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“An important study for students of Oz. This is a fun and informative journey that reveals Baum’s prairie influences while disclosing insights into South Dakota’s past.”—Journal of the West
“Koupal’s On the Road to Oz: L. Frank Baum as Editor [in this book] is one of the most important articles on Baum to have been published during the Centennial year , and one that everyone interested in Baum should read..”—The Baum Bugle
Expecting to find material prosperity as a merchant in Aberdeen, Dakota Territory, from 1881 to 1891, L. Frank Baum instead gained invaluable experience and insight there that informed his later writing career.
Baum helped promote the town’s professional baseball team to the 1889 Dakota Territory championship game, operating behind the scenes much like the man behind the screen in his Wizard of Oz. As editor of the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, he offered controversial opinions on various topics—including woman suffrage, spiritualism, tolerance, contentment, and deceptive trade practices—that later thread through his Oz books. And in his animal fairy tales, he exhibited a keen appreciation of prairie experiences and the habits of gophers, bison, and other wild animals on the plains.
In this book, generous samples of his poetry, editorials, and tales are interspersed with essays by Nancy Tystad Koupal, Michael Patrick Hearn, and Mark I. West to give readers an appreciation for this American storyteller’s Dakota experiences.
Baum's Road to Oz is an "enthusiastically recommended volume for college libraries, serious-minded students, scholars, and fans of L. Frank Baum's classics."—The Internet Bookwatch