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Complex story that prompted a lot of good discussion in book club.
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bookem | 70 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 27, 2024 |
I initially heard of this book through [a: Ana Mardoll|5757381|Ana Mardoll|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1519954093p2/5757381.jpg]'s liveread on Twitter (you can find it on her blog here) and was intrigued, so when I saw it as a "Lucky" read at my local library (meaning- cannot renew or put these copies on hold so it's 'lucky' that you can pick it up, usually hot new reads) I went for it.

Fraser's biography is one of the most thorough ones I've read- the last 25% of the book is end notes, mostly citations though there's the occasional added context- and it not only biographies Laura Ingalls Wilder but also her only child, Rose Wilder Lane.

And boy howdy, RWL is a pretty terrible person. Not just because she's a founding mother of Libertarianism, but also because she consistently plagiarizes, makes things up while calling it "truth" (because unlike facts, you can feel truth apparently?), and makes poor financial decisions while doubling down on how right she is. Some of Rose's biographers (see "The Ghost in the Little House") think RWL actually wrote the books, but in reality Rose acted as a secret editor of her mother's work before it was sent to the publishers, which is why as she got more political over time she inserted more jingoism into the later books.

Fraser's book also adds context to the actual events of Laura's childhood experiences. Though the books say the lands settlers claimed were devoid of people, there were very recently (forcibly) vacated by the Osage and the Dakota tribes, among other people. Pa Ingalls is his daughter's hero, yet he never successfully farmed any of his homestead attempts and later joined a populist party in response to the economic panics of the late 1800s. It's a layered thing (like pie) where propaganda by the railroads lured citizens out to attempt farming arid land caused much struggle which in turn became an inspirational tale of bootstraps under Wilder's pen.

Highly recommend if you've read the Little House books (I definitely went through a LH phase as a girl, even visiting the De Smet homestead and Plum Creek on a family road trip), or have an interest in the mythologizing of America's not-too-distant past. It definitely will color a reread, though (which I'll probably start).
… (lisätietoja)
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Daumari | 70 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 28, 2023 |
This was a pretty interesting book! I did like learning some new facts about Laura. A lot if historical insight.
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Sassyjd32 | 70 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 22, 2023 |
Like many Gen Xers, I grew up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s semi-autobiographical “Little House” novels. I enjoyed Fraser’s book, which is not only a biography of Wilder but, perhaps inadvertently, also of her daughter Rose Wilder Lane. Wilder and Lane had a fraught, enmeshed relationship which Fraser contrasted well with Laura’s loving and healthy relationship with her family of origin. Wilder is the hero of Fraser’s book while Lane is the anti-hero. Fraser writes with a definite political slant - her left-leaning interpretation of historical events contrasts sharply with Lane’s Libertarian ideology. Lane comes across as an unlikeable and mentally unstable individual who attempts to control her mother and everyone around her while developing extreme political views. Those views become a preoccupation for Fraser to the detriment of Wilder’s biography. I would have appreciated less a focus on Lane or at least an equal focus on Almanzo Wilder (Laura’s husband and the hero of her later three novels). Still, it is a very well-researched and well-written book. The background information about settlement, Westward expansion, and the genocide of Native Americans puts the Little House books into the broader historical perspective. Fraser does a good job explaining how the US government’s subsidizing of farming non-arable land in the Great Plains states, particularly the Dakotas, contributed to the horrific, climatic disasters of the Dust Bowl era. The book also serves as a reminder that American politics has almost always been polarized. Fraser’s book is worth the read not only for Wilder fans, but for anyone interested in American history and the development of Libertarianism.… (lisätietoja)
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Mortybanks | 70 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 21, 2023 |



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