DMA Arts & Letters Live: Caroline Fraser
Caroline Fraser’s Pulitzer Prize–winning historical biography, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, masterfully fills in the gaps of what has previously been known about Wilder’s life. Fraser draws on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records to chronicle Wilder's story of relentless struggle, rootlessness, and poverty, as well as her tumultuous relationship with her journalist daughter, Rose Wilder Lane.
Wilder’s real life was much harder than what she portrayed in the Little House series, and it was only in her sixties, after losing nearly everything in the Great Depression, that she turned to writing children’s books, recasting her hardscrabble childhood as a celebratory vision of homesteading. Her success remains one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches episodes in American letters. A New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year selection, Prairie Fires also won the National Book Critics Circle Award.