Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Woman Behind the Legend

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University of MISSOURI Press, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 306 pages
Although generations of readers of the Little House books are familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder's early life up through her first years of marriage to Almanzo Wilder, few know about her adult years. Going beyond previous studies, Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder focuses upon Wilder's years in Missouri from 1894 to 1957. Utilizing her unpublished autobiography, letters, newspaper stories, and other documentary evidence, John E. Miller fills the gaps in Wilder's autobiographical novels and describes her sixty-three years of living in Mansfield, Missouri. As a result, the process of personal development that culminated in Wilder's writing of the novels that secured her reputation as one of America's most popular children's authors becomes evident. In addition to describing Wilder's apprenticeship as a farm newspaper columnist and occasional magazine writer before she began the production of her novels, Miller discusses Wilder's activities on her family's Rocky Ridge farm and as a vital citizen in Mansfield, Missouri. Playing out her many roles as wife, mother, chicken farmer, churchgoer, bridge player, seamstress, farm loan officer, and political candidate, Wilder led an active life for ninety years.

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User Review  - waltzmn - LibraryThing

Writing a biography of an icon is difficult. Writing a biography of an icon who created a fictitious autobiography is worse. I have read four biographies of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Two frankly aren't ... Read full review


User Review  - Kirkus

A biography of the author of The Little House on the Prairie series that comes to life only in the recounting of the stormy relationship between Wilder and her daughter. Those fictionalized accounts ... Read full review


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About the author (1998)

John E. Miller is a writer and historian who taught American history for three decades at South Dakota State University.  He is the author of several books, including Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little Town: Where History and Literature Meet and Looking for History on Highway 14. He resides in Brookings, South Dakota.

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