True West

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Books

Edited by Caroline Fraser
Library of America, $75, 1,512 pp.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was “past sixty,” as she put it, when she began writing her “Little House books,” which chronicle the adventures of the Ingalls family, her family, as late-nineteenth-century American pioneers. Those sixty years had seen such dramatic changes in American life and in the country’s landscape that the stories of young Laura Ingalls seemed like dispatches from another world. In a letter distributed by her publisher, Wilder assured readers, “I lived everything that happened...

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About the Author

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is Commonweal's associate editor at large. She blogs at dotCommonweal.