“Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography offers Wilder’s complete first draft of her own story, enhanced by scrupulous and wide-ranging new research. . . . And I’m happy to say is a treasure. . . . Wilder pulls off the difficult trick of telling a rich, satisfying story about good people being good. The Pa of Pioneer Girl is still a selfless provider, Ma is a skilled homemaker, Mary a prim playmate, and Laura a good-hearted tomboy. Their stories may have been tidied up on the path between nonfiction and fiction, but their characters remain reassuringly intact. . . . Pioneer Girl is a welcome reminder of the power, even the genius of the Little House books. . . . this annotated edition of Pioneer Girl will deepen and enrich a great American story.”—Ruth Graham, The Slate Book Review
“Wilder’s memoir is a fascinating piece of American history, but it’s the annotations that set Pioneer Girl apart as the most important work of its kind. . . . It thrills with new insights and mature content, educates with historical facts and documentation, and enlightens with cultural perspective and commentary, all while maintaining the spirit of adventure and integrity that is the backbone of the Little House world and Wilder herself. . . . in and of itself, Pioneer Girl is a fascinating slice of Americana, but it is Hill’s annotations, based on years of research and the efforts of the Pioneer Girl Project contributors, that set Pioneer Girl apart as the most important and relevant work of its kind. . . . With Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, Hill has ensured that not only will Laura Ingalls Wilder continue to inspire, but that her audience will grow and expand for generations to come.”—Pallas Gates McCorquodale, Foreword Reviews Magazine
More reviews can be found here.
Hidden away since 1930, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s original autobiography reveals the true stories of her pioneering life. Some of her experiences will be familiar; some will be a surprise. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography re-introduces readers to the woman who defined the pioneer experience for millions of people around the world.
Through her recollections, Wilder details the Ingalls family’s journey through Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, back to Minnesota, and on to Dakota Territory— sixteen years of travels, unforgettable stories, and the everyday people who became immortal through her fiction. Using additional manuscripts, diaries, and letters, editor Pamela Smith Hill adds valuable context and explores Wilder’s growth as a writer.
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography also explores the history of the frontier that the Ingalls family traversed and the culture and life of the communities Wilder lived in. The book features over one hundred images, eight fully researched maps, and hundreds of annotations based on census data and other records, newspapers of the period, and other primary documents.
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is a publication of the Pioneer Girl Project, which is a research and publishing program of the South Dakota State Historical Society. For more information, visit www.pioneergirlproject.org.