Wall Street Journal Calls Harriet Reisen’s Alcott Bio one of 2009’s “Standout Selections” that “Amazed and Impressed Reviewers”

The Journal’s December 18th article quoted Melanie Kirkpatrick’s review of Harriet Reisen’s “enchanting portrait of the author… who exhibited many of the qualities that have made her best-known work so beloved: such old-fashioned virtues as selflessness, self-control and duty to family.”

Alcott biography on New Hampshire Public Radio’s List of the Year’s Best

Alcott biography on New Hampshire Public Radio’s List of the Year’s Best


And The Birthday Book Give-Away Contest Winner Is…


Cultural Critic Julia M. Klein calls book “intimate…moving and sympathetic”

“In Little Women, the autobiographical classic sobbed over by generations of young girls, Louisa May Alcott softened her family’s tribulations to suit Victorian sensibilities. Harriet Reisen’s Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women (A John MacRae Book/Henry Holt and Company) fills in the rest of the picture, describing a life more complicated, unconventional and tragic than Alcott’s fans might have imagined.” – Julia M. Klein, a cultural reporter and critic in Philadelphia and a contributing editor at the Columbia Journalism Review, is a regular contributor to Obit.

Booklist’s starred review says “magnificent” biography brings Louisa “to whirling life.”

Reisen’s love for Little Women and curiosity about the author became a grand obsession, inspiring her to write the screenplay for the first Alcott documentary and this uniquely vital and dramatic biography. Reisen’s cinematic eye brings Louisa to whirling life as a coltish, fearless girl of “explosive exuberance” and sharp intellect, while she portrays Louisa’s parents with compassion and criticism: blue-blooded Abigail, continually pregnant, impossibly burdened, yet resilient and innovative; utopian Bronson, famous for his progressive ideas, infamous for his incompetence. Alcott inherited her mother’s pragmatism and courage and a touch of her father’s vision and madness and bravely struggled through a crazy-quilt childhood of wretched poverty and social privilege—their closest friends were the luminaries Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau, whom Alcott loved. She supported the family, laboring as a laundress, teaching, and serving as an army nurse in the Civil War while “training herself as a businesswoman as well as a fast, versatile pen for hire.” Reisen analyzes Louisa’s great pleasure in writing lucrative pulp fiction, her sacrifices, adventures, and brilliant career. Here, finally, is Alcott whole, a trailblazing woman grasping freedom in a time of sexual inequality and war, a survivor of cruel tragedies, a quintessential American writer. Reisen’s magnificent biography will be in high demand when PBS premieres her American Masters documentary. — Donna Seaman

People Magazine asks, “Who Knew?”

The Little Women author smoked hash, had a crush on Thoreau and may have been manic depressive,” says People’s November 23, 2009 issue.

“Who knew?”

Alcott audiobook set for December 1, 2009

Tantor Media is finishing recording Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women and expects to have it in stores well before Christmas. Author Harriet Reisen is the narrator. Tantor Media is coming up fast in the audiobook world–it puts out 30-50 titles each month.

Author Talk: Harriet Reisen

Tomorrow, November 12th at 6PM at the Boston Public Library, author Harriet Reisen will read selections from her book, “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women” followed by a Q&A and book signing.


Birthday Book Give-Away

Enter for your chance to win a signed copy of “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women”.


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