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Welcome. I am a writer and editor who writes about the history of ordinary Americans and their clashes with nature. I edit the journal Appalachia and live in southern New England.

My literary biography of two women, Libertarians on the Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books, is coming out in paperback in October. I remain fascinated with American life in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, and backcountry adventure at all times. I am a candidate for a master's degree in history at Arizona State University.

Libertarians on the Prairie from Arcade Publishing takes apart the myth that the frontier was a place only of courage and individualism. I relates the story of the collaboration on the Little House books between Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, a founder of the libertarian movement. Rose infused the books with tales of independence and economic freedom.

Libertarians on the Prairie News and Events:

New Podcast Interview: Edward T. O'Donnell interviewed me for episode 36 on libertarianism for his podcast In the Past Lane. We discussed the importance of context: the Little House books were hatched during the Great Depression. And talked about the unlikely roots of libertarianism. 

I will present about the significance of Rose Wilder Lane and Laura Ingalls Wilder's secret collaboration at the 42nd annual meeting of the Social Science History Association in Montreal Thursday November 2, 2017

Christopher Klein interviewed me for the History Channel.

Maria Russo discusses Libertarians on the Prairie in The New York Times.

M. J. Andersen ponders my ideas about the pioneer myth and the Little House books in The Boston Globe.

I write about the connection between the Little House books and modern conservatism in Politico.

See my article about libertarianism and the books in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The book launch party at the historic Hyland House in Guilford, Connecticut, Tuesday, October 4., 2016 was a great success! Thanks to the Hyland House, Breakwater Books, and Jenifer McShane for organizing this event!

Listen to the podcast of Chris's October 19, 2016 appearance on the Colin McEnroe Show on Connecticut Public Radio.

Another great review here.

Mary Pilon interviewed me for this Longreads piece on Melissa Gilbert, politics, and the Little House phenomenon.

Historian Neil J. Young recommends Libertarians on the Prairie in Episode 51 of the Past Present Podcast. In the section called "What's Making History."

 

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I was born in Philadelphia at the tail end of the baby boom, fourth of five children. The family moved to Princeton, New Jersey when I was four. I grew up in the public schools of her hometown, and studied American civilization at the University of Pennsylvania. There I also devoted untold hours to the Daily Pennsylvanian. I worked for newspapers large and small for 18 years and started freelancing in 2000.

I edit Appalachia journal, the mountaineering publication with the literary bent published since 1876 by the Appalachian Mountain Club. I am dedicated to publishing a few emerging writers in each issue. My own stories in Appalachia include a profile of the Episcopal priest who first climbed Denali, a portrait of Appalachian Trail thru-hiker guru Warren Doyle, and a personal essay on her 1987 AT thru-hike with my husband and two friends. Read that story here. Learn more about my approach to editing wilderness essays in this favorite blog interview (by Sandy Stott) here.

With the fall 2017 issue of Connecticut Woodlands magazine, I end sixteen years of editing for the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, the venerable trail-maintaining and conservation nonprofit.  I live in a yellow house built in 1880. For more on my life and its influences on my writing, see the Woodside Field Guide.