Nebraska Moments

Nebraska Moments

Nebraska Moments

Nebraska Moments


Nebraska author Mari Sandoz remarked that most people see Nebraska as "that long flat state that sets between me and any place I want to go." If so, they're missing plenty, as this entertaining volume makes abundantly clear. Susan A. Wunder and John R. Wunder's new, expanded, and updated edition of Donald R. Hickey's classic account of defining Nebraska moments showcases triumph, tragedy, comedy, and accomplishments that could have happened nowhere else and that reveal the rich culture and history under the state's deceptively quiet surface. There are moments that shine- surviving the Oregon and Mormon trails; completing the Union Pacific Railroad; and winning national football championships, Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, and presidential nominations. There are also moments of darkness such as the murders of Crazy Horse, Malcolm X, and Brandon Teena; the lynchings of Will Brown and Juan Gonzalez; and the Blizzard of 1888. Together they evoke a dramatic history populated with the likes of Pedro Villasur, Willa Cather, and William Jennings Bryan. This new edition also mines Nebraska's most recent history, adding to the ever-changing, ever-intriguing picture of this Great Plains state.


The first edition of Nebraska Moments: Glimpses of Nebraska’s Past was written by Donald R. Hickey and published in 1992. It was a masterful accomplishment. A full generation of Nebraskans have read excitedly about Don’s vision of the Cornhusker State’s history. This book is as special as the state itself. Not everyone understood Nebraska, Don reminded us. They didn’t take enough time to burrow into its grounded past. He noted in his most very thoughtful introduction that

Most people had never set foot in Nebraska and had no
desire to do so. Many of those who had visited the state had seen only
what is visible from U.S. 30 or Interstate 80. According to Mari Sandoz,
most of these people saw Nebraska as “that long flat state that sets
between me and any place I want to go.” President John F. Kennedy’s
chief aide, Ted Sorensen (himself a native of Lincoln), was less chari
table. In an attempt to shock Nebraskans out of their conservative
complacency, he told a McCook audience in 1961 that the state was
“a place to come from or a place to die.”

Don’s first edition challenged all of that, and we’d like to think this new edition continues the tradition—extolling virtues and exposing flaws while highlighting the past and pointing toward the future.

So we offer a sincere thanks to Don Hickey for his fine book and the opportunity to build upon its legacy. In addition, we also wish to mention a number of people who have helped make the new edition possible. First is Elizabeth Demers, former history acquisitions editor of the University of Nebraska Press, who invited us to take on this project. Then there are the numerous friends and colleagues who have read chapter drafts, made substantive suggestions, and generally been both . . .

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