Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser

Prairie Fires

The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie booksOne of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the YearMillions 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 h...

Details Prairie Fires

TitlePrairie Fires
Release DateNov 21st, 2017
PublisherMetropolitan Books
GenreNonfiction, Biography, History, Biography Memoir, Historical, North American Hi..., American History

Reviews Prairie Fires

  • Julie
    Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser is a 2017 Metropolitan Books publication.‘All that I have told is true, but it is not the whole truth’This is an incredible biography of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder of ‘The Little House on Prairie’ fame. To say this book on Wilder's life is comprehensive would be an understatement. Caroline Fraser paints a vivid portrait of the beloved author, but still pre...
  • Matt
    “If [Laura Ingalls] Wilder’s life was triumphant…it was a different kind of triumph than we are accustomed to recognizing. She wrote no laws, led no one into battle, waged no campaigns. If we listen to her, we can hear what she was telling us. Life in frontier times was a perpetual hard winter. There was joy…but it was fleeting. There was heroism, but it was the heroism of daily perseverance, the unprized tenacity of unending labor. It wa...
  • Beth Cato
    I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.When I visited Laura Ingalls Wilder's farmhouse and museum in Mansfield, Missouri, last year, it felt like a pilgrimage to me. Seeing Pa's fiddle, walking where Laura walked, was a soul-deep experience for me. Her Little House books had a major impact on my life and making me the author I am today.I have read several biographies of Wilder over the past two years, including the ...
  • Jennifer
    Y'all Rose Wilder Lane was THE WORST.
  • Diane
    "Prairie Fires" is one of my favorite biographies I read in 2017. It's about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, but there is so much social history here that it's also the story of the American plains. Homesteaders. Indians. Wolves. Railroads. Market crashes. Drought. Tornadoes. Blizzards. And of course, devastating, all-consuming fires. I grew up reading the "Little House" books about Laura Ingalls, and like millions of children, I loved them. Be...
  • Cynthia
    I know I’m not the only one whose love of reading was sparked by Ingalls Wilder’s books. Prairie Fires is, of course, about Wilder and her family but along the way Fraser provides an enlightening chronicle of American history focusing on the issue of how Native Americans were treated. We always think of Abraham Lincoln as the great emancipator but his record with legislation regarding land preserved and taken away from the first Americans was...
  • Laura
    My father was a young man when the Depression hit, in 1929. And although the line of work he was in, first building movie stars home, and then working for the studios building sets, did not suffer, the rest of his family did. He was, if not the sole supporter of his family, of his four, then three brothers, and parents, he was at least the main breadwinner. This effected him for the rest of his life. He knew how to pinch pennies like it was no on...
  • Chris
    Very close to five stars for me. (And this is coming from someone who never read a single Laura Ingalls Wilder book or saw a single episode of "Little House on the Prairie.")
  • Anna H
    Caroline Fraser writes as effectively as David McCullough or Ron Chernow as a biographer in her ability to tell a great story and get the subjects she's describing down to their complicated personalities and relationships. This is a tall order with really high expectations for her intended audience: the international, multi-generational fan base of Little House fans -- but she did it well. Fraser covered a lot of the same ground from the annotate...
  • Naberius
    This book, written by the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House books, is a thoroughly researched biography of not only Laura Ingalls Wilder, but of her daughter, Rose. Using unpublished manuscripts, letters, financial records and more, Caroline Fraser gives fresh insight into the life of a woman beloved to many, and whose life everyone has known about through the Little House books. I found this book to be fascinating. I h...
  • Catie
    Enjoyed this biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder, especially since Wilder is the author who made me the reader that I am. Well researched, intelligent and an incredibly detailed background about the period in history during which the Ingalls, Laura, Almanzo and Rose Wilder Lane grew up. BUT, this book also made the real characters quite unlikeable. I realize that the true story behind the Little House books was a lot more stark, harsh and depres...
  • Robin
    Fraser has done exhaustive research into the life and times of Laura, husband Almanzo, daughter Rose, and other figures that were involved in their lives, which has resulted in the most complete and unvarnished biography of LIW ever published. Also included are 80+ pages of extensive footnotes of books, unpublished documents, letters, and more, which are almost as interesting as the main text. As a huge fan of anything Laura Ingalls Wilder, I was...
  • Lauren
    Anyone with an interest in post-Civil War American history as well as a love of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series should seriously consider investing their time in this book. (Make no mistake, it’s an investment. I’ve read longer books, but this one is incredibly dense...dense, but worth it.) Meticulously researched, the vast amount and scope of information managed to maintain my interest and the author made everything relevant to Wilder and he...
  • Deanne Patterson
    Like so many of you I got my love of reading historical fiction as a child after reading the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This is an immensely researched gritty historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I learned so much after reading this it was though I were visiting old friends and they were explaining to me how things used to be during this time period. It's really amazing how anyone survived this time period...
  • Sue
    I came for Laura Ingalls Wilder and I got one of the best American history lessons I've ever gotten from a biography. I've read almost every LIW biography out there or have it on my TBR list. I didn't go into this expecting to learn a lot new about her life or her relationship with her daughter Rose and I didn't -- although the question surrounding the year of Almanzo's birth was a new revelation. If you aren't well schooled on her life, you will...
  • Kathleen
    Wow. The amount of research by author Caroline Fraser is impressive. The final 20% of the book consists of detailed notes, many of them cite handwritten letters, journals, and manuscripts. Often the author notes differences between the handwritten manuscript written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the edited version submitted by her daughter and editor, Rose Wilder Lane, or the final published copy. I think it is fair to refer to this research as exh...
  • Melissa
    As children of the 60's and 70's, my husband and I were raised with both the children's book series and the television show. Both of us agree that the first part of Prairie Fires was very interesting, delving into Laura Ingalls Wilder's family history and early life. We're talking about Indian wars, settlers, locusts, rowdy towns, name it. That part of this book was a solid five stars. Thereafter, we grew rather sleepy and bored, on...
  • Amy
    Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a fascinating read. I enjoyed every word and learned so much more about the Wilder and Ingalls families. Highly recommended! 5 plus stars
  • Peggy Wallace
    This is great book for fans of LIW. It follows the family story in historical context, including weather patterns, economics, Native Americans (very awful people on one side only) ecological disasters, diseases and includes diary entries of some of the players and characters along with newspapers, book and anecdotes, including the best description I have ever heard of the experiences of living in a windowless 18 x 12 shanty in the middle of nowhe...
  • Carin
    I am a HUGE Laura Ingalls Wilder fan. So much so that I have visited both THE Little House on the Prairie, and also Laura and Almanzo's home in Mansfield, Missouri where Laura wrote all of her novels. I have read the annotated Pioneer Girl. I have read a lot of random Laura Ingalls Wilder books that most people haven't. I have even taken an online course about her.When I found out that a publisher at my new company had the first straightforward t...
  • Aaron
    An exhaustively well researched book about the author Laura Ingalls Wilder. This book helps dispel the myths and fiction of the "Little House on the Prairie" series while giving background on the author and times. Despite being deeply researched, the flow of the writing moves the reader along.I admit to having a bit of interest in Mrs. Wilder due to my family tree intertwining with hers and having grown up with not only her books but the televisi...
  • Erin Cataldi
    I was initially intimidated by the sheer size of this book, but I needn't have worried because it's fast paced and fascinating. Like most kids I grew up reading and LOVING the Little House book series. It filled my imagination and I found myself returning to the series again and again. The detail, rich illustrations, simple storytelling, and perseverance has lasting impressions on millions of readers. Many sequels, spin offs, biographies, and his...
  • Michele
    Prairie Fires is excellent. I loved the Little House books as a girl and I enjoyed rereading them with my daughter when she was in elementary school. Laura had such an interesting life and I want to know more about it. Prairie Fires not only covers Laura's entire life, it touches on the early years of Charles and Caroline, covers much of Rose's life, touches on the Little House TV show and more. This book is extremely well researched; there are a...
  • Renata
    Aw yeah this is my JAM! I grew up loving the Little House books but as an adult I have come to realize that they are #problematicfaves and yet...still compelling. This book digs up a lot of details about how Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood was even MORE intense and also even MORE problematic than it's depicted in the books. But where things REALLY go off the rails is with her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. I've read a fair amount of other books/art...
  • Lisa
    I have been waiting for this book almost my entire life. I have loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's books since first grade, and with Prairie Fires I finally have the historical context I always wanted. Finally, I understand where Laura's family's story fits in the history of homesteading, the Great Panic and the Great Depression. So happy to finally place the Little House books in their proper place in history! (Though sadly disappointed to learn about...
  • Wendy
    I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House " as a child and I still reread them occasionally as an adult. So I was very excited to get this book. I had read other biographies of her before, but this is by far the best. The majority of the book is outstanding, but will be disappointing to those who believe that her children's books and the TV series were factual. The author did very thorough research (85 pages of notes and cited work at the end)...
  • Laura
    Growing up in Missouri and being named Laura, I couldn’t help but read the Little House books. They were books I read over and over again, and experienced the same visceral reactions to blizzards and famine every time. My pilgrimage to Mansfield and seeing Her house and Her dishes and Her desk were practically a religious experience. This book made me rethink everything I thought I knew about Laura and the telling of these tales, and will stay ...
  • Logan
    DNF - Feel like I'm learning more about the Ingalls Wilder family than I ever needed to know. The enlightening historical context kept it afloat for a while, but I'm throwing in the towel @ 50% done.