endurance, as well as the claustrophobia of fame, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey is a tragic yet life-affirming war story that the world has never heard. Inspired by true events of World War I, Kathleen Rooney resurrects two long-forgotten yet unforgettable figures, recounting their tale in a pair of voices that will change the way readers look at animals, freedom, and even history itself.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Imaginative and audacious...Rooney uses Cher Ami's bird's-eye view and curious afterlife to exhilarating, comic, and terrifying effect, while Whit's tragic fate is exquisitely rendered...Unforgettable...A celebration of animal intelligence, and tribute to altruism and courage." - Booklist (starred review)

"Rooney's writing has a delicate lyricism; particularly vivid are passages describing the horrific sounds (and smells) of battle...A curiosity but richly imagined and genuinely affecting." - Kirkus Reviews

"Cher Ami...is often appealing, but the two decorated war heroes are often tiresome, whether explaining how pigeons can't understand human racism or the hollow life of a hero who couldn't save his men. Rooney's characters' tendency to belabor the obvious ultimately sinks the book." - Publishers Weekly

"You'll be amazed at the depths of character Rooney plumbs from a literal bird's-eye-view, and by how she entwines the voices of a messenger pigeon and a witty, disconsolate veteran to craft a story based on true events." - Chicago Magazine

"Hands down, one of the best books of the year. Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey is a magnificent achievement, and everything I want from a novel. I loved it." - J. Ryan Stradal, bestselling author of The Lager Queen of Minnesota

"A properly mysterious, warmly convincing work of bright imagination. A pigeon and a haunted man returned generously, gently, to the story of the world." - Sebastian Barry, Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Days Without End

"Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey is a splendid novel; so smart, so beautifully written—a heroic tale of the cross-species relationship between pigeon and man during the Great War. Affecting and imaginative, this story vibrated deep in my heart because it all felt so very true." - Annie Hartnett, author of Rabbit Cake

"If you haven't yet discovered the offbeat genius of Kathleen Rooney, start here with a novel both heartbreaking and sharply funny. It justifies its own premise on the first page, and quickly surpasses that premise. Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey is brilliant and surprising at every turn." - Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer finalist for The Great Believers

The information about Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Celia

Historical Story that is Touching
This a beautifully written story told by a pigeon and a man. The setting is WWI, immediately before, and the period of three years after.

Cher Ami - the pigeon. Trained to be a homer (homing pigeon). Unselfishly donated to help in the war cause as a messenger. Cher Ami is one of the best homers and had won many prizes in competitions before being donated to the war cause. Her voice is fresh and lovable. I fell in love with this bird.

Charles Whittlesey - a lawyer before the war. Trained first as a private and again as an officer at Plattsburgh. Fought in WWI France. He was the commander of The Lost Battalion. The Lost Battalion is the name given to 9 companies of the 77th Division who were isolated for a week in the Argonne Forest in October 1918. His story is touching. I fell in love with Major Whittlesey too.

The story is roughly broken down into three segments: lives of both before the war, the scenes during the war, and the effects on all doughboys and doughpigeons after the war is over. The book starts out as light and fun, but increases in its seriousness as the book progresses. Be prepared for this change in tone.

I was deeply touched by this book, its historic events and the poetic prose Rooney used to describe the events and the thoughts of the two main characters. I will not forget the effect of this book on me for a long time to come.

This is my second Rooney. I read Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and LOVED it.
Next I will have to read some of Rooney's poetry. What a talented gal!!

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Author Information

Kathleen Rooney Author Biography

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a team of poets and their typewriters who compose commissioned poetry on demand. She teaches in the English Department at DePaul University, and her most recent books include the national best-seller, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin's Press 2017 / Picador 2018) and The Listening Room: A Novel of Georgette and Loulou Magritte (Spork Press, 2018). Her new novel, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey, based on a true story of the Great War, will be published by Penguin in August of 2020.

A winner of the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine, she is the author of nine books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including...

... Full Biography
Link to Kathleen Rooney's Website

Other books by Kathleen Rooney at BookBrowse
  • Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk jacket
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