Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Little Town on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder

This book in the Little House series has the distinction of containing an eyewitness description of an amateur minstrel show. The linked Wikipedia article will give you a good overview if you are not familiar with this embarrassing relic of the past. I saved this book for July's theme reading as Nat M. Wills supposedly spent time in a minstrel troupe (as did most of the popular performers of his day). In my research I haven't been able to confirm this; however, it is most likely true, as it was an unfortunately common form of entertainment in its day. 

Happily, this episode is short, and the rest of the book gives interesting background for the world in which little Natty Wills grew up. If you think about it, it's hard to believe that if you were young in that time, when a train or a photograph could be a novelty, you would likely live to see automobiles, airplanes, silent films, and a brutal world war, among other developments. 

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