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Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  3,788 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
From her pioneer days on the prairie to her golden years with her husband, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, Laura Ingalls Wilder has become a friend to all who have read about her adventures. This behind-the-scenes account chronicles the real events in Laura's life that inspired her to write her stories and also describes her life after the last Little House book ends.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published 1992 by HarperCollins
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Apr 05, 2009 Shelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because my daughter, Emily, is doing a biography on Laura Ingalls Wilder for school (we both love Little House on the Prairie & have all nine seasons on DVD). I grew up reading all her books and watching all the shows and so I couldn't resist not reading this book when my daughter bought it home. Even though I remember all the episodes and have basically a good memory of her books, I felt this book went further into Laura's life. I didn't realize just how much they travelled ...more
Nov 29, 2010 Maren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent read for someone like myself who has read the Little House books a number of times. I also recently read the autobiographies of Rose Wilder Lane, so this all seemed so familiar, filling in the gaps and expanding the story beyond what I've previously read. My heart just breaks for these families and the lost babies and difficult circumstances life threw at them, and yet I'm so amazed at the perseverance and faith that they all exemplified. Pa & Laura are definitely on my ...more
Dec 06, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went on a road trip with my mom and dad and went to see Laura's houses that she lived in.... It was awsome and on the trip I bought this book and just read it and it was really good cuz you could learn more about her life with your parents and sisters and her husband Almanzo and their daughther Rose.... I would read this book over and over again and go see her houses again... I use to watch the show Little House on the Pairie when I was younger and fell in love with the story and how they live ...more
Feb 11, 2013 Jenn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the Little House on the Prairie books as a child and just assumed then that the people in the book were fiction and as a child I never gave one thought about the author. When I found an article about her sister Mary on the internet recently it made me pause and think about the author and her life. So I went online to find if there were any books about Laura Ingalls Wilder and found this one. The book was an easy read (I finished it in about 3 hours), almost like it was aimed for children. ...more
Feb 25, 2011 April rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book after reading the Stieg Larsson books because anything Little House is special to me. I needed something that wouldn't disappoint. I suppose it is unfair to rate any book after reading a series that wow'd me. But this book receives only 3 stars. It was blandly written, brief and managed to hit only the high points of Laura's books without a lot of additional details. I plowed through the book quickly and at no time did I think about putting it down and not finishing it. But as ...more
LynnDee (The Library Lush)
I read this book because it had been on my To-Read shelf for almost 5 years. This is a middle grade biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I didn't really learn anything new per say, but considering that the 150th anniversary of her birth is next month and also that the book would count for the Librarian Reading Challenge (a reading challenge I'm participating in at work), I figured now was a good time to read it :).
Sally Cartwright
Apr 24, 2017 Sally Cartwright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A simple and evocative summary of Laura's life that beautifully recaptures the essence of the Little House on the Prairie books. Took me right back...
Feb 25, 2017 Mara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
good early middle school level biography on Laura Ingalls Wilder
Scott Pagel
Dec 08, 2013 Scott Pagel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At times I found myself thinking that William Anderson had the easiest job ever – his biography subject had already told the whole world about the details of her life through her own writings and so the subject of the biography had already done most of Anderson’s work. This thinking is unfair to Anderson, of course, but I felt that way at times because I have read all of Wilder’s books and therefore many events were not new to me. However, Anderson does a nice job of trying to present the facts ...more
Jun 26, 2011 Scash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fascinating to me. I learned so much more about Laura's life from this biography than what the tv show and her books cover. Laura started writing the Little House series IN HER 60'S! Amazing that she could remember so many details. Also, I was surprised to learn she only had one surviving child and from what I could discern her daughter Rose, had no living children. It saddens me that she doesn't have any descendents. Laura's life changed so much over the course of her 90+ years... ...more
Mar 25, 2010 Zoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an easy read - might be considered a YA level of biography, andyone 12 and up could read it, but the average person knows so little about Mrs. Wilder's later life. It tells a great deal about her time in the Ozarks, how she became a write late in life but didn't write the Little House series until she was in her 70's, and just how famous she and her daughter were. (Rose Wilder Lane was a bestselling author). If you've ever closed the last of the Little House books and wondered what happ ...more
Kristin Burleigh
Apr 07, 2013 Kristin Burleigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Younger females
Recommended to Kristin by: My mom!
I love this book. I love ALL of the books in this 'series'. I read them when I was in 6th or 7th grade and BEGGED my mom for the set for YEARS until she finally got it for me on my 15th or 16th birthday! I now have the boxed set all safe and sound on my bookshelf where I look at them lovingly every time I pass. They were my childhood, and will be passed onto my children should I ever be blessed with any.

Definitely suggest for younger readers; it's a CLASSIC!
My Book Strings
Mar 02, 2016 My Book Strings rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect for the target age group.
Apr 19, 2015 Flip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this a long time ago when I had to bio project for school when I was a kid. I've always been a fan of her Little House on the Prairie books so I enjoyed reading more about who she was.
May 15, 2017 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I thought I knew about everything when it came to the story of Laura Ingalls. This book actually had more information than I had ever heard. Good addition to any collection.
Mar 16, 2017 Muriel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having heard the "Little House" books as a child, I was interested to hear the story behind the stories. I was glad to hear more about Laura I. Wilder's life. Some good, historical stuff. As always, I prefer memoir to biography (just a little too detailed and text bookish). Which of course, is why the books she wrote were so wonderful-written from her memories and from her heart. Her family and their adventures so came to life. This biography did inspire me to reread her stories. : )
Jan 20, 2016 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography by William Anderson was my favorite book that I read this month during the LIW challenge. This biography covered Laura’s life from her pioneering days to her golden years. It was written for readers of any age and a pleasure to read!

I most enjoyed reading about was Laura’s life after she and Almanzo and Rose settled in Mansfield Missouri at their Rocky Ridge Farm. It was so interesting to follow their work and development of their Rocky Ridge Farm, Laura’s prog
Rosa Cline
This was a really nice Biography of Laura and her families...and later in the book it almost is a biography of Rose. But with Laura and Rose being so close it would almost be hard to keep the two lives separate in telling of Laura's you had to mix some of Rose's in. It has some photos of the Ingallas and the Wilders and where they lived etc.

It was told with some actual quotes from Laura or Rose which made it nice. It was kind of story form but yet told almost as if the author was sitting beside
Feb 19, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book for my 10-year-old for Christmas, and she's been wanting me to read it. We are both a little obsessed with the Little House series. So I took a couple hours today to read Laura's biography, and I have very mixed feelings. Pros: There are photographs! There is a great map showing relevant points of interest! And now I know how the rest of Laura's life went after The First Four Years. Now for the cons, or rather, CON: I need more details! I want to know more about how Ma and Pa ...more
Dec 06, 2010 Char rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
LOVED remembering her!--made me want to go back and read all the books again--I don't think I really grasped the importance of them as a historical record at the time, but she is amazing. Fun photographs, and helped clear up the journeying back and forth through all of the books. I was so shocked though, when I realized she lived into the 1950's!! I used to daydream in elementary school, of showing (my friend) Laura all of the modernizations around now, like cars and planes and computers, and lo ...more
Zaha Gheryania-shtewi
This bio was a nice refresher before I start digging into the "Little House" series again..but it didn't relay much more than I already knew. In fact, it was a little too sugar coated to my liking. There was no mention of Ma's racist views towards the Native Americans who's land her family was illegally occupying or the drunk settler who Laura witnessed immolating himself. There's more to Laura Ingalls Wilder's life than the series she wrote; many historians actually agree that the manner in whi ...more
Ashley Perham
Nov 09, 2015 Ashley Perham rated it it was amazing
If you've read all the Little House books, read this one! Laura's life was a lot different than the books, mostly sequencing and such, but still so amazing! It's like reading two totally different stories that are still connected! And I didn't even feel bad that the stories weren't the same! Laura's real life and "fake" life are both so awesome! So just go read this book because it will give you perspective and a whole new look at Laura! Yeah, I used too many !!!! Go ahead and judge me if you wa ...more
Premier Ingalls-Wilder biographer Bill Anderson has crafted an accessible biography for YA and adults who want to know the author of the "Little House" books. The writing is clear and just enough detail to help readers want to know more - and they can turn to additional LIW biographies by Anderson. I wish that HarperCollins had designed this title in a more attractive format with photos inserted throughout the text.
Hellen Riebold
Jul 17, 2014 Hellen Riebold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the author did an excellent job of filling in the blanks left by the 'Little House' series written by Laura. If you ever wanted to know what happened to half-pint later in life then this is the book for you; however, don't expect as easy a read as Laura gave us. This book makes you work hard to uncover the truth. It is written in a fairly academic style and can even appear a little dry in places. Worth persevering though.
Apr 07, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this book up at the gift shop at Rocky Ridge Farm! It was wonderful to read about Laura's life and be able to picture her Missouri years so vividly, since I have now been there. This book is a quick, easy read that fills in a lot of the gaps from the "Little House" books— particularly the time the Ingalls family spent in Iowa. It features several black-and-white photos, which I also enjoyed.
Mar 14, 2008 Hoopidnew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the entire Little House Books as a child and re-read them all in 2007. Then I stumbled upon this one and it tells the true story of Laura's life, which is a bit different from the story in her series (that's why her books are considered fiction). This book reveals many interesting details that she left out of her books and it also continued on with her story, right up to her death. The book includes photos of her and her family, and certain artifacts.
Nov 02, 2008 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Kinda fluffy, but I learned some new things--like, did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo lived in Florida for some time? I had no idea! I wish there were a book about that--it sounded fascinating. All in all, I didn't learn a whole lot of substantial things that I didn't already know, but it was a good, quick read, anyway. But probably written more for kids, not so much for adults.
Jan 23, 2008 Kris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: LIW/Little House fans, young & old
I didn't "learn" very much new, but it's a thorough accounting of her life. Reads quicker, less like a textbook or journal article (and at a lower level - maybe 8-12 yrs old?) than the Miller books which I'm also wading through. This is more of a complement to the Little House books, rather than a reference book.
Nov 23, 2012 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the real story of Laura and look forward to reading her books with my daughter, as I mostly have the television series in my mind. I could visualize everything the author wrote and was very interested in learning about her writing career and how she treated get fans so nicely no matter the time or place.
Aug 28, 2015 Roxanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This lady had a wonderful and adventure packed life. She could not stay in the Dakota's due to crop failure and she moved further west with her husband where they had a huge farmstead. She loved writing and that is how we know her. She had a daughter who lived In Calif. whom she went to visit. Her house is a preserved museum now.
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William Anderson is an American author, historian and lecturer. He is a specialist in the subject of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her times.

His interest in American frontier began after reading Little House on the Prairie. He is a director of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri, and he lives and works as a teacher in Michigan.

Librarian’s note: There is more than one author
More about William Anderson...

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