Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls WilderPrairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 rounded down to 3 stars. There is certainly a lot of detail here for Laura Ingalls Wilder fans, but I found the author to be a very harsh critic of her daughter Rose, portraying her as mentally ill and perhaps sociopathic. Perhaps she was. I found myself disliking her intensely. Whether the author’s grasp of psychology, history, and politics is accurate or not, it is certainly biased. So take this with a large grain of salt. I felt as if Fraser was trying to set fire to everything you think you know about Wilder and the Little House books. I’m no conservative or libertarian but I got tired of her flogging her political views. I think it created a distorted view of the lives of Laura and her family. Having said that, I still found much that was interesting. Just balance this one out with other biographies.

Audio book narrated by Christina Moore.

Book Description: The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie book series. Millions of fans of Little House on the Prairie believe they know Laura Ingalls – the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains, and the woman who wrote the famous autobiographical books. But the true story of her life has never been fully told. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser – the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House series – masterfully fills in the gaps in Wilder’s biography, setting the record straight regarding charges of ghostwriting that have swirled around the books and uncovering the grown-up story behind the most influential childhood epic of pioneer life. Set against nearly a century of epochal change, from the Homestead Act and the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Wilder’s dramatic life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance. Offering fresh insight and new discoveries about Wilder’s life and times, Prairie Fires is the definitive book about Wilder and her world.

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