The best books about Louisa May Alcott

The Books I Picked & Why

The Journals of Louisa May Alcott

By Louisa May Alcott

The Journals of Louisa May Alcott

Why this book?

This book opened up Louisa, and who she was to me. We can see her cheery optimism when she is younger, as well as the many inner battles she has with herself. We see her wit and humor, her desire to care for those she loves. As she ages and struggles with health issues, the reader feels her pain. Not a light-hearted book, but an extremely insightful one for those who want to gain a true glimpse into the character of this remarkable woman.


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Louisa on the Front Lines: Louisa May Alcott in the Civil War

By Samantha Seiple

Louisa on the Front Lines: Louisa May Alcott in the Civil War

Why this book?

We know Louisa May Alcott primarily as an author and the writer of the great masterpiece, Little Women, but many do not realize she was also a nurse during the Civil War. This book explores how her experiences in Washington D.C. as a nurse impacted her writing as well as her beliefs. Easy to read, captivating account. Highly recommend!


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Hospital Sketches

By Louisa May Alcott

Hospital Sketches

Why this book?

This is Louisa’s firsthand account of her time as a nurse during the Civil War. Written with warmth and humor, the reader can easily see glimpses of Louisa’s writing voice developing. I was particularly drawn to the detailed account and her fond feelings behind John Suhre, her “prince of patients,” a “most attractive” and “comely featured” blacksmith who was badly wounded at Fredericksburg. Louisa was greatly moved by John’s quiet dignity in the midst of his suffering and was determined to nobly share in it with him.

The beautiful language and sweet affection Louisa used to write of John in Hospital Sketches inspired me to create a fictional sister for John named Johanna, who is the historical heroine in The Orchard House. Johanna becomes a dear friend of Louisa’s.


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Louisa May Alcott: A Biography

By Madeleine B. Stern

Louisa May Alcott: A Biography

Why this book?

This is a well-researched, detailed biography of Louisa’s works and life. I appreciated the author covering the many different stories Louisa wrote throughout her life and how they reflected her experiences. I also loved the information on why Louisa used a pen name in the earlier part of her career. Very insightful and informative!


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The Selected Letters Of Louisa May Alcott

By Louisa May Alcott

The Selected Letters Of Louisa May Alcott

Why this book?

Ranging from sweet letters to her family to everyday business correspondence, these letters open up Louisa’s world to me. The reader obtains a snapshot of Louisa’s life and career through her various correspondences as well as glimpses into her writing process and her struggles to write prolificly when her health deteriorates. It was fun to read about her books in the letters and gain insight into the story behind them.


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