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(from Introduction) This is a revolutionary work. It picks up and develops the individualistic aspects of the American political thought of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Wilson, George Mason and others, which so strangely dropped into neglect in the aftermath of the French Revolution in the 1790s. Disregarding a few intellectuals who failed to excite the imaginations of their fellows, let alone any significant number of Americans, nothing of the originality and power of the American revolutionaries has appeared until the publication of this book. The Discovery of Freedom was first published during the Second World War. Rose Wilder Lane told me that the publishers made no effort to promote the book. Its total sales were tiny even for that period, and doubly so for a book written by a nationally known literary figure whose career had encompassed investigative journalism, the publication of hundreds of short stories and articles, and a number of recent novels that had placed high on the best seller lists. Nonetheless, the book did circulate, often dog-eared copies passed from hand to hand and did influence many people. Along with Ayn Rand's different approach to the basis of freedom, it was the seminal force creating the current wide trend toward individualistic views in America. Henry Grady Weaver produced an adaptation and popularization of the book, which appeared under the title The Mainspring of Human Progress, which subsequently sold hundreds of thousands of copies.
(back of book) In the 1880s, when adventure lay in the conquest of the prairies, David Beaton and his bride came to Dakota to claim three hundred acres of grassland. Rose Wilder Lane tells of their struggle to survive with such force that Free Land has become a classic frontier novel. The young couple experience cyclones, droughts, and blizzards that isolate them for days in their sod shanty and endanger their livestock. The simple pleasures of home cooking, horse trading, and socializing interrupt work, here described in its wealth of variety. In every detail, Free Land comes to life because Lane grew up in the time and place of which she writes. The book embodies her belief that "living is never easy, that all human history is a record of achievement in disaster, and that our great asset is the valor of the American spirit."
Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the classic Little House books that have delighted millions of readers, was first encouraged to write about her early days on the frontier by her daughter, Rose. This collection is comprised of Laura's early autobiographical pieces along with stories and essays by Rose, an award-winning writer who herself wrote about growing up on the family farm. From log cabins and covered wagons to the hardworking farm life that Laura and Rose fondly recall, A Little House Sampler is a vivid and personal testament to nearly one hundred years of American life and history as seen by two remarkable women.
(back page) The automobile was about to arrive, and so was World War I, but life in Old Home Town was still pastoral. Rose Wilder Lane has recreated smalltown society of that period with a precise feeling for decorum, dress, and kitchen dialogue. Like Sherwood Anderson in Winesburg, Ohio, she presents the parameters of a community through the stories of certain memorable citizens. All of the stories are recollected by Ernestine, who grew up there. The overlay of nostalgia cannot hide some sharp observations about marriage and women's rights.
Young Pioneers A story of love and courage to make every American proud of his heritage, Young Pioneers is the lyrical, moving chronicle of a young couple's struggle to found a homestead and build a new life together on the South Dakota frontier in the 1850s. Young newlyweds, still in their teens, their strength of character far outstrips their years. Molly is gentle and shy, quiet and deft in her movements; David is boisterous, bold, full of ease, a fiddler, fighter, farmer. Together they set out with team and wagon hundreds of miles across the plains to the Western prairie. Young Pioneers is a classic story of faith and courage unshaken by hardship, as the young couple struggles to survive the ravages of winter, insect plague, Indian attack, childbirth, and poverty. Their first home is a dugout, where, on Molly's seventeenth birthday, their first baby is born. But their dreams of a rich harvest turn to nightmare when an insect plague destroys the wheat crop, wiping out their farm. David is forced to search for work elsewhere, while Molly stays behind, forty miles from the nearest neighbor, to keep possession of the farm. Alone on the devastated land, beset by wolves and freezing winds whipping across the immense plains, Molly and her infant son face winter alone in the dugout on the prairie. Written with poetic simplicity and directness, Young Pioneers is a true story in fictional form, a story to inspire readers of all ages.