California-born Sam Sackett received his Ph.D. from UCLA. While a student he published several science-fiction stories. He taught at Fort Hays State University in Kansas, where he published a translation of a Flemish novel, a collection of Kansas folklore, a children's book of cowboy songs, and a critical study of E.W. Howe. He also founded and served as president of the Kansas Folklore Society. After 23 years as an English professor and folklorist he burned out and left teaching. He worked first for a newspaper, then for an advertising agency, then for a public relations firm. By this time he was an expert on career change, so he moved into the career management field. After gaining experience with two local companies, he worked for 12 years as vice president of the Oklahoma City office of Bernard Haldane Associates.
Sackett retired in Thailand for six years, writing short stories which have been collected in two books, Through Farang Eyes and Snapshots of Thailand. On his return to the US he published his first novel, Sweet Betsy from Pike. He had heard the song at an American Folklore Society meeting, and it struck him that Betsy learned she couldn't trust sweet-talking Ike to take care of her and that she had the strength to take care of herself. He had been interested in Robin Hood since he read Howard Pyle's book in the fifth grade and always wondered what truth might lie behind the legend. Answering that question resulted in his second novel, The Robin Hood Chronicles, which is a sharply different take on the story.
Adolf Hitler in Oz, Sackett's third novel, grew out of his belief that goodness and love, symbolized in the novel as the Land of Oz, will always overcome evil and hate, symbolized by Hitler. Also the author has been interested in the psychological theories of Carl Rogers and believes Rogerian therapy, based on unconditional positive regard, could have a beneficial effect even on a Hitler. Sackett calls it "a children's book for adults" because these ideas would likely not interest children. He grew up reading the Oz books, and when his own sons were growing up read the books to them as well; his familiarity resulted in an essay, "The Utopia of Oz."
Since Mark Twain was one of Sackett's favorite authors, it was logical for him to write a sequel to Twain's classic Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. At the end of Twain's novel Huck says he intends to "light out for the Territory." In Sackett's version of Huck's future, the hero goes to Indian Territory to live among the Cherokees. When gold is discovered in California, Huck joins a wagon train bound for the mining camp of Hangtown. Then he spends some time in San Francisco. When Kansas Territory is opened for settlement, Huck goes there to help bring it into the Union as a free state. Along the way he falls in love (twice), gets married (once), has two children, and defends his home during the Quantrill raid of 1863.