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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 story of her life has never been fully told. The Little House books were not only fictionalized but brilliantly edited, a profound act of myth-making and self-transformation. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser—the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House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, setting the record straight regarding charges of ghostwriting that have swirled around the books and uncovering the grown-up story behind the most influential childhood epic of pioneer life.


For more, visit the official book website at https://prairiefiresbook.com/





From Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former Christian Scientist Caroline Fraser comes the first unvarnished account of one of America's most controversial and little-understood religious movements.


Millions of Americans – from Lady Astor to Ginger Rogers to Watergate conspirator H. R. Haldeman – have been touched by the Church of Christ, Scientist. Founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879, Christian Science was based on a belief that intense contemplation of the perfection of God can heal all ills – an extreme expression of the American faith in self-reliance. In this unflinching investigation, Caroline Fraser, herself raised in a Scientist household, shows how the Church transformed itself from a small, eccentric sect into a politically powerful and socially respectable religion, and explores the human cost of Christian Science's remarkable rise.


Fraser examines the strange life and psychology of Mary Baker Eddy, who lived in dread of a kind of witchcraft she called Malicious Animal Magnetism. She takes us into the closed world of Eddy's followers, who refuse to acknowledge the existence of illness and death and reject modern medicine, even at the cost of their children's lives. She reveals just how Christian Science managed to gain extraordinary legal and Congressional sanction for its dubious practices and tracks its enormous influence on new-age beliefs and other modern healing cults.


A passionate exposé of zealotry, God's Perfect Child tells one of the most dramatic and little-known stories in American religious history.

Prairie Fires on The New York Times' 10 Best Books of 2017

The National Book Critics Circle winners are announced — and they’re all women


By Carolyn Kellogg Los Angeles Times (TNS) Mar 21, 2018


Women swept the National Book Critics Circle awards, announced Thursday night in Manhattan. Women prevailed in all of the six competitive categories.


Joan Silber took the fiction prize for her novel “Improvement,” published by independent press Counterpoint. The story of a single mother in Harlem who becomes involved in criminal schemes with her ex-boyfriend, “Improvement” is about human connection and how we are changed over time.


The nonfiction prize went to Frances FitzGerald for her book “The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America,” a sweeping history of the Evangelical movement from the Puritan era to the 2016 presidential election.


Layli Long Soldier won the poetry prize for her acclaimed collection “Whereas.”


The autobiography prize went to Xiaolu Guo for her book “Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China.”


The prize in criticism went to Carina Chocano for her essay collection “You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages.”


The prize in biography went to Caroline Fraser for her book “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder,” which tapped archival research to draw a fuller portrait of the author of the “Little House on the Prairie” books.


As a former member of the board of the National Book Critics Circle, I follow these awards with great interest. But I wasn’t able to attend — instead, like many others, I kept up with the proceedings on social media. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners.


©2018 Los Angeles Times

Historian Patricia Nelson Limerick's review of Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, on the cover of The New York Times Book Review, November 26, 2017.

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, published in the UK by Fleet, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group.


Praise for Prairie Fires:


*On The New York Times' 10 Best Books of 2017

*On The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2017

*Cover of The New York Times Book Review

*Booklist (starred review) calls it "Unforgettable...A magisterial biography which surely must be called definitive." *Publishers Weekly calls it "Engrossing...Exhilarating."

*An Amazon Best Book of November 2017

*On Amazon's Top 20 Biographies of the Year

*A Library Reads Top 10 Books of November

*One of BBC Culture's Top 10 Books of November

*One of Bustle's 13 Best New Nonfiction Books of November

*Featured in Time Magazine and on NPR

Slate Q&A with Bill Anderson, editor of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Selected Letters.

Caroline Fraser’s interview with William Anderson, editor of the new Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, covers the enduring popularity of the Little House books, as well as the prickly relationship between Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane.

Library of America's two-volume edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House Books, edited by Caroline Fraser.