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A book for die-hard Little House fans.

How a champion of Ayn Rand shaped the Little House series.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books are a publishing phenomenon, with about 60 million copies sold since their inception in 1932. Journalist and editor Woodside (Energy Independence: Your Everyday Guide to Reducing Fuel Consumption, 2008, etc.) was among many young readers obsessed with the series and its author: “an urge to know the real Laura gripped me,” writes the author, who for 40 years read everything she could find about her. Among those books was William Holtz’s The Ghost in the Little House (1993), a biography of Rose Wilder Lane, Laura’s daughter, which revealed that Rose “was a very important quiet partner” in writing the series, which she informed with her conservative political views. His disclosure met with anger from Laura’s fans, exhibited in such acts as anonymous phone calls berating him for sullying Laura’s reputation. Wilder historian William Anderson published scholarly articles drawing the same conclusion. Woodside has examined family papers that support those findings. Although she elaborates on both points, she does not offer a substantially new view of either woman, and it’s likely that readers are already aware that the books idealized prairie life and the fortitude of the pioneers. Rose was a successful journalist, novelist, and biographer (of Charlie Chaplin, Henry Ford, and Herbert Hoover) by the time she began work on her mother’s story. She had a literary agent and strong publishing connections, but, as Woodside reiterates, although she was well-paid, she was always in debt. The Little House series, she believed, would fill her depleted bank account. The collaboration, however, exacerbated a difficult relationship. As Woodside portrays her, Rose was unhappy, often depressed, and envious of her mother’s increasing fame. The two, though, shared a hatred of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, looked for ways to avoid paying income taxes, and frequently extolled the virtues of capitalism.

A book for die-hard Little House fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62872-656-5

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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