Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott

The Woman Behind "Little Women"

By Harriet Reisen

Picador USA, Paperback, 9780312658878, 444pp.

Publication Date: October 26, 2010


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 more 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.

About the Author
Harriet Reisen s interest in Louisa May Alcott dates to her marathon reading of Alcott s eight children s novels during a rainy spell one childhood summer. Over the past twenty years, what began as an idea for a film biography of Alcott developed into a passion for the subject herself. A former fellow in screenwriting at the American Film Institute, Reisen has written dramatic and historical documentary scripts for PBS and HBO, and radio commentary for "Morning Edition" and "Marketplace". She lives in Massachusetts.

Praise For Louisa May Alcott

“At last, Louisa May Alcott has the biography that admirers of Little Women might have hoped for.” —The Wall Street Journal's Best 10 Books of the Year

“A magnificent new biography . . . a classic.” —The Washington Times

“Fans will adore Harriet Reisen's sympathetic biography. . . .With charming verve, she details Alcott's remarkable if difficult life.” —USA Today “Superb . . . punctuates the myths of the Alcott family, rendering Louisa May with nuance.” —Chicago Tribune “A biography as vibrant as its subject.” —Vogue

“Reisen’s lifelong fascination with Little Women and the woman who wrote it has produced an absorbing narrative, in many ways the best ever, of Alcott’s own life. . . . The utterly compelling force of Alcott’s personality has never been better described. I found the book compulsively readable; I couldn’t put it down.” —Robert Richardson, author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire and Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind

“Brilliantly researched. . . . Her biography will occupy an essential place on any Alcott bookshelf.” —John Matteson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father

“A beautifully written, significant, and fascinating work. Harriet Reisen does with this biography what Alcott did with her writing—gives us a memorable and inspiring gift full of humanity, heart, and soul.” —Winona Ryder, producer and star of Little Women (1994)