Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

Harriet Reisen


Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

  • Title: Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women
  • Author: Harriet Reisen
  • ISBN: 9780312658878
  • Page: 189
  • Format: Paperback



In a fresh, modern take on the remarkable Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Reisen s vivid biography explores the author s life in the context of her works, many of which are to some extent autobiographical Although Alcott secretly wrote pulp fiction, harbored radical abolitionist views, and served as a Civil War nurse, her novels went on to sell copies than those of HermanIn a fresh, modern take on the remarkable Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Reisen s vivid biography explores the author s life in the context of her works, many of which are to some extent autobiographical Although Alcott secretly wrote pulp fiction, harbored radical abolitionist views, and served as a Civil War nurse, her novels went on to sell copies than those of Herman Melville and Henry James Stories and details culled from Alcott s journals, together with revealing letters to family, friends, and publishers, plus recollections of her famous contemporaries provide the basis for this lively account of the author s classic rags to riches tale In Louisa May Alcott, the extraordinary woman behind the beloved American classic Little Women is revealed as never before.


Recent Comments "Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women"

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Woman is a very detailed biography of Louisa May Alcott, in addition to a history of an incredibly interesting time in America.While reading this book I felt as though I was transported back to the New England of the 19th Century. Harriet Reisen's descriptions of LMA, her parents, sisters, and many of their relatives and friends were just fascinating, especially the Alcott family's involvement in the Transcendentalist Movement and abolitionism. Louisa a [...]

‘The Woman behind Little Women’This is a well written and enjoyable biography of Louisa May Alcott. By providing a chronological account of the lives of the Alcott’s, it is much easier to appreciate both the times in which they lived and the influences that shaped their lives.The first part of the book focuses mainly on Louisa’s parents Abigail May and Bronson Alcott and their friends. As their friends included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne this is both inter [...]

This is an engaging, easy to read book about Louisa May Alcott. I am not in a position to judge the author's scholarship, but I found it a fascinating entry into the world of not only the Transcendentalists but also Boston's upper crust in the 19th century. I have two critiques of the book.1. No pictures ! Not a single photograph, portrait, reproduction of a letter, nothing! Would it have been so hard to add a copy of George Healy's famous portrait of LMA? There is a reference to this portrait a [...]

Reisen seems to believe that she has something new to say about Alcott, but aside from a few quotes I haven't read before, there is little her that hasn't been told and told more movingly by other Alcott biographers of recent times.Moreover, if Reisen did so much research for the excellent documentary she did for American Masters and for this book, why does she make so many niggling errors about the books.Here are three whoppers:1)In "Little Men" she says that JO has twins,Daisy and Demi who are [...]

Just reading about Louisa May Alcott made me tired. I would have to say that she was truly a devoted person to her family, friends, and to herself. With regards to her writing, she set her goals and completely finished them on time. Her father Bronson Alcott, born in Connecticut in 1799, was (to say the least) a self-centered, odd individual. Bronson was raised on a farm, and decided to be a vegan because he believed that animals should not be oppressed, and that killing them for any purpose is [...]

After a slow start, this biography of Louisa May Alcott became great. Her early life was comparable to the childhoods of hippie kids from the 1960s and 1970s. The family moved constantly, were always broke and in debt to friends and extended family. Mr Alcott was a dreamer, impractical and chronically unable to make a living. He started several schools but they all failed as the Puritan families of the day found his methods much too progressive. Alcott's educational ideas reminded me of Summerhi [...]

Harriet Reisen has written an excellent biography that was on Wall Street Journal's Ten Best Books of 2009. Louisa May Alcott was part of the American Bloomsbury group that included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and Nathaniel Hawthorne. She also grew up knowing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes (what is it with these middle names?), and Henry James and other famous writers, poets, and artists. Louisa was tremendously loyal to her family working hard to [...]

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women is a lovingly crafted, meticulously researched biography by Harriett Reisen. I received my copy from a GoodReads First Reads drawing. As a Little Women fan from childhood, I was thrilled to receive the book and was not disappointed. I learned a great deal about Louisa and was surprised to find that much of Little Women was taken from people and experiences in her own life, although highly idealized. My only complaint with this book is that it dwel [...]

The best thing about this book is how readable it is. Reisen doesn't try to puff up her credibility with stilted academ-ese and that is a great relief for any non-academic reader. She does a nice, clear, clean job explaining complicated issues such as how to translate a certain sum of money in the 1860s-1870s to its modern-day equivalent. And there is some terrific new stuff here, especially from the notes for interviews done with Alcott's niece Lulu describing the unfortunate grab for money by [...]

When I was about ten, my grandmother sent me a copy of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The next year, my mom bought me a copy of Eight Cousins, or The Aunt Hill, followed by a mission to the library to find its sequel, Rose in Bloom. All three of those books were certainly fun to read (Rose Campbell's stories), and very moving (Little Women, but it wasn't until a few years later that I became very interested in Louisa May Alcott as an author. That was when I received a copy of A Marble Woman: [...]

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women, by Harriet Reisen"Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women" is a fascinating biography into the life of the author of the classic "Little Women," and also an in-depth look at her family. Reisen provides an extremely complete picture of Louisa's unusual childhood, and how it influenced her later publications. The beginning of the book focuses on her father, Bronson Alcott, an unusual man for his time; he was one of the early Transcendental [...]

Harriet Reisin gives a new rendering of the life of the writer/creator of my most beloved childhood stories. Reisin's book compares favorably with the Pulitzer Prize winning "Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father" in that it has more information and therefore provides a more complete picture.For most bios, a childhood is told in 20-30 pages. Not so, here. Louisa's childhood covers almost 1/3 of the book. Bronson Alcott has been treated well in other accounts, but here yo [...]

I'm not much for biographies, but Louisa May Alcott is special. I remember watching "Little Women" with my mother, grandmother, and aunt when I was a young girl, the version with June Allyson as Jo. I loved it. Not much later, I read the book, as well as reading Little Men. Again, loved them. So when this book was mentioned in "Library Journal" I immediately requested it from the library and read it in a weekend.Harried Reisen has done years of research on Alcott and her family, and it definitel [...]

Talk about someone who lived an amazing life. I'm not usually a biography reader, but something about Louisa and the world she grew up in intrigued me - and rightly so. This very readable book tells Louisa's story from beginning to end, weaving in her writings as well as pertinent historical information that fleshes out the scene of her days.Growing up with Emerson and Thoreau as surrogate uncles, the Concord and Boston of Louisa's day is the stuff of legend. What I really enjoyed about this boo [...]

Before reading this biography, I had no idea about Alcott’s background and how much she based her writings on her own life, or that those writings included novels and stories for adults and pulp fiction as well as her better-known children’s works. Not surprisingly, she was an imaginative, competitive, energetic, adventurous (even wild) tomboy—the Jo of Little Women. Her parents were loving, but her idealistic father could not support his wife and four daughters, and they often went hungry [...]

An enjoyable enough read about the interesting and unusual life of a much-beloved author. LM Alcott's upbringing was odd and unsettling, moving every few months and bouncing between relative comfort and extreme poverty. Her journey to support herself and her family with her writing shows the sheer force of her personality though it is clear that she would also have been a difficult woman to deal with for those near her.On the cover there is a quote from the Wall Street Journal stating that LM Al [...]

Like many young girls, I read and loved Little Women, and new that it was based largely on the author's life. As an English major in college, her father Bronson was frequently footnoted as a member of the Transcendentalist Movement which included such luminaries as Emerson, Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller. Until reading Reisen's fascinating biography, that was the total sum of my knowledge of Alcott's upbringing. Though Reisen is clearly a devoted fan of Alcott, the book paints an honest picture of [...]

How much of "Little Women" and other Alcott favorites is based on reality? That's one of the questions Reisen tries to answer. Far more interesting than that issue is the life of Alcott herself. Many a person may identify with her situation, as the only wage-earner, from her teens to death, in a family of ne'er-do-wells and inadequates and entitleds. She and her sisters lived in hunger much of their youth, and, as children, depended heavily on hand-me-downs and hand-outs. I don't know whether th [...]

Louisa May Alcott! Who knew!

What a compelling read. I had originally planned to muse over this book throughout the month of the Louisa May Alcott reading challenge. What actually happened was: book in hand at 11am, read it through lunch, read after dinner, then after going to bed could not sleep so got up at 11pm and kept reading until I finished it at an unmentionable hour (suffice to say I went immediately for coffee after school drop-offs).Harriet Reisen's The woman behind Little Women is a brilliantly written and deepl [...]

I knew nothing about LMA - just that she wrote some of my favorite children's books. Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, Little Women, Little Men, and Jo's Boys to name them all. The details of her life are known to us through extensive journals the entire Alcott family kept as well as copious letters they wrote to each other. Her parents are extremely interesting, and they knew a lot of famous people in Concord, MA including Henry Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.One area in part [...]

This story behind the great author is a beautifully wrought and in-depth portrait that sweeps forward from her birth and through the landscape of her life, but also fills in the picture with details of her parents' lives as well.In the context of what was going on historically, Louisa May Alcott's success is even more awesome. She grew up in a time where women were not yet given the voice. Later in her adulthood, she would jump onto that cause, as well, struggling to help women obtain the vote.H [...]

This was fascinating! I never knew anything about Alcott's upbringing and her lack of a proper childhood-home. The tumultuous move from place to place certainly never shines through her very homely novels.Reading this book made me feel a tiny bit closer to one of my favorite authors. As I've never read a biography about Louisa May Alcott before, I cannot say whether Harriet Reisen provides any new information. I can however say that I was perfectly satisfied with what I got.I am left in awe, dee [...]

Looking forward to the PBS American Masters Presentation, December 24, 2009By Reading It All (Orange County, CA USA) - See all my reviewsI have always been a fan of Louisa May Alcott's writing and when I was given the opportunity to read Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women (John MacRae Books) I jumped on it.Harriet Reisen has a background as a writer of documentaries and I wasn't expecting more than a light biography but this is so much more because of Ms. Reisen's twenty year relat [...]

This biography of Louisa May Alcott is interesting and worthwhile. The first half of the book is more like a biography of Alcott's parents, who were, of course, extremely influential in her life, but to have half the book spent on Louisa's childhood makes for a bit of a slog for those of us who want to get to her more independent life. Her childhood was also sad and is somewhat difficult to read about--Bronson and Abby Alcott were willing to starve themselves and their children for their princip [...]

What a remarkable woman Alcott was! She was a woman ahead of her time which is not surprising given her unconventional family and their very different philosophy and lifestyle. I had no idea that her 'Little Women' book (and others) were semi-autobiographical.ough her life was much bigger and more challenging than depicted by Jo and her sisters. She was a Transcendentalist, suffragette, abolitionist, actress, writer of children's books and pulp fiction who aspired to be a serious adult writer. I [...]

Loved it! Learned a lot. Laughed a lot.Book description from :A vivid, energetic account of the life of Louisa May Alcott, whose work has delighted millions of readersLouisa May Alcott portrays a writer as worthy of interest in her own right as her most famous character, Jo March, and addresses all aspects of Alcott’s life: the effect of her father’s self-indulgent utopian schemes; her family’s chronic economic difficulties and frequent uprootings; her experience as a nurse in the Civil Wa [...]

Louisa May Alcott grew up surrounded by some of the most influential people in American philosophy and literature, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Peabody, and of course, her father Bronson Alcott. Her mother, Abby May Alcott, of a prominent Bostonian family, worked for emancipation, woman’s suffrage, and other social reforms. Even though she is surrounded by great minds and rich cousins, Louisa grew up in a family with a pretty dire financial situation. Her fathe [...]

Like many girls, when I was 11 or 12, I read Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Unlike many girls, the book made no real lasting impact on me. By that time, I was a voracious reader, and Little Women was just one more in a long line of books I was devouring. I enjoyed the book, and was glad I had read it, but it was not one of those books that I carried with me emotionally even days after I had finished it, like it seems to be for so many others.Therefore, I was drawn to this biography not becaus [...]

I only knew a little bit about Louisa May Alcott from the tour I got at the Orchard House in Concord, MA. They told some of the harder truths about her life but it was somewhat romanticized. The first part of this book focuses on her childhood and early adult life. It is extremely interesting. It gets a little boring in the middle. (I found it to be a rather dry recording of her literary accomplishments. She was so prolific and trying so hard to earn a living, she didn't have time for much else! [...]


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    Published :2018-09-27T13:38:02+00:00