When Horace Plunkett left Britain for the American West in 1879, seeking relief for lung problems, he launched a ranching career in Wyoming that influenced the cattle industry and altered the course of his own life. Previous biographers have studied his career in British politics and his involvement in the agricultural cooperative movement. Lawrence M. Woods now offers a detailed look at Plunkett’s American years.
This is the first book to portray Plunkett as a major figure in the western-range cattle industry, unearthing new evidence that reveals how he mastered the microeconomics of ranching. Woods brings his own business and legal acumen to the narrative to describe how, even as other Britons failed to find fortune in the West, Plunkett continually pursued new business arrangements while navigating the thickets of American law.
Woods also shows that Plunkett’s influence carried well beyond the range. In Washington, D.C., he promoted his ideas on agricultural education and the rural cooperative movement, earning him the ear of President Theodore Roosevelt. And when the Great War broke out, Plunkett functioned as a kind of private diplomat, carrying messages back and forth between the administration of President Woodrow Wilson and the British government.
Horace Plunkett in America draws on Plunkett’s extensive diaries and on American sources hitherto unexplored by previous biographers to disclose more of the man than has ever been known. Featuring three dozen illustrations, it is a definitive look at the American chapter of a distinguished career.