Thank God this is still in print. Sure, lots of fans of the "Little House"
series will find this a charming alternative. But Laura Ingalls Wilder was
already an accomplished writer by this time, and her recorded impressions
during a family visit to her daughter and son-in-law during the 1915 Pan
Pacific International Exposition was a godsend for anyone who wants to know
of San Francisco history.
The city was devastated by the 1906 earthquake and fire; the PPIE
was a chance for the city's residents to show how quickly they could
recover and rebuild, and they put their souls into it. The city fairly
sparkled for the Exposition's visitors that summer. Wilder's letters home
to her husband were an accurate and very personable observance of the city
as it was. She described the big events as well as the telling little
details that made San Francisco unique among American cities. The photos
accompanying her letters add to the authenticity.
This is book not just a "niche gem" for Wilder fans, but also for
those who love San Francisco, and those who live history. Her record of a
vacation to the coast may've seemed to her like trivial family
correspondence, but for this native son of Baghdad by the Bay, her letters
were a vivid portrait of a time that will not be seen again. This is one of
the top ten historical recollections of a major, turn of the century