A vast, barren landscape or a place of subtle natural beauty; the middle of nowhere or the gateway to the cultural and historical riches of the West; many things to many people and a cipher to many more-the great state of Nebraska is by force of circumstances a place of possibilities. What these possibilities are and what they promise are precisely what the writers of The Big Empty tell us. Exploring the state from its rural reaches to its urban engines, from its marvelous ecosystems to its myriad historical and cultural offerings, these narratives evoke Nebraska in all its facets. Writers as diverse as Ron Hansen, Ted Kooser, Michael Anania, Bob Kerrey, Mary Pipher, Delphine Red Shirt, and William Kloefkorn, among many others, bring a wealth of perspectives and styles to topics such as the Oregon Trail and the Cheyenne Exodus, farming and Internet cafes, politics, weather, and family secrets. The result is a portrait whose broad strokes and rich detail capture the mysterious character of Nebraska.