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Publisher's Summary

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 Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser - the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House series -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.
Caroline Fraser is the editor of the Library of America edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books and the author of Rewilding the World and God's Perfect Child. Her writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, and the London Review of Books, among other publications. She lives in New Mexico.
©2017 Caroline Fraser (P)2017 Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Leahmgordon on 11-24-17

great listen for adult Wilder fans.

This text can be broken into two parts. The 1st part talks about Laura's youth and where the series took some liberties. The 2nd part talks about her adult life going into her daughter rose's life discussing how the books came into being and what has happened since the family all passed away legally In terms of the rights to the books. It is an excellent listen and I was captivated with all of the behind the scenes information. it made me hope that someone would attempt a new little house series that is accurate to Laura's writings. a must-listen for all Wilder fans.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful


By NMwritergal on 11-24-17

Don’t read if you don’t want your fond memories...

…of the Little House on the Prairie books or the TV series from the ‘70s entirely ruined.

Because I had read A Wilder Rose (fictionalized version on Rose Wilder Lane’s life based on a fair amount of research, it seems), my fond memories were already trashed, so I thought I’d listen to nonfiction. Things just got worse. Laura Ingalls Wilder is not particularly likeable (though very industrious) and her daughter, Rose is a lying, delusional, wretch. She seems bi-polar, narcissistic, and/or had borderline personality disorder.

I didn’t really know that the Ingall’s and the Wilder’s lives were always one step shy of completely falling apart, how poor they were, the reckless/impulsive/bad decisions that “Pa” and then Almanzo made.

What I most appreciated was that his story was replaced into historical context. Had it not been, I’m not sure I could have gotten through 21 hours. It was fairly depressing, and really Rose Wilder Lane…ugh. Lots of quotations from her personal diaries and letters. Add to the above that she was cruel, a racist and anti-Semite, always trying to undermine her mother. It was just too much and overwhelmed Wilder's story.

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17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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