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Welcome to home of the Author, Storyteller and Historian, Jerry Apps. Email jerry:

Getting in touch with Jerry
Stories from the Land - Jerry is now writing a twice-monthly column for The Country Today. 
PBS Specials - Watch Jerry's 2 PBS specials: "Jerry Apps: A Farm Story" and "A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps"
Email updates from Jerry's Blog - Get an email whenever Jerry updates his blog!  Just click here to sign up for FREE email updates!.  You can also email Jerry.
Jerry is on Facebook - Check out his personal account
Jerry is on Twitter - Check here to follow Jerry and get notifications when he updates his website
Where's Jerry? - To see Jerry's upcoming speaking engagements, check out his blog.

Latest Books

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The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County: A Novel (September, 2014) - When the Alstage Mining Company proposes a frac sand mine in the small Ames County village of Link Lake, events quickly escalate to a crisis...

"Once again, Jerry Apps has tapped into a highly controversial issue to explore contemporary Midwestern values—historical preservation versus forces of change, environmental protection versus economic opportunity. And once again, Apps succeeds brilliantly. He is an articulate and forceful voice for the Wisconsin ethos."—Jerry Minnich, author of The Wisconsin Almanac


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The Quiet Season: Remembering Country Winters (August, 2013) - “As I think back to the days of my childhood, the frost-covered windows in my bedroom, the frigid walks to the country school, the excitement of a blizzard, and a hundred other memories, I realize that these experiences left an indelible mark on me and made me who I am today.”—From the Introduction

Jerry Apps recalls winters growing up on a farm in central Wisconsin during the latter years of the Depression and through World War II. Before electricity came to this part of Waushara County, farmers milked cows by hand with the light of a kerosene lantern, woodstoves heated the drafty farm homes, and “making wood” was a major part of every winter’s work. The children in Jerry’s rural community walked to a country school that was heated with a woodstove and had no indoor plumbing. Wisconsin winters then were a time of reflection, of planning for next year, and of families drawing together. Jerry describes how winter influenced farm families and suggests that those of us who grow up with harsh northern winters are profoundly affected in ways we often are not aware.

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Limping Through Life: A Farm Boy's Polio Memoir (April, 2013) - “Families throughout the United States lived in fear of polio throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, and now the disease had come to our farm. I can still remember that short winter day and the chilly night when I first showed symptoms. My life would never be the same.” —from the Introduction

Polio was epidemic in the United States starting in 1916. By the 1930s, quarantines and school closings were becoming common, as isolation was one of the only ways to fight the disease. The Sauk vaccine was not available until 1955; in that year, Wisconsin’s Fox River valley had more polio cases per capita than anywhere in the United States. In his most personal book, Jerry Apps, who contracted polio at age twelve, reveals how the disease affected him physically and emotionally, profoundly influencing his education, military service, and family life and setting him on the path to becoming a professional writer.

A hardworking farm kid who loved playing softball, young Jerry Apps would have to make many adjustments and meet many challenges after that winter night he was stricken with a debilitating, sometimes fatal illness. In Limping through Life he explores the ways his world changed after polio and pays tribute to those family members, teachers, and friends who helped him along the way.

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Letters from Hillside Farm (April, 2013) - "Apps adroitly weaves factual information about the difficulties of life during the Depression with the fictional story of George to create a snapshot of a different time for today’s youth, much like Patricia Reilly Giff in My Name Is Rachel." –Booklist

Told through the correspondence between twelve-year-old George Struckmeyer and his grandmother, Letters from Hillside Farm provides a glimpse into life during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Struckmeyer family is forced to move to a rented farm in central Wisconsin after George’s father, Adolph, loses his factory job in Cleveland, Ohio. George shares his discovery of rural life, the challenges of being an outsider in a new place, and the realities of tough times.

Infusing the real-life stories that make up history with his own experiences growing up on a Wisconsin farm, master storyteller Jerry Apps captures George’s struggles to adjust to a new life of milking cows, plowing fields, and walking to a one-room schoolhouse. George not only must help his family survive the Depression, but he also must endure what every adolescent has to: growing up.

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Tamarack River Ghost - When journalist Josh Wittmore moves from the Illinois bureau of Farm Country News to the newspaper’s national office in Wisconsin, he encounters the biggest story of his young career—just as the paper’s finances may lead to its closure.

Josh’s big story is that a corporation that plans to establish an enormous hog farm has bought a lot of land along the Tamarack River in bucolic Ames County. Some of the local residents and officials are excited about the jobs and tax revenues that the big farm will bring, while others worry about truck traffic, porcine aromas, and manure runoff polluting the river. And how would the arrival of a large agribusiness affect life and traditions in this tightly knit rural community of family farmers? Josh strives to provide impartial agricultural reporting, even as his newspaper is replaced by a new Internet-only version owned by a former New York investment banker. And it seems that there may be another force in play: the vengeful ghost of a drowned logger who locals say haunts the valley of the Tamarack River.

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Rural Wit and Wisdom: Time-Honored Values from the Heartland - Step into the In an updated and expanded edition of a timeless classic, best-selling author Jerry Apps has written and collected oft-spoken phrases, observations, comments, and conundrums celebrating country life and rural living. Black-and-white photographs by Steve Apps, an award-winning photojournalist, complement the text, which offers humorous, touching, and unique glimpses into the lighter side of life in the Midwest.


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Garden Wisdom: Lessons Learned from 60 Years of Gardening - Step into the garden with writer and rural historian Jerry Apps. In this treasure trove of tips, recollections, and recipes, Jerry combines his hard-earned advice for garden success with a discussion of how tending a garden leads to a deeper understanding of nature and the land. From planning and planting to fending off critters and weeds, he walks us through the gardening year, imbuing his story with humor and passion and once again reminding us that working even a small piece of land provides many rewards. 

Check here for more info and reviews of this new book!

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Campfires and Loon Calls (2011) - During his twenty-five years of canoeing in the wild, Jerry Apps has experienced it all—wicked thunderstorms, inquisitive bears, swamping a canoe, night skies filled with more stars than imaginable, falling asleep to the lullaby of water lapping at the water's edge. 

In his latest book, Apps generously shares his seasoned advice, from how to set up camp and protect food from hungry bears to minimalist cooking and appreciating a rainy day, all the while weaving in the incredible history of the Boundary Waters region.

Through beautiful prose and photos from award-winning photographer Steve Apps, Jerry also reflects on how the Boundary Waters is a place to connect with nature. Check here for an interview with Jerry about the book.

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Barns of Wisconsin (revised, 2010) - In this new edition of his classic book, award-winning author Jerry Apps shares a unique perspective on the great barns of rural Wisconsin. Digging deep as both an enthusiast and a farmer, Apps reaps a story of change: from the earliest pioneer structures to the low steel buildings of modern dairy farms, barns have adapted to meet the needs of each generation. They’ve housed wheat, tobacco, potatoes, and dairy cows, and they display the optimism, ingenuity, hard work, and practicality of the people who tend land and livestock.

Featuring more than 100 stunning full-color photographs by Steve Apps, plus dozens of historic images, Barns of Wisconsin illuminates a vanishing way of life. The book explores myriad barn designs—from rectangular to round, from gable roof to gambrel, from fieldstone to wood—always with an eye to the history and craftsmanship of the Norwegians, Germans, Swiss, Finns, and others who built and used them. Barns of Wisconsin captures both the iconic and the unique, including historic and noteworthy barns, and discusses the disappearance of barns from our landscape and preservation efforts to save these important symbols of American agriculture. Check here for a video trailer or recent awards for this book!


Website Sections:
  • Blog -  Weekly writings from Jerry to you--plus his upcoming events.
  • Books - All the books Jerry has written. 
  • Biography - Jerry's biography and Press Kit for off-line publishers
  • Workshops - Workshops and classes Jerry teaches
  • Other Writings - Other writings and media projects involving Jerry
  • Blog Email updates - Consider signing up for a free e-mail of each of Jerry’s blogs

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Website by Matt Apps
Last updated: 09/07/2014 07:36 PM CST