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Snowfall on Pasture Path, White Mountains, New Hampshire I spent this past week inside a house with my dog in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The first full day there, it snowed 19 inches. Snow creates the perfect writing landscape. Muffled, the world slows...read more
Goldenrod It is so easy to think of a writing project I’ve kept at my side for years as if it exists in perfection, a static beauty I just must uncover. In reality, an unwritten essay or story contains no form until I make it. And as I change and think in new ways as...read more
Forest floor in the old-growth patch called Heart's Content. Photo by Chris Woodside In most forests in eastern North America, humans’ imprint has shaped the land beyond even what we can imagine. I have just returned from western Pennsylvania, where I visited the...read more
Wind-formed trees hang onto a steep beach on outermost Cape Cod. Photo taken in January 2009. Wendell Berry knows Kentucky, where he has lived, written, and done some farming for most of his more than eight decades on earth. When one knows a place deeply, one writes...read more
Spruces on Cannon Mountain. Photo by Marcus Quigmire/Wikimedia commons I started walking in the woods as a way to write more honestly about 15 years ago, after my father died. I already knew at that point that getting onto a forest path, alone, helped me sort out...read more
Chris Woodside is a writer and editor who writes about the history of ordinary Americans and their clashes with nature.
Libertarians on the Prairie, her book about the lives and collaboration of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, is available in hardback and a paperback edition with a Foreword by Stephen Heuser. While plotting her next book about New Jersey tenant farmers, she continues to edit Appalachia journal and is working toward a master’s degree in history at Arizona State University.
Listen to Chris tell a story at Connecticut Forest & Park Association’s wildlife story slam about running into a mama bear and her cubs.
Chris’s book Libertarians on the Prairie from Arcade Publishing (2016 and 2017) takes apart the American frontier myth, relating 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 political movement.
“The classic history of the classic series.” —Mark Kramer, founding director of Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University
Chris writes about the connection between the Little House books and modern conservatism in Politico.
And she pays homage to Rose Wilder Lane biographer Bill Holtz in this piece for Public Seminar, and calls for others to get more introspective about their criticism of his truth-telling.
— Libertarians on the Prairie News and Events:
The paperback is out! Includes a new preface and a foreword by Stephen Heuser, my editor at the Boston Globe and Politico. Order one today.
Podcast Interview: Edward T. O’Donnell interviewed Chris for episode 36 on libertarianism for his podcast In the Past Lane. They discussed the importance of context: the Little House books were hatched during the Great Depression. And talked about the unlikely roots of libertarianism.
Christopher Klein interviewed Chris for the History Channel.
Maria Russo discusses Libertarians on the Prairie in The New York Times.
M. J. Andersen ponders her ideas about the pioneer myth and the Little House books in The Boston Globe.
See Chris’s article about libertarianism and the books in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Another great review here.
Mary Pilon interviewed Chris 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.”
Chris Woodside was born in Philadelphia into a large family at the tail end of the baby boom. At age 4, she moved with them to Princeton, New Jersey, where she grew up in the public schools. She studied American civilization at the University of Pennsylvania and devoted untold hours to the Daily Pennsylvanian. She worked for newspapers for 18 years.
Chris has edited Appalachia since 2005. The journal is a mountaineering publication with the literary bent published since 1876 by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Her 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 her husband and two friends. Read that story here. Learn more about Chris’s approach to editing wilderness essays in this favorite blog interview (by Sandy Stott) here.
Chris often teaches at writing workshops around New England. Watch this space for news of upcoming events.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, left, and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, as they looked in the 1930s, when they worked on the "Little House" books Now available from your favorite outlet. Coming out in paperback in October 2017 Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the...read more
Dr. Kristen Zarfos with a patient. ctmirror.org, December 5, 2014 Not the best examining-room combo By Christine Woodside and Dr. Kristen Zarfos Researchers conducting dozens of studies in recent years have asked patients how they feel when their doctors stare at...read more
Helen Binney Kitchel in a 1970s newspaper clipping Connecticut Woodlands magazine, Summer 2015 Champion of nature A few years ago, Greenwich local history librarian Carl White called Helen Binney Kitchel “the Rachel Carson of Greenwich, Connecticut.” The two women...read more
Illustration by Boris Kulikov for the Boston Globe The Boston Globe, August 11, 2013 A few months after the stock market crash, in the winter of 1930, Laura Ingalls Wilder sat at a small desk in Mansfield, Mo., and began writing down her life story in pencil. She had...read more
The Eight-Legged Thing outside the Caratunk, Maine Post Office. From left: Chris Woodside, Cay Lodine, Phil Lodine, Nat Eddy Appalachia journal, Summer/Fall 2014 Rituals fortify an Appalachian Trail trek The thin paperback's cover bent back. My friend Phil held it up...read more