Libertarians on the Prairie Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books By Christine Woodside
This myth-busting book finally reveals the true story behind the beloved children's classics.

Generations of children have fallen in love with the pioneer saga of the Ingalls family, of Pa and Ma, Laura and her sisters, and their loyal dog, Jack. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books have taught millions of Americans about frontier life, giving inspiration to many and in the process becoming icons of our national identity. Yet few realize that this cherished bestselling series wandered far from the actual history of the Ingalls family and from what Laura herself understood to be central truths about pioneer life.

In this groundbreaking narrative of literary detection, Christine Woodside reveals for the first time the full extent of the collaboration between Laura and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Rose hated farming and fled the family homestead as an adolescent, eventually becoming a nationally prominent magazine writer, biographer of Herbert Hoover, and successful novelist, who shared the political values of Ayn Rand and became mentor to Roger Lea MacBride, the second Libertarian presidential candidate. Drawing on original manuscripts and letters, Woodside shows how Rose reshaped her mother's story into a series of heroic tales that rebutted the policies of the New Deal. Their secret collaboration would lead in time to their estrangement. A fascinating look at the relationship between two strong-willed women, Libertarians on the Prairie is also the deconstruction of an American myth.

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TitleLibertarians on the Prairie
SubtitleLaura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books
AuthorBy Christine Woodside
PublisherSkyhorse Publishing
ImprintArcade Publishing
Published6 September 2016
Dimensions6.00 x 9.00in.
Illustrations19 B&W photos.

About the author

Christine Woodside is a writer and the editor of the journal Appalachia. The author of Energy Independence and editor of Living on an Acre and No Limits but the Sky, she has nourished a fascination with the Little House books since she was a girl. As a teenager, she applied for a summer job at the Laura Ingalls Wilder farmhouse in Mansfield, Missouri—but, residing in New Jersey, lived too far away. She now lives in Deep River, Connecticut, with her husband.

"Woodside’s contribution to the myriad books and scholarly articles about the dysfunctional relationship between Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, is the result of four decades of exhaustive research. . . . The more fascinating details for readers are those revolving around the strange yet intense relationship between mother and daughter, fraught with resentments and jealousy, yet ultimately steadfast, and certainly productive." —Booklist

"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
ISBNs: 9781628726565 978-1-62872-656-5 Title: libertarians on the prairie category:BIO ISBNs: 9781628726596 978-1-62872-659-6 Title: libertarians on the prairie category:BIO ISBNs: 9781628728651 978-1-62872-865-1 Title: libertarians on the prairie category:BIO 
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