Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Impact on American Culture

Little House Long Shadow Laura Ingalls Wilder s Impact on American Culture Beyond their status as classic children s stories Laura Ingalls Wilder s Little House books play a significant role in American culture that most people cannot begin to appreciate Millions of childre

  • Title: Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Impact on American Culture
  • Author: Anita Clair Fellman
  • ISBN: 9780826218032
  • Page: 218
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Beyond their status as classic children s stories, Laura Ingalls Wilder s Little House books play a significant role in American culture that most people cannot begin to appreciate Millions of children have sampled the books in school played out the roles of Laura and Mary or visited Wilder homesites with their parents, who may be fans themselves Yet, as Anita Clair FeBeyond their status as classic children s stories, Laura Ingalls Wilder s Little House books play a significant role in American culture that most people cannot begin to appreciate Millions of children have sampled the books in school played out the roles of Laura and Mary or visited Wilder homesites with their parents, who may be fans themselves Yet, as Anita Clair Fellman shows, there is even to this magical series with its clear emotional appeal a covert political message that made many readers comfortable with the resurgence of conservatism in the Reagan years and beyond.In Little House, Long Shadow, a leading Wilder scholar offers a fresh interpretation of the Little House books that examines how this beloved body of children s literature found its way into many facets of our culture and consciousness even influencing the responsiveness of Americans to particular political views Because both Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, opposed the New Deal programs being implemented during the period in which they wrote, their books reflect their use of family history as an argument against the state s protection of individuals from economic uncertainty Their writing emphasized the isolation of the Ingalls family and the family s resilience in the face of crises and consistently equated self sufficiency with family acceptance, security, and warmth Fellman argues that the popularity of these books abetted by Lane s overtly libertarian views helped lay the groundwork for a negative response to big government and a positive view of political individualism, contributing to the acceptance of contemporary conservatism while perpetuating a mythic West Beyond tracing the emergence of this influence in the relationship between Wilder and her daughter, Fellman explores the continuing presence of the books and their message in modern cultural institutions from classrooms to tourism, newspaper editorials to Internet message boards Little House, Long Shadow shows how ostensibly apolitical artifacts of popular culture can help explain shifts in political assumptions It is a pioneering look at the dissemination of books in our culture that expands the discussion of recent political transformations and suggests that sources other than political rhetoric have contributed to Americans renewed appreciation of individualist ideals.

    • Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Impact on American Culture BY Anita Clair Fellman
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    • Anita Clair Fellman

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    456 thoughts on “Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Impact on American Culture

    • Wendy McClure, die-hard Little House fan and author of The Wilder Life, cited this book in her research, and it sounded like just the thing I’ve been searching for. If you accept that Rose Wilder Lane collaborated with her mother on the Little House series, you can’t help but connect the dots between the text and her libertarian ideology. I started a thread about this on here some years ago, but I was always looking for a more in-depth analysis. This book provided precisely that.The first t [...]


    • Interesting look at the long term impact of the Little House books on American culture. I read and reread these books as a child, and still respond to them as a adult. Of course, I had no idea that they'd been written with any kind of political agenda - mainly, Laura Ingalls Wilder's and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane's opposition to the New Deal. I just liked the descriptions of making butter and Pa telling stories in the evenings and all the adventures that Laura had. I have to admit that after [...]


    • I'll give this book two stars because it is so well researched (there are about 500 footnotes and an extensive bibliography). The author, a Women's Studies professor in Virginia, is writing about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her series of Little House on the Prairie books. Professor Fellman does not like the fact that Wilder and her collaborator, Rose Wilder Lane (Laura's daughter) were not fans of FDRs New Deal, and that the Little House books were written to try and influence the American people t [...]


    • Bought in Walnut Grove. Yes, that Walnut Grove. . .A wonderful look at the long range impact children's literature can have. At the museum, we've often talked about how Little House has become synomonous with pioneer history, and this book helps explain how that came to be.Fellman has certainly done her homework--interviewing teachers, long-time readers, and visitors to the various LIW site. These were the stories I liked best--how people completely fell in love with the books and how it changed [...]


    • This is a well balanced and informative book. Fellman looks at Wilder from a variety of perspectives. She discusses the discipline that she learned the hard way growing up with her demanding mother and the fact that she had to control her own strong temperament and devote herself to supporting and caring for her blind sister who was the favorite in the family. Her relationship with her daughter Rose was not a good one as she tried to control Rose in the same way. Rose rebelled against this and d [...]


    • This is a dense, well-researched book about the Little House books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder (and her unacknowledged co-author, her daughter Rose Wilder Lane). This is not a light read, so it will appeal only to rabid LIW fans and those interested in American culture.Yes, I’m a Laura fan. I read the books many, many times from childhood through to young adulthood. I played “Mary and Laura” with my dolls; I sketched countless “Lauras” in my drawing pad; I longed to own a calico dr [...]


    • This book is very well researched and academically written. There was much of interest in it. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on influence in the schools, libraries and the home. No question about it, the Little House books DO have a long shadow in that regard. However, the idea that there was direct intent to push libertarian ideals through these books, I completely disagree with. These people were simply hard-working farmers and people who believed in independently living and working out t [...]


    • I opened this book expecting to dislike and disagree with it, but I have to admit that Fellman won me over with her scholarship. I have read more than my fair share of books by and about Wilder, and it is no surprise that the Little House books are not the literal truth, and that Rose was an unacknowledged co-author. (And I'm one of *those* fans, I confess: I've even made fan-girl pilgrimages to De Smet and Mansfield.) I did not know that Rose was such a rabid Libertarian, a huge fan of Ronald R [...]


    • 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 chap [...]


    • I am finally done with this book! It took me a long time to slog through it. It is an intriguing topic and a well-written examination of it from many different angles. But it is not a fast read. It tends toward scholarly dryness in the later chapters, and by the last chapter, which is about American politics as related to Wilder's and Lane's political philosophies both embedded in the "Little House" books and expressed in other venues, I was exhausted. The first few chapters are best because the [...]


    • A very scholarly approach to the Little House books and their impact on American culture. The author asserts that Laura and her daughter Rose, who were unhappy with the politics of the 1930s (specifically the New Deal), carefully crafted the history of the Ingalls family to present their ideals that Americans should shy away from big government and be as independent as possible. The first part of the book compares the real experiences of the Ingalls family to what the women chose to put into the [...]


    • I read the "Little House" books as a child and again as an adult, but I never realized how much Wilder changed the details of her life when she wrote the novels until I read this book. It's an intriguing look at the political philosophies of Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, her collaborator, and how their philosophies affected the point of view and details they put in the books. The author then goes on to analyze how the libertarian view that runs through these books has influenced mod [...]


    • Anita Fellman provides interesting insights into the connections among Laura Ingalls Wilder, her daughter Rose, and the larger philosophical and political backdrop of the Little House series so cherished by generations of children. [return][return]Many books have been written about Wilder, however this one addresses the larger issue of how her life story translated into popular historical fiction. How she was influenced by her daughter's political leaning and her thoughts about New Deal programs [...]


    • I had to return this to the library before I was finished, but I did read or skim most of it. (I had it for 6 weeks so I should have/could have finished it if I'd really wanted to.)It was a little dry, honestly, and dated in that there are a fair few references to people who talk about LIW and the books ON THE INTERNET!! Hee.But I did feel I had gotten a lot of the information (Laura and her daughter Rose were collaborators, etc.) from Wendy McClure's 'The Wilder Life' which was what pushed me t [...]


    • I read this book because I loved the "Little House" books. It was dry and took a long time to read, but the chapters on politics and advertising were interesting. Looking at the book from the political point of view of Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane was a fascinating new way to think about the books.




    • interesting and thoroughly researched, this proved more dense than anticipated. Listening to the little house series now with my kids, I do note things from a slightly different perspective now.



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