Tag Archives: laura ingalls wilder

THE GHOST IN THE LITTLE HOUSE by William Holtz

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I purchased The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane by William Holtz during my visit to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Rocky Ridge Farm homesite in Mansfield, Missouri. Of course, I knew that Rose was Laura’s only surviving child, was an author on her own, and more well-known at the time her mother started writing, but most of what I’ve read about her was through the lens of her mother’s eyes, so I was interested in a book that focused on her as her own person.

The Ghost in the Little House is a detailed chronical of Rose Wilder Lane’s life from essentially her birth until past her death, created from the author’s obvious extensive study of her papers, travels, and everything she left behind as well as her mother. I was fascinated by this book. Being a fan of psychology and getting into people’s heads to a degree, I loved the light the book shed on this mother-daughter relationship. Each, mother and daughter, was her own person who outshined her husband and father, respectively, to the point that there is less in the world about him than almost anyone in the family, besides what Laura herself provided to the world, of course.

In addition to giving me a different perspective on one of my favorite and most influential authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder, this book also provided an interesting theory of the travel-writing industry. In Rose’s day, an author could make money by traveling the world and sending her thoughts and observations back for publication in the states, even make a living. People couldn’t travel as easily as they can today, and today, if you want to see what a location looks like, you simply log on to Google Earth or search a vast collection of images on the web. Another thing I learned was about the evolution of freelance writing – it was a much more lucrative endeavor to write as a freelancer for magazines then compared to now.

This book won’t be loved by everyone (skimming the Amazon reviews will tell you that), but if you are interested in an in-depth analysis of relationships or people, you will definitely like it. You might also enjoy it if you are a big Laura fan and/or if you enjoy history. It did take me a while to read this one, just due to its length and other obligations, so on a can’t-put-it-down-scale of one for I couldn’t even finish it to ten for I was up until the wee morning hours, I give it a six and a half.

Source: Holtz, William. (1993). The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane. University of Missouri Press.

HE SELECTED LETTERS OF LAURA INGALLS WILDER edited by William Anderson

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The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder was another title I picked up while visiting the Rocky Ridge Farm Laura Ingalls Wilder site. I debated whether I should even write this review since I’ve read and reviewed so many LIW-related titles lately, so I thought I’d make it a sort of “bonus review.”

The letters themselves aren’t of any particular literary quality or great writing in-and-of themselves. I skipped reading the larger-fonted headlines between a lot of the letters, but I did very much appreciate the editor’s transitional sections and background/contextual information.

I found that the value in this book, like in many of the about-LIW books, is the insight it provides into this human being’s life. Even if you’re not a LIW/Little House fan or a writer, it’s interesting to be able to study someone’s life so intimately. And when you add what’s written about Rose into the mix, you get insight into a mother-daughter relationship carried out in a particular time period. I find that fascinating. There have been few people (if any) who have been written about more than the Ingalls/Wilders, so the information just isn’t available about most people.

So…I would recommend this book to all the bonnet-heads, of course, but also anyone interested in psychology and sociology-type topics as well.

Thanks for reading. Now back to your regularly scheduled historical book review blog post.

LAURA WILDER OF MANSFIELD by William Anderson

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I purchased several books in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Family Series while visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, in early June, 2016. Laura Wilder of Mansfield is the third in the series and the third one I read.

The book chronicles Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life after she came to Manfield, Missouri. It talked about their arrival, time living in town, and years building the Rocky Ridge Farm as well as Laura’s writing career and her relationship with her daughter, Rose, as well as her writing career. Also included are brief stories about Laura’s travels outside of Mansfield and visits she and Almanzo enjoyed from others. To the average reader, Laura Wilder of Mansfield may be a bit boring, reading like a textbook. To huge LIW fans like me and self-proclaimed “bonnet heads,” it will be fascinating.

The book definitely has a specific target reader, of which I belong. It is a short book, so due to that and my interest, on a can’t-put-it-down-scale of one for I couldn’t even finish it to ten for I was up until the wee morning hours, I give it a nine.

Source: Anderson, William. (1974). Laura Wilder of Mansfield.

THE STORY OF THE INGALLS FAMILY by William Anderson

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I purchased several books in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Family Series while visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, in early June, 2016. The Story of the Ingalls Family is the first in the series and the second one I read.

The book essentially discusses Laura’s ancestors, parents, and siblings, including her immediate family’s travels, the subject of most of her Little House books. It was particularly interesting to read about how May, Pa, Carrie, Mary, and Grace lived subsequent to the time period covered in the books. It also talks about Laura’s life as an author and includes several interesting appendices, including Grace Ingalls’ diary, family tree information, and family letters. To the average reader, The Story of the Ingalls Family may be a bit boring, reading like a textbook. To huge LIW fans like me and self-proclaimed “bonnet heads,” it will be fascinating.

The book definitely has a specific target reader, of which I belong. It is a short book, so due to that and my interest, on a can’t-put-it-down-scale of one for I couldn’t even finish it to ten for I was up until the wee morning hours, I give it a nine.

Source: Anderson, William. (1973). The Story of the Ingalls Family.

THE STORY OF THE WILDERS by William Anderson

I purchased several books in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Family Series while visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, in early June, 2016.The Story of the Wilders, the second in the series, was the first one I read.

Almanzo Wilder was the subject of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novel Farmer Boy and also her husband. The book describes the lives of the actual Wilders from when they lived in Malone, New York, through their travels west. In addition to containing information about Almanzo, it also talks about his life outside of Farmer Boy, his siblings, and his parents. To the average reader, The Story of the Wilders may be a bit boring, reading like a textbook. To huge LIW fans like me and self-proclaimed “bonnet heads,” it will be fascinating.

The book definitely has a specific target reader, of which I belong. It is a short book, so due to that and my interest, on a can’t-put-it-down-scale of one for I couldn’t even finish it to ten for I was up until the wee morning hours, I give it a nine.

Source: Anderson, William. (1973). The Story of the Wilders.