Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie books Millions of readers 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 saga 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 Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser—the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House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. Revealing the grown-up story behind the most influential childhood epic of pioneer life, she also chronicles Wilder's tumultuous relationship with her journalist daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, setting the record straight regarding charges of ghostwriting that have swirled around the books. The Little House books, for all the hardships they describe, are paeans to the pioneer spirit, portraying it as triumphant against all odds. But Wilder’s real life was harder and grittier than that, a story of relentless struggle, rootlessness, and poverty. It was only in her sixties, after losing nearly everything in the Great Depression, that she turned to children’s books, recasting her hardscrabble childhood as a celebratory vision of homesteading—and achieving fame and fortune in the process, in one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches episodes in American letters. Spanning nearly a century of epochal change, from the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl, Wilder’s dramatic life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance. With fresh insights and new discoveries, Prairie Fires reveals the complex woman whose classic stories grip us to this day.

- Google

The 899th greatest nonfiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography (Pulitzer Prize)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Hardcover 1065970 $18.56 $16.00
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Paperback 8405 $13.99 $3.68 2018
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Kindle Edition 6 2017
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Hardcover 3982 $10.79 $5.58 2017