To research his new mid-1800s novel, Heyday, Kurt Andersen turned to the contents of his library, a collection as multifaceted as its owner.
As a young man growing up in Omaha, Kurt Andersen dreamed of moving east. His parents were big readers; his mother was an amateur Willa Cather scholar who gave talks on the Nebraska novelist at women’s groups and book clubs. Andersen wrote for his junior high school paper, and at fifteen he discovered Emerson and Thoreau. His eldest sister went to graduate school in Chicago, which suggested to him the possibility of an