Caroline Fraser
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author and Laura Ingalls Wilder Expert

Caroline Fraser is the editor of the Library of America edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books and the author of three works of nonfiction. Her latest book is Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. One of the New York Times’ Ten Best Books of the Year, Prairie Fires won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. It was also the winner of BIO International’s 2018 Plutarch Award and the finalist for the Mark Lynton History Prize, given by the Columbia Journalism School.


Fraser has given talks on Wilder and other topics to groups large and small, at schools, public libraries, conferences, and universities. Her writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and the London Review of Books, among other publications.


Caroline Fraser is also the author of God’s Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church, and Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution. She holds a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Harvard University and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Follow Caroline Fraser on Twitter.

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Prairie FiresThe American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Metropolitan Books

The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie books.

Rewilding the WorldDispatches from the Conservation Revolution

If environmental destruction continues at its current rate, a third of all plants and animals could disappear by 2050-along with earth's life-support ecosystems, which provide food, water, medicine, and natural defenses against climate change. Now Caroline Fraser offers the first definitive account of a visionary crusade to confront this crisis: rewilding.

God’s Perfect ChildLiving and Dying in the Christian Science Church

From a former Christian Scientist, the first unvarnished account of one of America's most controversial and little-understood religious movements.

Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Making of an American Icon Based on her Pultizer Prize-winning biography, Fraser demonstrates how Wilder became an icon of the frontier experience and explores the harsh realities of Wilder’s life and the myths she wove about them.
Laura & Rose: The Story of an Extraordinary Mother-Daughter, Writer-Editor Relationship In this fascinating talk, Fraser reveals how Wilder and her daughter combined their life stories and literary talents to create the Little House books
The Strange Case of the Bloody Benders: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, & Yellow Journalism Accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, Fraser examines Lane’s early career in yellow journalism and how the Little House books evolved from exposure to fictionalized celebrity biographies.
’I Can’t Forget the Minnesota Massacre’: The US-Dakota War of 1862 & the Homestead Act in the Life and Work of Laura Ingalls Wilder In her other PowerPoint presentation, Fraser takes a closer look at the 1862 War, as discussed at the beginning of Prairie Fires, and the role it played in Wilder’s life and in Little House on the Prairie.
Issues Facing Today's Wildlife Fraser tackles subjects such as conservation, biodiversity, and 'rewilding' in these wide-ranging talks.

Watch her discussion with C-SPAN at the Jefferson County Missouri Library.

Listen to her interview on Utah Public Radio with Access Utah.

Prairie Fires was the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Biography.

The New York Times Book Review names Prairie Fires one of The 10 Best Books of 2017

Fraser interviews fellow Wilder scholar William Anderson in a fascinating piece for Slate

Fraser discusses all things Wilder in a compelling interview with Brooklyn Magazine

Read the glowing, front-page review of Prairie Fires in The New York Times Book Review

Follow Caroline Fraser on Twitter

Learn more about Caroline Fraser on her personal website

"I have heard nothing but praise for the lecture—a sentiment with which I fully concur. It was really a model of what they all should be, both in content and delivery. The whole Great Lives team joins in sending our sincere appreciation for a most successful visit. We thoroughly enjoyed it!"
-William Crawley, Great Lives Series

Praise for Prairie Fires: “An absorbing new biography [that] deserves recognition as an essential text.... For anyone who has drifted into thinking of Wilder’s ‘Little House’ books as relics of a distant and irrelevant past, reading Prairie Fires will provide a lasting cure.... Meanwhile, ‘Little House’ devotees will appreciate the extraordinary care and energy Fraser brings to uncovering the details of a life that has been expertly veiled by myth.”
The New York Times Book Review (front page)

“Fraser's meticulous biography has particular urgency today, as she unknots the threads of fact and fiction, of reality and myth, of mother and daughter.... Prairie Fires is not only a work of rigorous scholarship, but it also portrays Wilder, and her daughter Rose, in ways that illuminate our society’s current crises and rifts.”
The New York Review of Books

“Important and meticulous biography... Complex and astonishing... A subtle, intelligent and quietly explosive study.”
Financial Times

“The definitive biography... Magisterial and eloquent... A rich, provocative portrait.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Magnificent... A remarkable, noteworthy biography of an American literary icon. It will captivate Little House fans as well as anyone looking to understand ‘the perpetual hard winter’ of life in frontier times.”
USA Today

“Impressive... Prairie Fires could not have been published at a more propitious time in our national life.”
The New Republic

“Unforgettable... A magisterial biography, which surely must be called definitive. Richly documented (it contains 85 pages of notes), it is a compelling, beautifully written story.... One of the more interesting aspects of this wonderfully insightful book is its delineation of the fraught relationship between Wilder and her deeply disturbed, often suicidal daughter.”
Booklist (starred review)