Everything you need to understand or teach Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser.
Fraser produces a beautifully written and extensively researched biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the "Little House" series. Highlighting the way in which environmental and economic forces hurt the western homesteader, the author examines the peripatetic early life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Wilder's parents, Charles and Caroline Ingalls, were forced to constantly uproot their family in search of security, and Laura, later married to Almanzo Wilder, also lived a life of privation and insecurity before dedicating herself to other pursuits to support her farm in Missouri. Later, coached by her daughter, writer Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Ingalls Wilder became a columnist offering a rural perspective and then the writer of the popular "Little House" series. In her works, Laura obscured the difficulties of western farming and, the author states, perpetuated the myth that being a self-sufficient farmer was a possibility for the western homesteader. Frasers's book shifts between historical background information that highlights the ecological damage that farmers unwittingly inflicted on the Plains with information about Laura Ingalls Wilder's life that draws on her letters and writings. The result is a poignant book that places Laura Ingalls Wilder's life against the backdrop of the changing West.