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The Gertrude Polk Brown Lecture Series - Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, March 19, 2020: 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Venue: The Temple, Congregation Adath Israel Brith Sholom

Add To Calendar   19/03/2020 18:30:00 19/03/2020 19:30:00 America/Atikokan The Gertrude Polk Brown Lecture Series - Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Thursday, March 19, 6:30-7:30 p.m.| Caroline Fraser will be interviewed by Richard Clay about her book, Prairie Fires, which fills in the gaps in Laura Ingalls Wilder's biography. The Temple, Congregation Adath Israel Brith Sholom, 5101 US HWY 42, Louisville, Kentucky, 40241 The Filson Historical Society info@filsonhistorical.org false DD/MM/YYYY


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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 Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser—the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House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.

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.



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