BETWEEN THE BOOKENDS


| November 2000



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Richard StoutWashington, Iowa, on his 1928 Fordson Trackson.

Farmers' Romance with Tractors Spans a Century

Gone With The Wind? A passing fancy. If you're looking for a real love story, an enduring tale of passion, try 100 Years of Vintage Farm Tractors.

Now, this is not the kind of thing a Hollywood producer is going to jump on. But in the pages of this new release from Voyageur Press, you'll find a chorus of voices singing the praises of the farm tractor. Engineering, technology, machining: they all get their due in this book. But in the end, it's a nostalgic love story. Even Roger Welsch, the Dave Berry of old iron, is reduced to a starry-eyed suitor as he struggles to answer the eternal question:

'... we love old tractors because old tractors have souls,' he writes in the book's foreword.

Romance aside, the book takes a look at increasingly sophisticated equipment from a human perspective. Don't look for chapters devoted solely to makes and models or technical enhancements. This tale is related through personal recollections and anecdotes, through illustrations and photographs. If you're familiar with This Old Tractor and This Old Farm, earlier releases by Voyageur also edited by Michael Dregni, you'll be at home with Vintage Farm Tractors.

To make sure the reader appreciates the improvement of mechanized farming, the opening chapters revisit the era of farming with horses. The end of that era was a bittersweet time for many.

'I could think of a dozen reasons to purchase a tractor, but there were always an equal number of reasons why 'tractor farming' was a risky venture in our cashless economy, ' recalled Orlan Skare, Willmar, Minn. 'After all, horses consumed only home-grown oats and hay!' And yet...