- Hardcover: 292 pages
- Publisher: Arcade Publishing (September 6, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1628726563
- ISBN-13: 978-1628726565
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Libertarians on the Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books Hardcover – September 6, 2016
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"A book for die-hard Little House fans." Kirkus
"Illuminating . . . Iconoclastic . . . Solidly supports the conclusion that the younger woman [Rose Wilder Lane] was the primary mastermind behind the literary classics." Book Page
"Myth-busting . . . Woodside masterfully captures the behind-the-scenes story of two strong-willed women locked in an uneasy, but interdependent, enterprise." Shoreline Times
Woodside's book is thoroughly researched and leaves one pondering how the Little House books would be different if Lane didn't have such a hand in her mother's books.” The Post Star
“New scholarship on Wilder tracks how her books may have been deliberately engineered to fuel the limited-government movement. In a just published work, Libertarians on the Prairie, Christine Woodside fleshes out earlier arguments that Wilder’s only child, Rose Wilder Lane, edited the Little House series to reflect her own political leanings.”―Boston Globe
"Woodside’s book also shines light on the political views of Wilder and her secret collaborator that were below the surface of the Little House series."―History Channel
"Libertarians on the Prairie is a fascinating exposé of the ideological underpinnings of one of America’s best-loved stories. Who knew that the Laura Ingalls Wilder franchise was actually political propaganda?” Jane Mayer, staff writer, The New Yorker magazine, and author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
This is a beautiful piece of writing. Christine Woodside does an admirable job describing the intense concept of self-reliance which permeated the lives and literature of Wilder and Lane. This book is a must for anyone devoted to the Little House books and their history.” William Anderson, author of Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography and The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder
"The narrative of the Little House books’ creation has been a fragmented one until now. Christine Woodside’s fresh perspective brings together the pieces of a remarkable literary and cultural history and gives us new insights on the two women who began with a children’s story and ended up inspiring a nation." Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie
Christine Woodside has completely changed my view of the Little House on the Prairie. Her encyclopedic scholarship, meticulous assembly of documentary sources, clear narrative writing style, and frank revelations about Rose's FDR-hating politics credibly demonstrate the connection between the Little House books and the libertarian fantasy of noble and government-free prairie self-sufficiency. Woodside has written the classic history of the classic series.” Mark Kramer, founding director of Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University
“An enjoyable read . . . This will be a significant addition to the Wilder/Lane bookshelf.”―Missouri Historical Review
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Readers can draw their own conclusions but she didn't convince me and I can't see where it really matters.
All and all a tedious read but I made it through and learned a few things.
Much of the information about Rose Wilder Lane seemed to come from "A Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane" by William Holtz. I have a copy of the Holtz book and much of what I read here was information I already knew. (I'm just saying that it was information that was already out there, I in no way suggest the author borrowed from the Holtz book.)
What really bothered me, however, were two glaring errors I caught. On page 104 in the hardcover edition, the author mentions "Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography" and gives it a release date of 2012, when the book was actually published in 2014, and is in fact cited in the bibliography with the correct date.
Another error came later in the book. The author states that Almanzo Wilder, Laura's husband and Rose's father, suffered a heart attack in July, 1949. That's on page 152. The next page it is stated that Almanzo died later that year on October 23. But, on page 155, the author states "After Almanzo's death in July, 1948 Rose returned to Mansfield..." Don't know if the sloppiness was the fault of the author or editor but a mistake like that should have been caught.
I did find the information about Roger Lea MacBride, who was a close friend of Rose Wilder Lane and who ran for President on the Libertarian party platform in 1976. I never knew that he had so much to do with the television show “Little House on the Prairie”
Although there is much speculation concerning who exactly wrote the Little House books, after reading "Pioneer Girl" before it was published in book form, and reading "The First Four Years" I believe that Rose Wilder Lane did have a good deal to do with fashioning her mother's books into the charming classics we hold so dear. Whether Laura was a Libertarian I am not so sure. She did believe in hard work and fending for oneself, and she certainly lived in an era of changing times...having gone from riding a covered wagon, to travelling on a train, to cars and airplanes and rockets capable of destroying the earth. Her books take us back to a time before Walmart and grocery stores and malls and trips to the moon. No matter how truthful her books are, and no matter who wrote them, they are sound, moral and true. Are they Libertarian books? I don't think they are written as Libertarian propaganda. I still enjoy them and still read them to this day. I just wish THIS book had proved the author's premise a bit more. For someone not knowledgeable about Rose Wilder Lane and unfamiliar with her work, this book will be an interesting read