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

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 374 pages
20 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  - Diana - Goodreads

An absolute must for anyone who loves Oz. And I really love Oz! Schwartz traces the life of L. Frank Baum, connecting his itinerant life, passionate marriage, and compelling family into a tribute to ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Becky - Goodreads

The strength of this biography of L. Frank Baum lies in its detailed presentation of the times in which Baum lived, and in showing that Baum was, in many ways (though not all) very much a man of his ... 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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