Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Review: Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Impact on American Culture by Anita Clare Fellman

I began reading Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Impact on American Culture in November 2012. It's a book I purchased from Amazon, and as with all things Laura Ingalls Wilder, I had to give it a shot.

While admittedly, I didn't care much for the earlier chapters, overall it was a satisfying read. Fellman discusses everything from a possible political agenda in the books, to the Ingalls family being racist, to how Wilder's memories created a different than reality version of frontier life, to current events during the writing of the books, to the continued impact Wilder has on modern society, and beyond.

Fellman didn't leave many stones unturned. The book is structured so the beginning two chapters are really about Rose and Laura and their collaboration. By chapter 3, Fellman is on to the discussion of how Wilder viewed her stories and how her memories might have been different than reality. The final four chapters show how the books are used in the classroom and at home, and then move into "The Little House Books in Public" and "The Little House in American Politics." Chapter 6 shows how Wilder has become a part of our heritage and the last chapter talks about Lane' views, the New Deal, Ronald Reagan, libertarians, and how "mainstream" values are associated with the Little House books.

I didn't agree with some of what Fellman had to say, but overall she provides an even-handed glimpse into Wilder's persistent impact on American culture, which is what she set out to do. I would have liked some historical photographs, but other than that I was satisfied. I'm glad to add this one to my Laura Ingalls Wilder collection.

Hardcover: 360 pages
Publisher: University of Missouri; 1st edition (May 21, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0826218032
ISBN-13: 978-0826218032

I purchased this book from Amazon. This review/discussion contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

For a more in-depth discussion on this book, you can visit:

This is the fourth book I've read for the following challenges:

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