Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 3, Summer 2009, pp. 249-250
The original version of Nebraska Moments, authored by Don Hickey in 1992, admirably filled an important niche as an accessible, eminently readable introduction to many of the highlights of Nebraska history. Susan and John Wunder have thoroughly revised and updated this delightful book for a new generation of readers. The changes to the earlier edition are substantial, including a number of entirely new chapters. The book opens with one of them, on the ill-fated Spanish Villasur expedition, which allows the Wunders to explore the preLouisiana Purchase era of Nebraska history. All five final chapters-on the Kearney Arch, the rape and murder of Brandon Teena, the "Big Red" football phenomenon, the 1986 Kay OrrHelen Boosalis governor's race, and a Malcolm X-Gerald Ford essay-are new, as are chapters covering Nebraska's leading visual artists and early twentieth-century anti-immigrant attitudes and racial intolerance, the latter focused on the 1923 Meyer v. Nebraska Supreme Court case.
Much of Hickey's original material has also been extensively expanded or altered. A chapter on "Nebraska's Scientists" adds discussions of Harold Edgerton and George Beadle to Hickey's essay on Loren Eiseley, while the chapter on World War II POW camps has been enlarged with a discussion of the North Platte Canteen 'and other WWII home front themes. Bess Streeter Aldrich now appears with other important Nebraska literary figures. The chapter on Louise Pound includes other members of the remarkable Pound family. Father Flanagan and Boys Town share billing with Progressive Era children's rights advocates Grace and Edith Abbott, while Charles Bryan accompanies Charles Dawes as Nebraska's vice-presidential candidates.