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The Long Winter PDF, ePub eBook

4.6 out of 5
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The Long Winter

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The Long Winter PDF, ePub eBook On the empty winter prairie, gray clouds to the northwest meant only one thing: a blizzard was seconds away. The first blizzard came in October. It snowed almost without stopping until April. The temperature dropped to forty below. Snow reached the roof-tops. And no trains could get through with food and coal. The townspeople began to starve. The Ingalls family barely live On the empty winter prairie, gray clouds to the northwest meant only one thing: a blizzard was seconds away. The first blizzard came in October. It snowed almost without stopping until April. The temperature dropped to forty below. Snow reached the roof-tops. And no trains could get through with food and coal. The townspeople began to starve. The Ingalls family barely lived through that winter. And Almanzo Wilder knew he would have to risk his life to save the town.

30 review for The Long Winter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    This place is a double Hell Hole, compared to Plum Creek and its crickets. No amount of Pa's fiddle-playing can compensate for the fact that they all almost died of hunger and cold during this winter. Remind me again, what was so bad about Big Woods in book one?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    I would have died ten times over if I lived during Laura's time The whole family moves into town to weather the winter of 1800-1801 - and it's good thing they do. This was one of the harshest winters they would ever face. Snow soon piles over their windows and the bitter cold ensures that they cannot leave their houses. Their fuel runs out, their food consists of scraps, and Pa can no longer play the fiddle for his hands are stiff with cold. Even in her toughest year, faced with bitter cold and st I would have died ten times over if I lived during Laura's time The whole family moves into town to weather the winter of 1800-1801 - and it's good thing they do. This was one of the harshest winters they would ever face. Snow soon piles over their windows and the bitter cold ensures that they cannot leave their houses. Their fuel runs out, their food consists of scraps, and Pa can no longer play the fiddle for his hands are stiff with cold. Even in her toughest year, faced with bitter cold and starvation, Laura still conveys the beauty of the prairie. Then the sun peeped over the edge of the prairie and the whole world glittered. Every tiniest thing glittered rosy toward the sun and pale blue toward the sky, and all along every blade of grass ran rainbow sparkles. We are introduced to Almanzo as an adult. (The first time since Farmer Boy.) Laura (in the story) admires him first for his horses, then for his kindness and then for his bravery as he hitches up his team of horses to make a run for fuel for the entire town. I appreciate that he remains as a background character. Their love plays out so slowly compared to many teen books that it has time to bloom and blossom. Wholesomely inspirational and heartwarming. An excellent book to read curled up under a blanket with a cup of cocoa. “It can't beat us!" Pa said. "Can't it, Pa?" Laura asked stupidly. "No," said Pa. "It's got to quit sometime and we don't. It can't lick us. We won't give up." Audiobook Comments Read by Cherry Jones and accompanied by Paul Woodiel on the fiddle. Such an incredible audiobook. Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    It was fitting that I read "The Long Winter" while visiting family in Minnesota. It was bitterly cold, the streets were packed with snow and the wind chill was below zero. As I read, I could hear the wind howling outside, and the harsh winter of 1880-81 didn't seem like that long ago. Book six in the Little House series tells how the Ingalls family survived numerous blizzards while homesteading near De Smet, South Dakota. Pa first sensed that the season would be severe when he was harvesting hay It was fitting that I read "The Long Winter" while visiting family in Minnesota. It was bitterly cold, the streets were packed with snow and the wind chill was below zero. As I read, I could hear the wind howling outside, and the harsh winter of 1880-81 didn't seem like that long ago. Book six in the Little House series tells how the Ingalls family survived numerous blizzards while homesteading near De Smet, South Dakota. Pa first sensed that the season would be severe when he was harvesting hay and he saw the thick mud walls of a muskrat house. Pa was shaking his head. "We're going to have a hard winter," he said, not liking the prospect. "Why, how do you know?" Laura asked in surprise. "The colder the winter will be, the thicker the muskrats build the walls of their houses," Pa told her. "I never saw a heavier-built muskrats' house than that one." A few weeks later, a wise old Indian stopped by the town's store to warn the white folks about winter. He said there would be heavy snow and strong winds for seven months. Indeed, that winter brought many long blizzards, and with each one, the town's supplies went down. All of the animals had fled the area, so hunting was scarce, and the snow was so deep that the train couldn't get through to deliver food or coal. (While reading this, I remembered that the closest thing we currently have to scarcity in winter is when the local store runs out of bread and milk for a day because of a panic over snow.) Like the others in the series, this book has good reminders about just how hard homesteading was. Pa and the other pioneers worked long hours to get the fields ready for crops, and they had to build everything from scratch. When the family ran out of coal to burn for heat, Pa figured out a way to twist hay into sticks, so they could burn that. When they ran out of kerosene, Ma figured out how to make a "button candle" using axle grease. "We didn't lack for light when I was a girl, before this newfangled kerosene was ever heard of." "That's so," said Pa. "These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves — they're good things to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on 'em." And when there wasn't any wheat or flour left in town, well, luckily Almanzo Wilder had the courage to go and try to find some more. Any Little House fans reading this will perk up at the name of Almanzo, because that is who Laura will eventually marry. This book is the first one where Laura seems to notice him, which was sweet. I think the purpose of this book was to show how dangerous those prairie winters were. Neighbors had to work together and help each other to survive. In the modern, self-involved age we live in, this story was a reminder of how a small town used to be.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Gah, I love the Little House books, and none more than The Long Winter, the 6th in the series. Although all of Laura Ingalls' books have a cozy, homey charm, The Long Winter brings with it a gritier, more menacing realism of what life would actually have been like for the American pioneer. Since it is a children's book, Laura keeps the threat light, but make no mistake, the threat of starvation is a serious and ever present danger to not only the Ingalls family, but all the residents of De Smet, Gah, I love the Little House books, and none more than The Long Winter, the 6th in the series. Although all of Laura Ingalls' books have a cozy, homey charm, The Long Winter brings with it a gritier, more menacing realism of what life would actually have been like for the American pioneer. Since it is a children's book, Laura keeps the threat light, but make no mistake, the threat of starvation is a serious and ever present danger to not only the Ingalls family, but all the residents of De Smet, SD in that winter of continual blizzards. This is the time when you can really see the strength of the family Ingalls. Although I have no doubt that Laura wrote this with the aid of some time-tinted, rosy glasses and a due respect for her young reading audience, I also see that she didn't shy away from showing us how the constant struggle to keep warm, keep fed, and keep mentally strong wasn't pretty and wasn't easy for any of them. Pa's half-crazed tongue lashing at the blizzard, gentle ma's sharp rebuke of her beloved husband, and Laura's fearful initiation into the responsibilities of adulthood all make for riveting reading, regardless of your age. I love this family, and never more so then in this book. This series, more then any other I can think of, makes me proud of my American heritage and the strength of its earlier settlers. We could all stand to have more of their type of strength and perserverence today. *** 2012 personal reading challenge for the month of January: Childhood favorites that influenced my subsequent reading life Adult Equivalent: The Endurance by Caroline Alexander

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bren

    I love anything Little House.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Long Review Again, I get literal chills reading even just the beginning of this book – how high and fast the geese fly, knowing instinctively the freakishly hard winter that lies ahead, how the whole country lies empty of wildlife long before usual, the muskrats asleep deep in their thick mud house. I actually think that I learned everything I know about foreshadowing from The Long Winter (and probably everything I know about cold and hunger). The novel’s leisurely, foreboding set-up – the he The Long Review Again, I get literal chills reading even just the beginning of this book – how high and fast the geese fly, knowing instinctively the freakishly hard winter that lies ahead, how the whole country lies empty of wildlife long before usual, the muskrats asleep deep in their thick mud house. I actually think that I learned everything I know about foreshadowing from The Long Winter (and probably everything I know about cold and hunger). The novel’s leisurely, foreboding set-up – the heat of the haying, the meagre harvest, the muskrats’ deep building and the wild birds instinctive flight – then the old Native American stranger warning that he’s seen this before – Almanzo’s first appearance, casually offering directions when Carrie and Laura are lost in the Big Slough – blissfully unaware, as he lazes in the sun, how fiercely he’ll be tested and proven by deathly cold and those same long grasses at the climax of the novel, when he risks his life to feed the town. I swear this is the way I build a story, and I learned it here. I hear echoes in my own work, too, of theme and structure – here’s Laura, drawing well water as the sun rises over a world encased in hard frost, thinking: Laura loved the beautiful world. She knew that the bitter frost had killed the hay and the garden. The tangled tomato vines with their red and green tomatoes, and the pumpkin vines holding their broad leaves over the green young pumpkins, were all glittering bright in frost over the broken, frosty sod. The sod corn’s stalks and long leaves were white. The frost had killed them. It would leave every living green thing dead. But the frost was beautiful. And it reminds me so much of my own character Rose flying through the war-torn sky over Kent, though I was unconscious of the similarity as I wrote this passage from Rose Under Fire: I can’t get over how beautiful the barrage balloons are. I can’t even talk about it to anyone - they all think I am crazy. But when you’re flying over them, and the sky above you is a sea of gray mist and the land below you is all green, the silver balloons float in between like a school of shining silver whales, bobbing a little in the wind. They are as big as buses, and me and every other pilot has a healthy fear of them because their tethering cables are all loaded with explosives to try to snarl up enemy aircraft. But they are just magical from above, great big silver bubbles filling the sky. Incredible. It is just incredible that you can notice something like this when your face is so cold you can’t feel it any more, and you know perfectly well you are surrounded by death and the only way to stay alive is to endure the howling wind and stay on course. And still the sky is beautiful. And both passages are fearsome foreshadowing for the life-and-death struggles that lie in wait for both girls later in their respective books. (In some ways, Rose Under Fire is DEEPLY influenced by The Long Winter.) Going back to Wilder’s expert foreshadowing – I must touch on the early blizzards. An October blizzard hits the family while they are living in their shanty on their claim, and though they have plenty of food and hunger is a non-issue, the storm serves to warn them that they cannot survive the winter in this unfinished house, prompting their life-saving move to town. The second early blizzard, after the move, serves the plot in a ton of ways. The storm hits during school hours, so forces Carrie and Laura out into its teeth so we get to experience the terror of snow-blindness, banshee winds and “zero weather” through Laura’s eyes; it is this storm that first forces the town into isolation, eventually making it too dangerous to keep school open for the winter; but most important of all, hugely important, it introduces us to Cap Garland, Almanzo’s partner-in-crime in the heroic journey for wheat that is the novel’s climax. Cap is youthful and charismatic, Laura’s schoolmate, but he’s also the only one who recognizes the danger the school group is in as they stumble through the storm, and he takes action to save them. So right here in the beginning of the book we know he’s intelligent, capable, brave, and self-sacrificing. And this chapter is actually called “Cap Garland,” not “Lost in the Storm” or “Blizzard at School” or any number of other things the chapter heading might highlight. It highlights Cap himself. This book is absolutely beautifully structured, and I can’t ever read it now without noticing it. Even Laura and Carrie’s trip down Main Street to buy Pa’s Christmas present serves a dual purpose – it gives the reader a chance to see through Laura’s eyes the emptiness of both grocery stores as the town waits anxiously for a supply train to get through. The frightening wildness of each blizzard’s arrival is heightened now by the knowledge that every new storm sets back the desperately-needed train’s arrival by another day. There is no action or passage wasted anywhere in this text: it all serves to drive the plot, often in more than one way. Almanzo’s point of view is woven throughout the book so that the reader is used to seeing things from his point of view when the climax comes, but what he’s thinking is also important as it builds tension as he tries to save his own wheat. Eventually Laura’s and Almanzo’s storylines come together: it is Pa’s discovery of Almanzo’s hidden seed wheat that makes Almanzo realize there are people in the town who are literally in danger of starving to death, and precipitates his quest. (I like the way Pa is “Pa” in the text when the third person narrator is in Laura’s head, but he is “Mr. Ingalls” when the narrator is in Almanzo’s head.) And then the suspense, my God - in the chapter “For Daily Bread” she details the whole trip in the freezing cold as Cap and Almanzo find the mythic wheat, but they are in danger of losing their feet to frostbite on the journey back, the horses keep floundering in deep snow, they are never sure of their location, and just as the sun is setting and the next blizzard cloud is swirling in from the northwest, the chapter ends, and WE CUT TO A WHOLE CHAPTER BACK IN THE COLD, FOODLESS DARK INGALLS HOUSE. It’s masterful. In the last chapter, “Christmas in May” (I think – the book is out of my hands at the moment) the Boasts come and share “Christmas” dinner with the family, and of course that Pa is able to play his fiddle again – order and sanity is restored, all these hugely important things they have been deprived of all winter, social interaction and music and warmth and color, are back in their world. But I also really love that basically this chapter is just an orgy of food. The whole Christmas dinner is described in exquisite detail including scent and taste and color and texture, as they prepare it and eat it and have second and third helpings. Praise God for bread. --------------------- On the end paper, in the back of my copy, handwritten in pencil, is the toll free number to report power outages to the local electric company in Central Pennsylvania. My grandmother and I read the whole book aloud to each other in three days, snowbound during the blizzard of March 1993. I love this obscure memento.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    Eleanor and I just finished this up last night. A couple thoughts before she starts her review: I saw a facebook post not too long ago in which the person was opining that they didn't live in the "Little House days." This was in regard to Christmas. They mentioned how Laura and Mary et al received only one or two presents and were thrilled and grateful to receive them. You know, that was a "simpler time." Several days later, I saw that they were taking a trip to Disney for Christmas. And there wer Eleanor and I just finished this up last night. A couple thoughts before she starts her review: I saw a facebook post not too long ago in which the person was opining that they didn't live in the "Little House days." This was in regard to Christmas. They mentioned how Laura and Mary et al received only one or two presents and were thrilled and grateful to receive them. You know, that was a "simpler time." Several days later, I saw that they were taking a trip to Disney for Christmas. And there were no shortage of packages under their tree. Not that I begrudge them going to Disney. I love that place. (Although, not as much as my sister... She takes it to a whole new level.) The Long Winter, though, makes it pretty clear that we're romanticizing those times. The times were simpler - if you equate simple with hunger, boredom, and intense manual labor. Not only that, but in certain circles, the Wilders are elevated to a Protestant sainthood. (Ok... most Protestant denominations already believe in the "sainthood of the believer," but lets set that aside for a moment.) The Wilder's are often put on a pedestal. That every decision they made was a right and moral one. (As they were living in right and moral times - as oppose to today's immoral, consumer-driven, drugged-out, gunned-out, society.) But throughout the book, I saw them as people - people who made mistakes in very, very difficult times. There was a mob-mentality at the store when they forced Loftus to "see reason" and sell the goods at a reasonable price. True, Loftus agreed - and he shouldn't have jacked the price up in the first place - but I'm not sure that justifies what the town was doing. Or stealing from the emigrant train car. "'I'm past caring what he ought to do!' Pa said savagely. 'Let the railroad stand some damages! This isn't the only family in town that's got nothing to eat. We told Woodworth to open up that car or we'd do it. He tried to argue that there'll be another train tomorrow, but we didn't feel like waiting...'" As a society, we can understand some forms of stealing - but that doesn't absolve the thief from the law. Consider too, that this is what Laura wrote. (She wouldn't have been writing all the faults of her father in a children's book.) No doubt, the Ingalls were great people - but they were people. They were struggling to survive. They did what they could with little complaining - and that is admirable. But they were people living in a difficult time, with their share of mistakes and sins. In that way, they are very similar to all of us. I have to look into getting Eleanor a goodreads account of her own. She's been sitting here patiently waiting for me to type up my part before she gets her say. She's got the patience of an Ingalls. Eleanor: I've been thinking about my favorite part. Dad: And did you come up with one? E: YEAH! D: What is it? E: My favorite part was when they made hay while the sun shines. D: Why was that your favorite part? E: Because it was before the winter, and it was so nice and warm outside the claim shanty, and they didn't move into the town yet, and it was just so warm in their house. D: So you didn't like the winter then? E: No. It was too cold. Heh. WAAAAAAAAYYYYYY to cold. Way way way way way way way too cold. D: So you didn't like most of the book then. E: Well, I like the book. I just didn't like that it was so cold for so long for them. Because we usually have winters from December to February. D: That's a good point. E: Can you put a smiley face at the end? D: Why? E: At the end of the sentence. BECAUSE I'M SMILING!!! :) D: Ok. I'll put it at the end of the sentence you just said. Tell me more about The Long Winter. What you'd think about it? E: Pretty good. They were shivering, and they couldn't feel their feet. And they were selling wheat. D: What was the book about? E: KITTY! It wasn't about the kitty. I just saw the kitty and it distracted me. It was about when they settled in town for the hard winter. They were cold. And every day they shivered. And they only had brown bread and potatoes. Sometimes they had cod-fish gravy. Laura and Pa were always twisting hay into sticks for the fire. D: Do you think it would be fun to live back then, or are you happy to live now? E: Ummmmm... Either way is ok. D: Why's that? E: Back then they didn't have electricity. But I wonder how that brown bread tastes, and I didn't have cod-fish gravy. D: You've had brown bread before. E: When? D: I think we have some downstairs right now. Although, I think it's softer than the bread Mary and Laura ate. E: Why? D: Because of the way it's made. ...So, if you had to choose - when would you live? E: Now. D: Me too. But, really, I think either would be ok. E: Me too. D: Should I put anything else in here? E: YEAH! THEN IT WAS SPRING AND THE CHINOOK WAS BLOWING!!!! D: I think that's the moral of the story. E: What's "moral" mean? The "end" of the story? D: No, it means the message, or the point of the story. It means, that sometimes times are tough. But spring, and the good times have to come eventually - if you can outlast the bad.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    While this is not the most compelling Little House book it is a very important part of the story. I cannot imagine a better character building book. To live with the Ingalls through the long winter puts much of life's little frustrations in perspective. When Laura says, "For shame, Grace," after months and months of suffering, and little Grace utters the first and last complaint of the whole book, belies our own time and culture. No, it is not compelling to be confronted with one's own weaknesses While this is not the most compelling Little House book it is a very important part of the story. I cannot imagine a better character building book. To live with the Ingalls through the long winter puts much of life's little frustrations in perspective. When Laura says, "For shame, Grace," after months and months of suffering, and little Grace utters the first and last complaint of the whole book, belies our own time and culture. No, it is not compelling to be confronted with one's own weaknesses, but this book is a vividly drawn picture of a life lived with gratefulness.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Cox

    4 stars This book is a great adventure! Though I didn’t appreciate a few word choices, the story was great and interesting and kept me hooked. This was a staple of my childhood, and it was great fun to revisit it now that I’m grown.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Title tells the entire plot.

  11. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Ok, this book officially scared the holy bejesus out of me! I hate winter!!! Absolutely abhor it. My job is considered "emergency personnel " so regardless of weather conditions I am expected to make my appearance. Laura suffered through SEVEN MONTHS of blizzards. Holy Christ! There was some serious deprivation happening in this small town of about 87 people. Wheat bread and potatoes with tea were the rations. I can currently claim multigrain bread and tons of tea as staples in my apartment, not Ok, this book officially scared the holy bejesus out of me! I hate winter!!! Absolutely abhor it. My job is considered "emergency personnel " so regardless of weather conditions I am expected to make my appearance. Laura suffered through SEVEN MONTHS of blizzards. Holy Christ! There was some serious deprivation happening in this small town of about 87 people. Wheat bread and potatoes with tea were the rations. I can currently claim multigrain bread and tons of tea as staples in my apartment, not much else. I eat Panera a lot. And smoothie king. How am I supposed to do that in a major snow incident???? I'm thinking I should start storing some provisions-like ramen noodles and canned tomato soup. Please God never ever let me live through a winter like this. I don't think I can have the perseverance and presence of mind these pioneers had, if for no other reason than I can't stand freezing to death.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This is not a series I can be subjective about - it is way too much a part of my childhood. And this particular book was one of my favorites. It has been cold here this week, but not nearly as cold as it was in the book, and I'm SO glad to have a heater and food! I love this story and the all of the endurance and ingenuity shown over the Long Winter.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Celeste

    We live in troubled times. There is civil unrest and prejudice and unwarranted hatred plaguing our world, across borders and oceans and digital platforms. It’s easy to wish we could go back to simpler times, to an era where a man’s word was good and pollution was decades into the future. But I have to tell you: nothing and nobody and not any amount of money could convince me to travel back in time to trade lives with Laura Ingalls Wilder.. Nope. I love, no, I adore Little House on the Prairie. T We live in troubled times. There is civil unrest and prejudice and unwarranted hatred plaguing our world, across borders and oceans and digital platforms. It’s easy to wish we could go back to simpler times, to an era where a man’s word was good and pollution was decades into the future. But I have to tell you: nothing and nobody and not any amount of money could convince me to travel back in time to trade lives with Laura Ingalls Wilder.. Nope. I love, no, I adore Little House on the Prairie. The television series from the 70s has been my happy place all summer. But as the series progresses and as I’ve gotten farther into the books, I’ve come to see the dark side of prairie life. Yes, this was a time before technology made our world smaller and gave us the anonymity to attack those who disagree with us with no concern about the consequences. It was a time when neighbors helped each other, and when man had room to breathe without the crowding that is so common today. But it was also a time of extreme hardship. If you found yourself facing a longer, harder winter than you anticipated, you could very possibly starve to death or freeze to death. If a train couldn’t get through with supplies, or if your crop hadn’t done as well as you hoped during the summer months, you could watch helplessly as your food and fuel stores dwindled down to nothing. Can you imagine watching your children starve and knowing there was nothing you could do? We live in a world where food can be delivered to our doorstep, where aid is much more easily attained for those who need financial assistance, where school lunches are provided for kids whose parents can’t afford them. We live in a land of plenty. Even though that same truth doesn’t stretch across the globe, there are people working on ensuring that no one, no matter where they live or how little they have, won’t have to go hungry. We have so much to be thankful for, and yet often we are so focused on the negatives that we forget to count our blessings. After reading this book, I’m thankful for so many things. I’m thankful for a well insulated house and a reliable furnace, and for a fire place and an unlimited amount of firewood should the power fail. I’m thankful for stocked cabinets and a full refrigerator and a freezer full of meat. I’m thankful for nonperishable food, for processed foods in cans and boxes and bags, even if I hope the day never comes when they’re all we have to eat. I’m thankful for my car and for paved roads. I’m thankful for grocery stores. I’m thankful that I will never have to endure the kind of winter that Laura and her family had to endure, and that starvation is incredibly unlikely unless I’m lost far away from home. Honestly, I’m just thankful.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Remarkable how Laura is able to write a captivating, moving novel essentially about being housebound for six months during a long, harsh winter of blizzards. Perhaps more remarkable, she is able to convey the drudgery, the monotony, the physical and emotional toll of those dark days without the book becoming a horror story or pity party. For example, moment they realize Pa can no longer play the fiddle because his fingers are too numb and tattered from the cold is utterly heartbreaking (the fidd Remarkable how Laura is able to write a captivating, moving novel essentially about being housebound for six months during a long, harsh winter of blizzards. Perhaps more remarkable, she is able to convey the drudgery, the monotony, the physical and emotional toll of those dark days without the book becoming a horror story or pity party. For example, moment they realize Pa can no longer play the fiddle because his fingers are too numb and tattered from the cold is utterly heartbreaking (the fiddle music has helped them through tough times before) but somehow the Ingalls family finds strength within the love of their family and by keeping their Faith and their story is truly inspiring. How vividly I remember, even from my childhood when my mom read this to me, how Laura had to twist hay into “logs” to burn day in and day out, while Ma and the other girls huddled around the meager warmth of the stove, someone turning the coffee grinder every moment to produce the wee bit of flour from the seed wheat so that they did not completely starve. The story is also a terrific springboard for some thoughtful conversation with young people about morals and how people act during harrowing times (I’m thinking here especially about the chapters involving the stored seed wheat). Five bright, shining stars for this one!

  15. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    The family is finally done with this book, listening to Cherry Jones read it as we traveled over-the-rive-and-through-the-woods-to Grandmother's-house-we-go and over a few meals, even, and it was not always fun, sometimes tense, but on the whole it was good, as usual. This one is mostly blizzards and near starvation from the South Dakota winter. Tedious, for a while, then realistically and impressively oppressive and frightening. They could actually have starved. They go months never eating in a The family is finally done with this book, listening to Cherry Jones read it as we traveled over-the-rive-and-through-the-woods-to Grandmother's-house-we-go and over a few meals, even, and it was not always fun, sometimes tense, but on the whole it was good, as usual. This one is mostly blizzards and near starvation from the South Dakota winter. Tedious, for a while, then realistically and impressively oppressive and frightening. They could actually have starved. They go months never eating in any given day what might be required for ONE full meal! If some of the volumes are a little sugar-coated (by that eternally optimistic, always-look-on-the-bright-side-of-life-mother, this one focused on the border of long winters, the hard physical labor of grinding wheat into grain and the desperation to survive. I liked getting a pretty good picture of that, with the kids, so we could talk about world hunger.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jen from Quebec :0)

    Ever since I first read this series at the age of 9 or so, THIS one stuck out in my memory as a favorite. It just seemed so much more REAL than the others, even if, yes, they are all REAL stories. The Long Winter was indeed that, with 7 months of blizzards nearly freezing and starving the Ingalls family to death. As a kid, I liked it for the adventure of it all, as an adult I like it for the sense of realism- they actually nearly died! Starving, eating crushed up wheat, burning sticks of horse's Ever since I first read this series at the age of 9 or so, THIS one stuck out in my memory as a favorite. It just seemed so much more REAL than the others, even if, yes, they are all REAL stories. The Long Winter was indeed that, with 7 months of blizzards nearly freezing and starving the Ingalls family to death. As a kid, I liked it for the adventure of it all, as an adult I like it for the sense of realism- they actually nearly died! Starving, eating crushed up wheat, burning sticks of horse's hay to live, it gives one a sense of how hard live truly could be during those times. Also, I love that ALMANZO is a majo player in this book, and I love the Cap Garland character as well. This is by far, my favorite of the series, with good reason, I think! -Jen from Quebec :0)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Hunter

    Wow. Some free advice from Uncle Matt - don't choose The Long Winter as a read along with your toddler while at the same time reading Oryx and Crake. Atwood's dystopian nightmare's challenge enough. Throw in a claustrophobic account of near-starvation during a long, cold, blizzard laden winter and it's almost too much to bear in combination. The Long Winter's unlike any of the other books in the Little House series. The sense of foreboding and doom is palpable in the early chapters. Pa can't quit Wow. Some free advice from Uncle Matt - don't choose The Long Winter as a read along with your toddler while at the same time reading Oryx and Crake. Atwood's dystopian nightmare's challenge enough. Throw in a claustrophobic account of near-starvation during a long, cold, blizzard laden winter and it's almost too much to bear in combination. The Long Winter's unlike any of the other books in the Little House series. The sense of foreboding and doom is palpable in the early chapters. Pa can't quite put his finger on what's wrong with the weather pattern, but he's wary of what's ahead for the winter. And when a tribal elder shows up to say beware of the upcoming once-in-a-generation hard and long winter, the feeling of unease deepens even further. The constant blizzards start in October and last into April. Supply trains can't get through. Hunger and fights over dwindling resources ensue. Donner party anyone? Okay, there's no cannibalism. I've been reading too many post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels... To this point in the series, LIW has focused mainly on independence and freedom. The individual, or maybe the family unit, reigns supreme. Now that the Ingalls family is part of a newly formed town, The Long Winter explores the balance between the individual and the common good. Where does profit motive give way to community need? Is there a place for individual heroism in the public/common sphere? Can individuals and groups thrive together? Of course they can. The challenge is finding the sweet spot between individuation and cooperation. Easier said than done! But the stakes are high. Entire regions teetering on the brink of starvation; questions of international aid's role in feeding masses of hungry people; debates over the potential impact of privatizing water resources; providing our children a world class education - where should we draw the line between public and private initiative? If anyone tells you they have the one right answer, they're full of it. That said, we have no choice but to keep trying to find an appropriate balance at any given time. Whatever the case may be, LIW shows that individual generosity and gumption play essential roles in determining the common good. Yet another thought-provoking read along from LIW. Good stuff throughout this series!

  18. 5 out of 5

    E.F.B.

    Another excellent read. I'm excited that Laura has finally met the Wilders. :D With all the blizzards and the family being stuck inside for the majority of the book, the story could have easily gotten boring or repetitive, but as always the author kept things interesting even if it isn't as lighthearted as it once was. I also once again appreciated seeing how they dealt with things like blizzards back then. Such a stark contrast to when we get blizzards today and get freaked out if the power eve Another excellent read. I'm excited that Laura has finally met the Wilders. :D With all the blizzards and the family being stuck inside for the majority of the book, the story could have easily gotten boring or repetitive, but as always the author kept things interesting even if it isn't as lighthearted as it once was. I also once again appreciated seeing how they dealt with things like blizzards back then. Such a stark contrast to when we get blizzards today and get freaked out if the power even goes off. :P The Ingalls always impress me with how resourceful and strong they are. Three more books in this series to go. :) Content Advisory: Violence/Peril: Pa hunts in order to feed his family, but no animal deaths are described. There is some peril through much of the book related to the blizzards and the Ingalls family (and the whole town) worrying that they might not last the winter, but no one dies. Sexual: Laura is a teenager now and it's briefly hinted that an older boy might like her, but nothing untoward ever happens.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kailey (BooksforMKs)

    This story can get depressing since there is so much cold darkness and disaster and privation. But man triumphs over nature, and I love how the Ingalls family support and encourage one another even in the difficult times. A wonderful story, beautifully written and very compelling!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jonna Higgins-Freese

    I read this first when I was young, and a few years ago started a practice of re-reading it every winter, whenever I start to feel sorry for myself because it's so cold and dark. Re-reading it as an adult, I'm impressed by how cheerful they remained in the face of tremendous adversity. I love her storytelling, which is so simple on the surface, but really complex enough to entertain both children and adults. I agree with one of Kim Stanley Robinson's characters in the Science in the Capitol seri I read this first when I was young, and a few years ago started a practice of re-reading it every winter, whenever I start to feel sorry for myself because it's so cold and dark. Re-reading it as an adult, I'm impressed by how cheerful they remained in the face of tremendous adversity. I love her storytelling, which is so simple on the surface, but really complex enough to entertain both children and adults. I agree with one of Kim Stanley Robinson's characters in the Science in the Capitol series, who suggested this might be the great American novel.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Great tension in this installment. It feels less episodic than many of the other books. The horribly long winter and fear of starvation really pulls it all together.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Good reading for a summer heat wave.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

    Review #1 - The Little House series was so popular in my school in 1975 that after I’d finished Little House on the Prairie, the only book available in my school library was the sixth in the series, The Long Winter. At 400+ pages, it was the longest book I’d ever read, and it took me months. Kids in my class even commented about it. “It’s called The Long Winter because it’s long book.” And that was one of the more neutral comments. Much more typical was, “You’re still reading that?” And from the Review #1 - The Little House series was so popular in my school in 1975 that after I’d finished Little House on the Prairie, the only book available in my school library was the sixth in the series, The Long Winter. At 400+ pages, it was the longest book I’d ever read, and it took me months. Kids in my class even commented about it. “It’s called The Long Winter because it’s long book.” And that was one of the more neutral comments. Much more typical was, “You’re still reading that?” And from the teacher’s pet: “I finished it in four days.” And so, though I’d been best reader in my class in Manhattan, in my new school in Queens, I acquired a reputation for being a slow reader and therefore, a dumb kid. What I wish someone had told me back then was that The Long Winter was not meant for a girl of seven. Laura is about thirteen in the book, so the ideal reader is her age or close to it. I’d say the first four books, Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, Farmer Boy, and On the Banks of Plum Creek, are perfect for kids from grades two through four. Everything from By the Shores of Silver Lake and afterward is for fifth or sixth graders at least. So I had some pretty painful associations with this book, and I didn’t remember much of it. I remember being struck at how Carrie was no longer “Baby Carrie,” but a kid who spent more time with Laura than Mary, who, of course, had gone blind. I don’t remember my reactions to that at all, though it may be that another fan clued me in on how it happened. I do remember the Wilder boys, and of course, the main theme – the big blizzard that kept everyone stranded for months. When that kid in my class said, “It’s called The Long Winter because it’s a long book,” I took it as him making fun of my stupidity. Now, I see it differently. Perhaps I don’t remember the details of the plot, but I felt The Long Winter. It was hard, it took months, I couldn’t wait for it to end, and somehow, I got through it. Review #2 - Okay, update since I wrote the above. I re-read The Long Winter in its entirety over Passover, and much of it out loud to my son. He's a teenager who's perfectly capable of reading to himself, but hey, I'll do anything to connect to him at this rough stage. Anyway, we both loved it. It may just be my favorite Little House book of all. And now that I'm learning about Rose Wilder Lane's hand in the books and her libertarian ideology, I couldn't help but look at the book in that light. I've started a discussion, with quotes, at this link: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/5... Also, I'm not quite sure how I feel about what Almanzo did. I mean, obviously it was heroic, but he got someone else to sell what he wasn't willing to sell himself. It doesn't seem entirely pure. But my husband says that if the guy wouldn't have sold, and then Almanzo refused to sell, then we could judge his actions as wrong. But given the sacrifices he made, one would think that if push came to shove, he would have sold for the sake of the starving community. Any thoughts?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    The title of this installment of the Little House series sums up the theme - The Long Winter. When Charles notices that the muskrats have built an exceptionally sturdy home for the winter with very thick walls he points out to Laura that animals know things through the environment that we humans no longer recognize. Other signs are pointing to a cold winter and when a Native American comes into one of the shops and communicates his predictions, it frightens the settlers and rightfully so. "Heap The title of this installment of the Little House series sums up the theme - The Long Winter. When Charles notices that the muskrats have built an exceptionally sturdy home for the winter with very thick walls he points out to Laura that animals know things through the environment that we humans no longer recognize. Other signs are pointing to a cold winter and when a Native American comes into one of the shops and communicates his predictions, it frightens the settlers and rightfully so. "Heap big snow, big wind...Many moons" while holding up seven fingers meaning seven months of blizzards. And, yeah, guess what. He was right. The winter is horrible with blizzard after blizzard. The Ingalls move into their town building rather than live in the shanty on their claim. Food becomes scarce and as it says it's a Long Winter. There are several reasons this was a 5-star read. First, the description of the winter and the struggles of the settlers kept you on the edge of your seat. It was truly a life or death situation. Second, we get to see more of the grown up Almanzo Wilder and he is quite a young man although Laura still barely knows him and doesn't seem to give him a second thought. Lastly, and most importantly, Caroline finally has enough and tells Charles NO a few times. Go, Caroline! "A fellow might do it," Pa remarked. "With a couple of days of clear weather and a snowfall to hold up the sled, he ought to be able to make it all ri..." "No!" said Ma. Pa looked at her, startled. They all stared at her. They had never seen Ma look like that. She was quiet but she was terrible. Quietly she told Pa, "I say, No. You don't take such a chance." "Why...Caroline!" Pa said. "Your hauling hay is bad enough," Ma told him. "You don't go hunting for that wheat." Pa said mildly, "Not as long as you feel that way about it, I won't. But..." "I won't hear any buts," Ma said, still terrible. "This time I put my foot down." "All right, that settles it," Pa agreed. Laura and Carrie looked at each other. They felt as if thunder and lightning had come down on them suddenly, and suddenly gone.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carol Bakker

    This book (with its siblings) is the bedrock of my reading life. I haven't revisited it for a few years; our 2017 Oregon winter made me eager to see, again, how the Ingalls made it through all those blizzards. I started reading the print book, but the audiobook jumped into my hands when I visited the children's audiobook section in our public library. At first I was put off by the reader's voice: raspy and low, like the gravelly tones of a lifetime smoker. But her huskiness made Pa's voice so co This book (with its siblings) is the bedrock of my reading life. I haven't revisited it for a few years; our 2017 Oregon winter made me eager to see, again, how the Ingalls made it through all those blizzards. I started reading the print book, but the audiobook jumped into my hands when I visited the children's audiobook section in our public library. At first I was put off by the reader's voice: raspy and low, like the gravelly tones of a lifetime smoker. But her huskiness made Pa's voice so convincing that I ended up preferring it. I'm so glad that she sang all the songs. There are snippets of fiddle music, too... Each reading reminds me to be grateful for what I have and never to complain. I admire how diligently Ma and Pa work to maintain good spirits. And sort of rejoice the one time Ma loses it. How wise the parents were to hold some good things back in order to have surprises later. And, again, how much kids desire to help and contribute: Laura's help with the haying, Mary's grinding wheat in a hand-held coffee grinder, all but the baby twisting hay into 'sticks' for heat. I have always considered Scotland my adopted homeland. That love for all things Scottish, it just occurred to me, probably started with Charles and Caroline Ingalls and the several references to Scottish glory and ingenuity. I'm eager now to revisit the series in their audio form.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maria Elmvang

    My mum used to say that this was the most boring book of the lot. Perhaps that was warning enough that I never felt so. I realize it's quite repetitious, but you get to follow an entire town during a difficult time, and get lots of survival tips for a situation like that. It's the only book not told solely from one person's POV which I think was a good choice as there would otherwise have been far too much telling and not enough showing. Reread in January 2010: It's been insanely cold for an insa My mum used to say that this was the most boring book of the lot. Perhaps that was warning enough that I never felt so. I realize it's quite repetitious, but you get to follow an entire town during a difficult time, and get lots of survival tips for a situation like that. It's the only book not told solely from one person's POV which I think was a good choice as there would otherwise have been far too much telling and not enough showing. Reread in January 2010: It's been insanely cold for an insanely long period of time (after Danish standards anyway), so I figured it was quite appropriate to reread this now. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed it as much as always. Definitely made me realize how lucky I am to live in a day and age where electricity, heat and transportation are things we can take for granted.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Full review @ Smoke & Mirrors: http://books-n-music.blogspot.com/201.... Unbelievable how close they all came to starving! Oh, my! Twisting hay for fuel and using ab itty-bitty grinder to coarsely grind wheat for brown bread, which they lived on for months! Crazy blizzards, one right after another. This had more suspense, what with Cap and Almanzo on their "wheat expedition"!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this as a child. Wow, I am blown away reading it again as an adult and a parent. It is one of my dad’s favorite books and I can see why. The girls and I all were captivated listening to this in the van. I missed an exit on the interstate one day because I was so caught up in the story. When will that train arrive?? Will they run out of wheat?? I especially enjoyed Almonzo’s role in this story. He first seems like selfish jerk, not wanting to sell his seed wheat no matter what. Then he real I read this as a child. Wow, I am blown away reading it again as an adult and a parent. It is one of my dad’s favorite books and I can see why. The girls and I all were captivated listening to this in the van. I missed an exit on the interstate one day because I was so caught up in the story. When will that train arrive?? Will they run out of wheat?? I especially enjoyed Almonzo’s role in this story. He first seems like selfish jerk, not wanting to sell his seed wheat no matter what. Then he realizes townspeople are about to starve and he risks his life to find more wheat for them. That expedition was amazing. In the end it keeps *him* from having to sell *his* seed wheat to the townspeople. But then he didn’t have enough to feed everyone anyway. In the end he takes no pay for the trek and doesn’t use any of the wheat himself. Almanzo and Cap’s heroism made me think about that testosterone-fueled reckless streak that seems to run in most men in their teens and 20s. (It’s why their car insurance premiums are higher.) that streak so often causes havoc and heartache and just disgusts me. But this, this! situations like this are why they have that recklessness. This is what it’s for. It has to be channeled. And combined with a lot of responsibility. Food for thought as I raise my fearless, fun-loving little boy. Also I was shocked by the farmer’s unwillingness to sell his wheat even when he learned others were starving. And by the store keeper’s attempt to make a huge profit from others’ starvation. The American pioneer ideal of freedom, independence and self-sufficiency has a dark side

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    I could hardly put this sixth book in the Little House series down! How on earth are the Ingalls' family going to survive The Long Winter? Everyone in the story gives of themselves even when it seems like there is nothing left to give. During that long winter they are hit by blizzard after blizzard. The food and fuel run out. The general store is bare. But complaining is forbidden. Each one is expected to do their part to keep the home running. Ma Ingalls invents recipes out of odds and ends that I could hardly put this sixth book in the Little House series down! How on earth are the Ingalls' family going to survive The Long Winter? Everyone in the story gives of themselves even when it seems like there is nothing left to give. During that long winter they are hit by blizzard after blizzard. The food and fuel run out. The general store is bare. But complaining is forbidden. Each one is expected to do their part to keep the home running. Ma Ingalls invents recipes out of odds and ends that are left over. She creates a "button lamp" when the kerosene is gone. When there is no more coal, Mr. Ingalls comes up with another solution Sacrificial love is a repeated theme in all of the books and one of the reasons they merit multiple readings. A fun element in this book is that Almonzo Wilder is introduced as a part of the community. (The story of his childhood is told in Book Four, Farmer Boy, but that is before he moves out west and meets the Ingalls' family.) He and his older brother Royal have several interactions with Mr. Ingalls, but not the rest of the family yet. I was so immersed in the story of multiple blizzards that I was surprised to look up and see the sun shining through my window! And I shed a tear for joy when the "Chinook" finally blew in. This is probably my favorite Little House book so far.

  30. 4 out of 5

    LibraryCin

    4.5 stars The Ingalls family has come to the Dakotas and is homesteading there. When there are early signs of a really bad winter, Pa decides they should move into town and live in their store, which is better insulated against the cold to come. This turns out to be a good choice, as this particular winter turns out to have blizzard after blizzard after blizzard hit, with few breaks in between. Due to all the blizzards, trains can’t get through to bring additional supplies – food, coal (for heat) 4.5 stars The Ingalls family has come to the Dakotas and is homesteading there. When there are early signs of a really bad winter, Pa decides they should move into town and live in their store, which is better insulated against the cold to come. This turns out to be a good choice, as this particular winter turns out to have blizzard after blizzard after blizzard hit, with few breaks in between. Due to all the blizzards, trains can’t get through to bring additional supplies – food, coal (for heat), etc. I love these books! The series is so much fun to reread. This one, I thought, was so good at describing/capturing the cold of the prairie winters. I grew up on the Canadian Prairies and it can be cold. Of course, we are now very lucky to have the heating we do. I can’t imagine that kind of cold inside the house or the isolation they would have felt at the time, as well, with the trains not able to get to them! This really is an amazing series.

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