About the horse stealing book . . .

It’s no secret that most of the stuff I post here stems from my work digitizing, reading, and then blogging about the letters my grandpa wrote to his parents and his future wife, Rose, during World War II. Eventually I am going to work this material into a book manuscript, which I would really like to be available in time for the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 2021).

However, most of my research and historical work until recently has focused on horse stealing in the nineteenth-century American West, specifically Nebraska. I began this research nearly a decade ago, when the Autry National Center in Los Angeles awarded me a fellowship to conduct research on the John Bratt Ranching Collection. My goal was to use Bratt’s voluminous ranching records to better understand how horse stealing affected ranchers and their bottom line. The material, which few historians have used up until now, yielded some fascinating insights, and I used these to get a head start on my dissertation writing.

After finishing my dissertation, “Honor among Thieves: Horse Stealing and Culture in Lincoln County, Nebraska, 1860 – 1890” in 2014, I was slow to pick the project back up and finish it. However, I started getting serious about it a couple of years ago and decided to expand my analysis beyond Lincoln County to Western Nebraska in general. I finally finished the manuscript this summer, and it should be out next fall.

* Not the actual book cover, which has not yet been designed . . . this is just something I whipped up on Photoshop. The photo however will be in the book. (Source: Edward S. Curtis, Brulé war party, [1907?], b&w film copy negative, Edward S. Curtis Collection, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-46958.)

I don’t want to give too much away about the book . . . after all, it is a narrative, and I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending! But my book, which is the first to tackle both American Indian horse raiding and white horse stealing as related historical phenomena, will cover a lot of ground. As the year goes by I will periodically post updates here, as well as tidbits from the book, items of interest that didn’t make the final cut, and other stuff.

I apologize in advance if the blog seems to ping-pong between the old West and the Pacific Theater, with occasional references to Midwestern earthquakes from time to time. Most academic historians are a bit less cluttered with their varying projects, although I would argue that my grandpa’s letters project would never happen if these letters did not literally fall in my lap (my dad, after my grandpa died, actually dropped a suitcase full of these letters inside right on my lap! It was pretty heavy . . .). In the meantime, once Never Caught Twice is out I would like to write another book about the Great Plains, which I’ve grown to love over the past ten years. I have some ideas, but, for now, I think I’m going to focus on writing just one book at a time. 🙂

Welcome!

Hi folks!

My name is Dr. Matt Luckett, and welcome to my new homepage! I will use this space to update everyone on my teaching, research, and film projects. This will be a one-stop shop, hopefully, for news and updates about whatever it is I happen to be working on at any given moment.

I believe that 2019 is going to be an exciting year up here in Orangevale, CA. For starters, I recently submitted my book manuscript draft, entitled Honor among Thieves: Horse Stealing and Culture in Western Nebraska, 1850 – 1890 to the University of Nebraska Press.

I am also developing a documentary film, Earthshaking, in partnership with Emmy Award-winning Director Mario Congreve. Our sizzle reel is almost done, and I will post a link to it soon. In the meantime, please check out our website: www.earthshakingdocumentary.com.

Soon I will begin posting letters and other materials from my grandfather, Elmer Luckett, a Pearl Harbor survivor from Saint Louis who passed away last March. He has given several interviews to Missouri media outlets over the past few years, as he was (I believe) the last Pearl Harbor survivor alive in the St. Louis area. In an effort to keep his memory alive (and in hopes of starting a book project) I will begin posting items from his voluminous letter collection.

Finally, if you are a student of mine, please check out my “Office Hours” page for up-to-date syllabi and some helpful links to a variety of research, writing, and history sites. I will regularly post updates here, so please check back frequently.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my page! Please feel free to send me a message in the Contact section, or send an email to my personal address at lucketthistory at gmail dot com.

Cheers,

Matt