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Prairie Fires
Prairie Fires: The Life and Times of Laura Ingalls Wilder | Caroline Fraser
The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie book series Millions of readers of Little House on the Prairie believe they know Laura Ingallsthe 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. The Little House books were not only fictionalized but brilliantly edited, a profound act of myth-making and self-transformation. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraserthe editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House seriesmasterfully fills in the gaps in Wilders 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, Wilders dramatic life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance. Settling on the frontier amidst land-rush speculation, Wilders family encountered Biblical tribulations of locusts and drought, fire and ruin. Deep in debt after a series of personal tragedies, including the loss of a child and her husbands stroke, Wilder uprooted herself again, crisscrossing the country and turning to menial work to support her family. In middle age, she began writing a farm advice column, prodded by her self-taught journalist daughter. And at the age of sixty, after losing nearly everything in the Depression, she turned to childrens books, recasting her hardscrabble childhood as a triumphal vision of homesteadingand achieving fame and fortune in the process, in one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches stories in American letters. Offering fresh insight and new discoveries about Wilders life and times, Prairie Fires reveals the complex woman who defined the American pioneer character, and whose artful blend of fact and fiction grips us to this day.
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intothehallofbooks
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I‘m nervous about starting this one, which is what has kept me from picking it up before now. Opinions I‘ve seen range from the “don‘t read this if you love the Little House books” to “one of the best books I‘ve ever read” and I‘m terrified that it‘ll destroy everything I love of Little House and Laura Ingalls Wilder. (But I hope not!)

pigeonsandcrows I love the Little House books and still really enjoyed this one. 1mo
intothehallofbooks @pigeonsandcrows I‘m so glad to see you say this! 1mo
pigeonsandcrows @intothehallofbooks I think if you're ok with Laura Ingalls Wilder having some quirks and flaws and her daughter as well and you recognize the Little House books were fiction and written by human beings, it actually makes them even more interesting to have the context of this book- and no less charming, IMHO. 1mo
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Daisey I agree with @pigeonsandcrows. I truly appreciated the information in this book. 1mo
BirdsandBelles I look forward to hearing what you think when you‘re finished with the book. 👍🏻 1mo
Lcsmcat I agree with the others. It will show Laura Ingalls Wilder as a full human being, not an icon. I thought it brought richness to the stories. 1mo
46 likes6 comments
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GreatBookStudy
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Mehso-so

Mixed feelings. Fraser put in a lot of research, but it wasn't supporting evidence for “the American dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder.“ Instead, it was a hit piece on Rose Wilder Lane and anyone or any idea associated with her. I felt terrible for having read it. For some, it may corrupt your positive feelings about the Little House series; so if you love that series, don't read Prairie Fires. It isn't worth it. #LittleHouse #LauraIngallsWilder

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Jenken1998
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Pickpick

A biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. A story about America's expansion west, pioneers, politics, agriculture and hardship. It made me look at her Little House books in a completely different light and now i am going to reread them. Oh and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane definitely was a hot mess!

melissajayne You might be interested in the book I have tagged. 3mo
59 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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rubyslippersreads
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This biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a #kindledeal today. #kindle #littlehouseontheprairie #ebook

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Amiable
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Pickpick

For the “something with history” box in #nonfiction2019. A fascinating -- and heartbreaking -- bio of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the historical evolutions during her life. I knew the children's books she wrote were historical fiction. I never realized just how MUCH fiction. This blew the shine off my kiddy impressions of Wilder -- her real life was much more complicated and difficult. And frankly, I wasn't sure how much I liked her by the end. 👍🏼

50 likes1 comment
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Amiable
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Sunday morning is where it‘s at. 👍🏼

kspenmoll That twisty glazed pastry looks fabulous!!!! 6mo
Amiable @kspenmoll Pecan braid from Panera! It‘s awesome. 🥰 6mo
kspenmoll @Amiable That description will send me the 10 miles to Panera! 6mo
76 likes3 comments
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Amiable
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Settled in for my hip and happening Saturday night plans — reading. 😎📚Thoroughly enjoying this biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was even more kickass than I thought. When she married Almanzo in 1885, Laura got the minister to agree not to ask her to obey her husband. IN 1885. 😲🙌🏼

8little_paws I'm actually rereading all the little house books this spring/summer prior to reading this 6mo
bookandcat LOVED this book! 6mo
Kloves2read Love the Little House series! Both the show and books! I must get my hands on this! 😉 5mo
94 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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Lcsmcat
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1. Berries, especially spring strawberries ;
2. Tagged - 640 pages- it‘s been too busy a year to read real chunksters;
3. I don‘t read them;
4. Where I am. I‘m happy here. 😀
#wondrouswednesday @Eggs

Eggs Thanks for playing ❣️ 7mo
42 likes1 comment
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Daisey
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Pickpick

I finished this one today and thoroughly enjoyed it! I consider this a well-rounded biography that focuses on Laura but also covers Rose‘s life and role in her mother‘s writing well. Highly recommended!

#nonfiction #audiobook #LauraIngallsWilder

59 likes1 stack add
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Daisey
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Pioneer Girl is still sitting unread on my nightstand, but I‘m finally making time to listen to this biography. I‘ve loved the Little House books for a long time and have a lot of respect Laura‘s fortitude. This biography takes away some of the magic of the books (although I was aware of many of these aspects), but as an adult I also love seeing the real strength and struggle behind those stories.

#audiobook #nonfiction #LauraIngallsWilder

71 likes1 stack add
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Ejensen86
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Pickpick

1. Join the Chautauqua Literary & Scientific Circle with completion of Prairie Fires
2. Nothing specific but probably something healthy to start off the new year
3. RBG
4. May
5. Weirdly,no one I know has a birthday in January
#friyayintro @howjessreads
4.

Nessavamusic 👋🏻Fellow May birthday! 9mo
Eggbeater Welcome to Litsy! 🐙 9mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🌼🌼 9mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 📖💙 9mo
23 likes4 comments
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Lcsmcat
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This was definitely a book about the next line in #whoLivesWhoDies - Who tells your story? Rose Lane shamelessly stole her mother‘s stories for her own fiction, then fought for the rights and income from the Little House books after her mother‘s death. #musicalnewyear @Cinfhen @vivastory

Cinfhen This has been on my radar for awhile...but #pagecountphobia is holding me off 9mo
Lcsmcat @Cinfhen I wouldn‘t say that this is a fast read, but it‘s not a difficult read. It took me a week, but that was during the holidays. And I skipped the footnotes once I figured out that they were the reference type rather than the further explanation type. 😀 9mo
Cinfhen That‘s a good way to save time 😉😂😂 9mo
vivastory I wasn't familiar with this story. Sounds intriguing! 9mo
54 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

This is my first book finished in 2019. At first I thought Fraser was focusing too much on politics, but it all made sense in the end. She delves deeply into the lives of Laura and Rose, debunking myths and exposing complexities. I would have loved more copies of the photos she describes, but the ones included are interesting. I‘m not sure she ended up liking her subject (and she didn‘t like Lane or McBride!) But that doesn‘t hurt the book. 👇🏻

Ejensen86 I‘m reading Prairie Fires right now! 9mo
Lcsmcat I didn‘t read these as a child, but came to them as an adult, reading to my children (and I didn‘t watch the TV show). So my take is different from someone who fell in love with them at 7 or 8. We did take the kids to DeSmett on a cross country camping trip, and saw Silver Lake and the house, etc. This biography of a book added to my appreciation of it all. 9mo
ravenlee I didn‘t read these as a child, either, but my MIL gave them to me years ago. I couldn‘t get into them. Then I tried to share them with my daughter, but I have a really hard time with them. So much seems off to me - not just racism that is probably pretty accurate for the time, but Pa seems feckless and shifty and I have real problems with the parenting choices. I really struggle with this as a classic. 9mo
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Lcsmcat @ravenlee And Fraser addresses all that. I think a fan-since-childhood might have some illusions destroyed. But coming to it as an adult, understanding the politics of the times and the influences on both Wilder and Lane, I gained a deeper appreciation for a complicated family in incredibly difficult circumstances. 9mo
Reviewsbylola This is on my TBR. 9mo
Daisey I hope to get this book this year. 9mo
ravenlee I think I‘d enjoy Prairie Fires more than the series itself, and it might allow me to get more out of the series. I gave it to my MIL last year; maybe I can borrow it next time we visit. She really enjoyed it, too. 9mo
56 likes1 stack add7 comments
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Lcsmcat
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I had never heard this before. My daughters were both born at Holy Cross. And Mt. Olivet is the big cemetery that everyone knows about there.

41 likes1 stack add
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Lcsmcat
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Next up on my “it was a Christmas present last year so I ought to read it before this Christmas” list. 🤷🏻‍♀️#somanybookssolittletime

GingerAntics 🤣😂🤣 love that reading list title. This is why I need more books for Christmas. In fact, this is why I need books for Christmas. 🤣😂🤣 10mo
CouronneDhiver Omg. Me too. I‘m sooo guilty! 10mo
LeahBergen I received this for Xmas last year, too (and it‘s still TBR). 😆😆 10mo
Lcsmcat @LeahBergen @CouronneDhiver @GingerAntics I‘m enjoying it, and wondering why I didn‘t jump right in last winter, but I won‘t finish it by Tuesday. There‘s so much good stuff there, I‘m going to take my time. 10mo
GingerAntics You tried at least. 10mo
60 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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crhealey
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Pickpick

Strong contender for best book I've read in 2018

8 likes1 stack add
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Eggs
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vkois88 I don't think I've heard of this one... 11mo
67 likes1 stack add1 comment
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crhealey
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Made Giada DeLaurentis's Turkey Bolognese Sauce using leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I think Laura Ingalls Wilder and her frontier spirit might approve! #nowaste #nonfictionnovember

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lynneamch
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Really enjoying this look at Laura Ingalls Wilder's real life, not only in a little house on the prarie. Filled with factual and detailed history, this should be required reading. #gift #music #Gratitude30 @hermyknee

33 likes4 stack adds
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LiterRohde
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“By 1867, there were only fifty Dakota left in Minnesota. That year, a baby girl was born just across the Mississippi, in a little house in the Big Woods.”

#QuotsyNov18 | 4: #Iconic

📷Made with Typorama

lynneamch I'm reading this one, too. Such an important book. I think it should be required reading in school; a fascinating way to learn history. 11mo
LiterRohde @lynneamch Even in this short quote, I love how it puts the idealized stories she wrote of the pioneer life in context with the decimation of another culture. 11mo
63 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Cindikg
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Pickpick

Very interesting book that could have been titled as a dual biography of Laura and her daughter Rose, which is fitting because the Little House books could have been offered as having dual authors, Laura and Rose. Both women were talented and complicated and fascinating to read about.

5 likes1 stack add
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Cindikg
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About to start this book. I learned to read with the Little House books and reread each one several times as a child. Looking forward to reading about the real life struggle of this amazing author.

8 likes1 stack add
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Cakeypal
Pickpick

Insightful biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I learned a great deal about her historical context—including American Indian histories—and the poverty she suffered for much of her life.

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hfpotier
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Book Outlet haul

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Julsmarshall
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New reading spot with my niece pup. At my sister‘s, she is s reader like me and has a great reading room! #currentread

rubyslippersreads ❤️🐶❤️ 1y
74 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ElishaLovesBooks
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So I‘ve been having phone issues-my camera broke. I was trying not to make it a big deal but I NEED my camera. Today my wonderful husband got my phone replaced after many other things we tried. I am very thankful! I am also very thankful for this #librarybookhaul 📚📚 I went to get the tagged book which was on hold but then I saw the others! It was like the library read my mind! All books I have been wanting to read!! 💙

blondie Year One is one of my favorite books 💙💙 1y
ElishaLovesBooks @blondie I really liked it too! 😊 1y
67 likes2 comments
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Ericalambbrown
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Pickpick

Good book if you are interested in Wilder or her times. I was struck by how some of the political rhetoric of her era sounds eerily similar to what we hear today. Very interesting but may leave you somewhat disillusioned if you are emotionally invested in the “good old days” nostalgia of the Little House books or TV show.

27 likes2 stack adds
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jberos
Pickpick

I grew up reading the Little House books and loving the world Laura Ingalls Wilder created. I was even Laura for Halloween one year! This books brought new insights about Wilder and her family...a fascinating read that provided depth and context to her life.

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Lissa00
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First of all, this is a really good book. But more important, this picture of Almanzo Wilder reminds me of someone famous, but I can‘t quite figuring out. Any ideas?

jessberk13 Paul Walker? 1y
Lissa00 @jessberk13 Yes!!! I definitely see that! 1y
Beckys_Books Too bad Google Arts & Culture only works with selfies! 1y
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Lcsmcat @Beckys_Books I‘ve used it on photos before. Just take a picture of the picture. (I used it to identify a portrait.) 1y
Hooked_on_books Armie Hammer? I loved this book. 1y
Lissa00 @Hooked_on_books Armie Hammer is who I was thinking of! It was on the tip of my brain, I just couldn‘t come up with the name. I like this book a lot...but I‘m definitely not a huge fan of Rose after reading it. 1y
Hooked_on_books @Lissa00 I agree. Rose is dreadful. 1y
86 likes1 stack add8 comments
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RobinGustafson
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Happy to see a possible connection with Laura Ingalls Wilder!

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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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Pickpick

Laura Ingalls Wilder deserves a tome like the one Caroline Fraser has written about her. But Prairie Fires is about much more than one women. And I found both pros and cons in the book for just that reason. While it never veered “off course,” the path Prairie Fires took was as wide as those fires themselves. It‘s about family, politics, history, and unrelenting poverty. Not quick, but good.

Full review: www.TheBibliophage.com
#thebibliophage2018

BarbaraTheBibliophage @jillrhudy Me as well. I‘ll never look at a grasshopper the same way. 🦗 1y
117 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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RobinGustafson
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So excited to begin reading this historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. Awards: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography #puliterprize2018 #nbccawards2017 #lauraingallswilder #carolinefraser #sundayreading #womenshistory #littlehouseontheprairie

15 likes2 stack adds
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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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1. I love macro photos of flowers. Didn‘t take this one but it came up in a search for sunshine! (See no. 4)
2. Meticulous biography of a beloved writer and her truly annoying daughter.
3. How about nonfiction with a medical bent? Memoirs, science-y stuff, anything.
4. It‘s been raining nonstop for days. No end in sight. 😝
5. Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday! Anybody going?

#HumpDayPost @MinDea

BarbaraTheBibliophage @tonyahoswalt Ooh Yes! This one‘s on my list also. Plus going to his museum in Philadelphia. 1y
MicrobeMom When the doctor becomes the patient. So good!! 1y
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MicrobeMom I use this in my Virology class and the students love it!!! History of the polio vaccine development! 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @MicrobeMom I loved When Breath Becomes Air. And I‘ll definitely check out Polio—Thanks!! 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Pamwurtzler Yes, and I loved it! It was one of my gateway books to this genre. 👏🏻👏🏻 1y
whippoorwill815 This could be a bit morbid for some, but I found it fascinating! 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @whippoorwill815 Thanks for the reminder. I have to see if it‘s on my shelf...I‘ve forgotten. 😜 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @MinDea Thanks! I loved Henrietta but the other is new to me and looks good! 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Moray_Reads Thanks—this looks interesting! 1y
110 likes14 comments
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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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1. Pulitzer-Prize winning biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It‘s a bit of a slow go, but I do like it.
2. My dad was a big reader. Mom taught me to read, but he was my day-to-day example.
3. Whenever my eyes are open. Cannot sleep without a few pages first.
4. I‘m always most absorbed in the characters I‘m currently reading.

@JoScho #manicmonday

JoScho Great answers 📚😊❤️ 1y
92 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Vertabrain
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Pickpick

A comprehensive biography of one of America‘s most beloved writers, this book dives deep into the complex historical, political and cultural climates of the times, and does not sugar-coat Laura‘s personality, viewpoints, or relationships. Rose Wilder Lane is also rendered honestly, as is the often tumultuous relationship between mother and daughter. The Pulitzer was well-deserved! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lcsmcat On my TBR. I need to bump it up. 1y
Vertabrain @Lcsmcat You won‘t be disappointed! I actually heard mixed reviews from some people, which surprised me. I learned far more than I expected...🤗 1y
JSW This was easily one of the best I‘ve read this year. Meticulously researched. 1y
Vertabrain @JSW I couldn‘t agree more. One of the best biographies I‘ve read in ages. 1y
33 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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bnp
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Halve to take this one back to the library & get in line again.

#womenauthirs

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lennearb
Pickpick

Fascinating true story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life... be prepared to be both impressed and disillusioned with the real version of a person you grew up thinking of as a friend.

bnp I'm reading this right now. It's interesting, andoffers a different slant than The Ghost in the Little House, which I read last year. 1y
lennearb I haven't read that one. Maybe I'll put it on my list. 1y
9 likes1 stack add2 comments
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bnp
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8 books read in April, only 1 purchased, yay me!
4 eaudio, 2 ebooks, & 2 hard copy.

My #carryover into May is Prarie Fires- it's good, but I can only read bits at a time.

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RobinGustafson
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‪Happy #IndependentBookstoreDay! Not that I needed an excuse to visit The Avid Reader in Sacramento ‬

BookishTrish Sweet haul. 1y
21 likes1 comment
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JSW
Pickpick

Excellent, thorough biography. Probably the best biography I‘ve read because I never got bored. I was irked by how much of it was also the biography of Rose Wilder Lane, but that was the author‘s point - you can‘t tell Laura‘s story without Rose‘s. Weird parasitic stuff, their relationship. Great read.

Christine Great review, and agreed! :) 1y
bnp @JSW I'm in the middle of this now. Having read The ghost in the little house, it's interesting to see a different slant on the writing and relationship. 1y
29 likes2 comments
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lennearb

If this book does anything for your understanding of US history, it should destroy the concept of a more stable past where people settled and stayed put for generations and where hard work always gave you a chance to succeed.

As someone who grew up loving the Little House books, this look at the reality of Laura Ingalls Wilder's real childhood is fascinating.

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Christine
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Pickpick

I loved all things Little House as a kid, so that plus the Pulitzer win made me pick this one up. Very, very good. I knew little of things like the complexity of the relationship between Wilder and her daughter Rose/their travels/their (esp. Rose‘s) politics. Also loved all of the Midwest history, much of which I should have known/remembered but didn‘t. Excellent epilogue, too, and writing good enough to make a long-ish, dense biography fly by.

63 likes3 stack adds
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JSW
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The more I read about her, the less I like Rose Wilder Lane. She‘s a piece of work.

melissajayne Sounds like the current occupant of the White House. 1y
JSW @melissajayne riiight?!?! 🤡 1y
28 likes2 comments
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JSW
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This book is full of meaningful context, such as this ecological and environmental info. We can‘t just do what we want to nature... it has an impact, often a harmful one.

BarbaraTheBibliophage I‘m so anxious to read this. Contemplating trying to talk my IRL book group into it. 1y
JSW @BarbaraTheBibliophage it‘s worth the read. There is so much I‘ve learned about US history. 1y
28 likes2 comments
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lahousewyfe

I can't be the only one excited about this book winning the Pulitzer, right? Finding a bio of Laura Ingalls Wilder on the list today made me smile! Adding to my TBR now!

RaimeyGallant Good to know! And welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. @LitsyWelcomeWagon 1y
Chelleo Welcome to Litsy! New book friends are the best! We hope you‘re loving it here! Checkout these #Litsytips: http://bit.ly/litsytips and #LitsyHowTo videos: http://bit.ly/litsyvideos There‘s so many fun things to do: book exchanges, buddy reads, photo challenges and more! Check out @LitsyHappenings for details. @LitsyWelcomeWagon 1y
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Lmstraubie Welcome @lahousewyfe! There is so much bookish goodness here! Although there are so many amazing people to follow here are just a few to check out @swishandflick @emilyhaldi @Reviewsbylola @Mdargusch @tjwill @andrew65 Thanks for the tag @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 😘 1y
Reviewsbylola I added this to my TBR too after seeing it on the Pulitzer list!! 1y
lahousewyfe @Reviewsbylola I know! I can't resist Laura. She's in my DNA. 1y
Andrew65 Welcome to Litsy @lahousewyfe 😊, and thanks for the tag @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🙌. 1y
Jas16 Welcome to Litsy! Hope you love it here! 1y
Wife Welcome to Litsy!🌹 1y
9 likes1 stack add11 comments
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booklover76
Mehso-so

Like a lot of young children I loved Wilder's books. I honestly think that between her and Gone With The Wind is why I went for a degree in history.
This book starts our very promising. But it slowly begins to drag. Midway I was checking to see how many more pages.

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Ericalambbrown
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So, apparently this book won the #pulitzer today for biography. I had not heard of it before. This surprises me because I live about an hour from Laura Ingalls Wilder‘s Home in Mansfield, MO. My husband‘s step grandmother, who was a docent for years at the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum, is buried in the same cemetery as the Wilders. We typically hear these “Laura” things when no one else cares. I just stacked this book. I ❤️ Litsy!

28 likes2 stack adds
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DebBates101
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Adding to my tbr and cant wait! This Book About The Woman Behind 'Little House On The Prairie' Just Won A Pulitzer Prize - Bustlehttps://apple.news/AO8QTbFQiRuqKmnWmvGMDtg

Tjackson I saw this! Looking forward to reading it, too! 1y
emilyhaldi Awesome!!! #stacked! 1y
Ericalambbrown I live about an hour from her home in Mansfield, MO. I had not heard of this book. I need to check it out. 1y
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Bourriquet76 Loved it! Christmas gift from my husband. :) 1y
DebBates101 @Bourriquet76 I‘m so glad to hear good things about it! I‘m going to read it next 😆 1y
DebBates101 @Ericalambbrown Im in STL and I have never been to the LIW house. I think I need to plan a trip! You have been there? 1y
Ericalambbrown @DebBates101 I have! It‘s been several years. I haven‘t seen the new improvements they put in a couple of years ago, but I‘ve heard great things about it. There is another nifty place in Mansfield called Baker Creek Seed Company. It‘s a fun old timely place to visit, too, if you do make a trip to Mansfield. 1y
Ericalambbrown @DebBates101 If you are on FB, check out the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum page. They posted a video of someone playing Pa‘s fiddle this afternoon. It‘s rather lovely. 1y
DebBates101 @Ericalambbrown thats awesome! Thx for the heads up 1y
97 likes12 stack adds9 comments
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kdwinchester
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Congrats to Caroline Fraser for winning the #pulitzerprize for biography!! 🎉

Kimberlone I didn‘t even know this book existed! The Little House books were my absolute favorite as a girl. Definitely need to read this! 1y
120 likes9 stack adds1 comment
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BookishMarginalia
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105 likes2 stack adds