Caroline Fraser - Prairie Fires - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9780708898680
    • Publication date:23 Nov 2017
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    • ISBN:9780708898697
    • Publication date:23 Nov 2017

Prairie Fires

The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

By Caroline Fraser

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The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie book series

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD

'Just as gripping as the original novels . . . As pacy and vivid as one of Wilder's own narratives, this surprising biography is immensely revealing both about Wilder and about America's founding myths' Sunday Times

'"Little House" devotees will appreciate the extraordinary care and energy Fraser devotes to uncovering the details of a life that has been expertly veiled by myth' New York Times Book Review

Millions of readers of the 'Little House' books believe they know Laura Ingalls Wilder - the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains as her family chased their American dream. But the true story of her life has never been fully told.

Drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries and public records, Caroline Fraser masterfully fills in the gaps in Wilder's biography, uncovering the grown-up story behind the best-loved childhood epic of pioneer life.

Set against nearly a century of unimaginable change, from the Homestead Act and the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Wilder's life was full of drama and adversity. Settling on the frontier amid land-rush speculation, her family endured Biblical tribulations of locusts and drought, poverty and want, before she left at the age of eighteen to marry Almanzo. This is where the books end, but there is so much more to tell; deep in debt after a series of personal tragedies, Laura and Almanzo uprooted themselves once again, crisscrossing the country, taking menial jobs to support the family. In middle age, she began writing a farm advice column, prodded by her journalist daughter Rose. And at the age of sixty, fearing the loss of almost everything in the Depression, she turned to children's books, recasting her extraordinarily difficult childhood as a triumphal vision of homesteading - achieving fame and fortune in the process.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's life is one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches stories in American letters. Offering fresh insight and new discoveries, 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.

Biographical Notes

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, New Yorker, Atlantic, Los Angeles Times and London Review of Books, among other publications. She lives in New Mexico.

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  • ISBN: 9780708898666
  • Publication date: 23 Nov 2017
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Fleet
[This new biography is] just as gripping as the original novels . . . As pacy and vivid as one of Wilder's own narratives, this surprising biography is immensely revealing both about Wilder and about America's founding myths — Eleanor Mills, Sunday Times
Fraser's gripping account is much more than a biography. Hugely recommended, even if you haven't read Wilder — Claire Lowdon, Sunday Times, Books of the Year
A fascinating tale, which spans an extraordinary period of American history . . . Whether you're a Wilder fan or have never picked up one of her books, this is compelling stuff - and as a history of the American dream, it's hard to beat — Telegraph
The sweep of the story is magnificent — Laura Freeman, The Times
Memories can be both "treasures" and "consuming fires of torment", as Laura Ingalls Wilder knew. Caroline Fraser's rigorously researched biography shows how the author's life was so much more painful than it appears in her writings. Having combed through manuscripts, letters and other documents, Fraser has gained insight into the history that shaped her, including the dust bowl and the great depression. She explores the dreams that sustained the writer - and gets to the heart of a pioneer spirit. Here is an atmospheric portrait of places as much as of a person, too: the log cabin in which Wilder was born, the Great Plains, the dense forests and, of course, the prairies — Anita Sethi, Observer
Tells a story that is far more intriguing than the myth — Oldie
Caroline Fraser's expert account of both Laura and her troubled daughter Rose Wilder Lane, who is widely thought to have over-influenced her mother's oeuvre, minutely dissects their related lives and careers to explain and illustrate modern America's inviolate founding myth . . . should stand as the last word on a long life...Her story is everything you never knew and, now more than ever, need to understand about a defining element of the national character and the great American dream — Country Life
An absorbing new biography [that] deserves recognition as an essential text.... For anyone who has drifted into thinking of Wilder's 'Little House' books as relics of a distant and irrelevant past, reading Prairie Fires will provide a lasting cure.... Meanwhile, 'Little House' devotees will appreciate the extraordinary care and energy Fraser devotes to uncovering the details of a life that has been expertly veiled by myth — Patricia Nelson Limerick, New York Times Book Review
The definitive biography...Magisterial and eloquent...A rich, provocative portrait — Star Tribune
Fraser's meticulous, smart, historically informed biography shows where the books hew to - and diverge from - the facts of Wilder's long and eventful life...Fraser got a head start on her work for this biography when she edited the Library of America editions of Laura Ingalls Wilder's writing. Even readers who have already enjoyed those annotated volumes will find a trove of new material in Prairie Fires, which puts the books in a richer, more complicated context without undermining their value. Fraser concludes, "They are not, as Wilder and her daughter had claimed, true in every particular. Yet the truth about our history is in them. ...Anyone who would ask where we came from and why, must reckon with them — Sarah Harrison Smith, the Amazon Book Review, An Amazon Best Book of November 2017
Unforgettable... A magisterial biography, which surely must be called definitive. Richly documented (it contains 85 pages of notes), it is a compelling, beautifully written story.... One of the more interesting aspects of this wonderfully insightful book is its delineation of the fraught relationship between Wilder and her deeply disturbed, often suicidal daughter. But it is its marriage of biography and history - the latter providing such a rich context for the life - that is one of the great strengths of this indispensable book — Booklist, starred review
Engrossing... Exhilarating... Lovers of the series will delight in learning about real-life counterparts to classic fictional episodes, but, as Fraser emphasizes, the true story was often much harsher. Meticulously tracing the Ingalls and Wilder families' experiences through public records and private documents, Fraser discovers failed farm ventures and constant money problems, as well as natural disasters even more terrifying and devastating in real life than in Wilder's writing — Publishers Weekly
In the twenty-first century, the tense and secret authorial partnership between Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane has emerged as the most complex and fascinating psychological saga of mother-daughter collaboration in American literary history. Caroline Fraser's deeply researched and stimulating biography analyzes their controversial relationship and places Wilder's influential fiction in the contexts of other myths of pioneer women and the frontier — Elaine Showalter
A fantastic book. We've long understood the Little House series to be a great American story, but Caroline Fraser brings it unprecedented new context, as she masterfully chronicles the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family alongside the complicated history of our nation. Prairie Fires represents a significant milestone in our understanding of Wilder's life, work, and legacy — Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie
Fleet

Sharp

Michelle Dean
Authors:
Michelle Dean

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PublicAffairs

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Timothy Denevi
Authors:
Timothy Denevi

Hunter S. Thompson is best remembered today as a caricature: drug-addled, sharp-witted, and passionate; played with bowlegged aplomb by Johnny Depp; memorialized as a Doonesbury character. In all this entertainment, the true figure of Thompson has unfortunately been forgotten.In this perceptive, dramatic book, Tim Denevi recounts the moment when Thompson found his calling. As the Kennedy assassination and the turmoil of the 60s paved the way for Richard Nixon, Thompson greeted him with two very powerful emotions: fear and loathing. In his fevered effort to take down what he saw as a rising dictator, Thompson made a kind of Faustian bargain, taking the drugs he needed to meet newspaper deadlines and pushing himself beyond his natural limits. For ten years, he cast aside his old ambitions, troubled his family, and likely hastened his own decline, along the way producing some of the best political writing in our history.This remarkable biography reclaims Hunter Thompson for the enigmatic true believer he was: not a punchline or a cartoon character, but a fierce, colorful opponent of fascism in a country that suddenly seemed all too willing to accept it.

Little, Brown

An Orchestra of Minorities

Chigozie Obioma
Authors:
Chigozie Obioma
Robinson

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

Michele J. Gelfand
Authors:
Michele J. Gelfand

"A groundbreaking analysis of what used to be an impenetrable mystery: how and why do cultures differ? Gelfand shows that a wide range of divides of class, culture, and coalition are traceable to an intriguing source. Anyone interested in our cultural divides will find tremendous insight in Rule Makers, Rule Breakers." - Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment NowWhy are clocks in Germany always correct, while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why are Singaporeans jailed for selling gum? Why do women in New Zealand have three times the sex of females worldwide? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? And why does each generation of Americans give their kids weirder and weirder names? Curious about the answers to these and other questions, award-winning social psychologist Michele Gelfand has spent two decades studying both tight societies (with clearly stated rules and codes of ethics) and loose societies (more informal communities with weak or ambiguous norms). Putting each under the microscope, she conducted research in more than fifty countries and collaborated with political scientists, neuroscientists, computer scientists, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Her fascinating conclusion: behaviour seems largely dependent on perceived threats. It's why certain nations seem predisposed to tangle with others; some American states identify as "Red" and others as "Blue"; and those attending a sports contest, health club, or school function behave in prescribed ways. Rule Makers, Rule Breakers reveals how to predict national variations around the globe, why some leaders innovate and others don't, and even how a tight vs. loose system can determine happiness. Consistently riveting and always illuminating, Michele Gelfand's book helps us understand how a single cultural trait dramatically affects even the smallest aspects of our lives."Fascinating and profound...It's quite possibly this year's best book on culture." Roy F. Baumeister, bestselling co-author of Willpower and author of The Cultural Animal"This brilliant book is full of well-documented insights that will change the way you look at yourself and at the world around you." Barry Schwartz, bestselling author of The Paradox of Choice, Practical Wisdom, and Why We Work

Abacus

Force of Nature

Jane Harper
Authors:
Jane Harper

The gripping new novel from the author of the Sunday Times top ten bestseller, Waterstones Thriller of the Month, Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year, CWA Gold Dagger Winner and Simon Mayo Radio 2 Book Club Choice, The Dry. FIVE WENT OUT. FOUR CAME BACK...Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice's welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case - and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.And if you loved Force of Nature and The Dry, pre-order The Lost Man by Jane Harper now

PublicAffairs

The H Spot

Jill Filipovic
Authors:
Jill Filipovic

What do women want? The same thing men were promised in the Declaration of Independence: happiness, or at least the freedom to pursue it.For women, though, pursuing happiness is a complicated endeavor, and if you head out into America and talk to women one-on-one, as Jill Filipovic has done, you'll see that happiness is indelibly shaped by the constraints of gender, the expectations of feminine sacrifice, and the myriad ways that womanhood itself differs along lines of race, class, location, and identity.In The H-Spot, Filipovic argues that the main obstacle standing in-between women and happiness is a rigged system. In this world of unfinished feminism, men have long been able to "have it all" because of free female labor, while the bar of achievement for women has only gotten higher. Never before have women at every economic level had to work so much (whether it's to be an accomplished white-collar employee or just make ends meet). Never before have the standards of feminine perfection been so high. And never before have the requirements for being a "good mother" been so extreme. If our laws and policies made women's happiness and fulfillment a goal in and of itself, Filipovic contends, many of our country's most contentious political issues - from reproductive rights to equal pay to welfare spending - would swiftly be resolved.Filipovic argues that it is more important than ever to prioritize women's happiness-and that doing so will make men's lives better, too. Here, she provides an outline for a feminist movement we all need and a blueprint for how policy, laws, and society can deliver on the promise of the pursuit of happiness for all.

Abacus

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Andrew Sean Greer
Authors:
Andrew Sean Greer

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018 'You will sob little tears of joy' Nell Zink'I recommend it with my whole heart' Ann Patchett'I adore this book' Armistead Maupin'Charming, languid and incredibly funny, I absolutely adored Arthur' Jenny Colgan 'Marvellously, endearingly, unexpectedly funny' Gary Shteyngart'Bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful' New York Times Book Review'A fast and rocketing read . . . a wonderful, wonderful book!' Karen Joy Fowler'Hilarious, and wise, and abundantly funny' Adam HaslettWHO SAYS YOU CAN'T RUN AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEMS? Arthur Less is a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the post: it is from an ex-boyfriend of nine years who is engaged to someone else. Arthur can't say yes - it would be too awkward; he can't say no - it would look like defeat. So, he begins to accept the invitations on his desk to half-baked literary events around the world. From France to India, Germany to Japan, Arthur almost falls in love, almost falls to his death, and puts miles between him and the plight he refuses to face. Less is a novel about mishaps, misunderstandings and the depths of the human heart.

PublicAffairs

Great American Outpost

Maya Rao
Authors:
Maya Rao
Running Press Adult

Tin Can Homestead

Natasha Lawyer, Brett Bashaw
Authors:
Natasha Lawyer, Brett Bashaw

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Virago

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Authors:
Rebecca West

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Corsair

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Authors:
Mary Oliver

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Corsair

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Authors:
Mary Oliver

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Corsair

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Authors:
Louise Erdrich

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Constable

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Authors:
Bryan 'The Brush' Burnsides

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Virago

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Authors:
Lyndall Gordon

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Hachette Audio

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Jennifer Egan
Authors:
Jennifer Egan

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Nation Books

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Authors:
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Fleet

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Claire Messud
Authors:
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Robinson

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Jordan Erica Webber, Daniel Griliopoulos
Authors:
Jordan Erica Webber, Daniel Griliopoulos

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Little, Brown

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Anita Shreve
Authors:
Anita Shreve

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