Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story (Google eBook)

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 374 pages
17 Reviews

A groundbreaking new look at an American icon, The Wizard of Oz.

Finding Oz tells the remarkable tale behind one of the world’s most enduring and best loved stories. Offering profound new insights into the true origins and meaning of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 masterwork, it delves into the personal turmoil and spiritual transformation that fueled Baum’s fantastical parable of the American Dream.

Prior to becoming an impresario of children’s adventure tales—the J. K. Rowling of his age—Baum failed at a series of careers and nearly lost his soul before setting out on a journey of discovery that would lead to the Land of Oz. Drawing on original research, Evan Schwartz debunks popular misconceptions and shows how the people, places, and events in Baum’s life gave birth to his unforgettable images and characters. The Yellow Brick Road was real, the Emerald City evoked the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, and Baum’s mother-in-law, the radical women’s rights leader Matilda Joslyn Gage, inspired his dual view of witches—as good and wicked.

A narrative that sweeps across late nineteenth-century America, Finding Oz ultimately reveals how failure and heartbreak can sometimes lead to redemption and bliss, and how one individual can ignite the imagination of the entire world.


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Review: Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story

User Review  - Samuel Valentino - Goodreads

I gave this book five stars because it was very readable. Every spare moment I had, I wanted to pick it up, and I'm always glad when I find a book that hits me like that. That being said, I'd like to ... Read full review

Review: Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story

User Review  - Gnarly Authenticity . - Goodreads

I really wanted to love this, since it seemed to combine two of my favorite things: the history of the Gilded Age, and the story of the Oz books. Like many imaginative youths, I had my psyche ... Read full review


Part I
Part II
Part III
A Great Awakening
End Matter

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About the author (2009)

EVAN I. SCHWARTZ is a former award-winning editor at Business Week and the author of The Last Lone Inventor, named one of the seventy-five best business books of all time by Fortune. The idea for Finding Oz came to him while reading Baum's classic to his daughter at bedtime.

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