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Louisa May Alcott began writing as a young child and turned her facility into a career in her teens when her father, utopian theorist Bronson Alcott, left her family in dire financial straits. Helping to support her family, she published her first book, Flower Fables, in 1854. She served as a nurse during the Civil War, and her memoir Hospital Sketches was published in 1863. Asked by her publisher to write a book for girls, Alcott drew upon her own family experiences to write Little Women (1868). This heartwarming novel chronicles the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—as they grew up during the Civil War. A success upon its publication, Little Women remains an American literary classic, its popularity so engaging that it has been adapted several times for the silver screen and Broadway.

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