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Welcome to www.jerryapps.com home of the Author, Storyteller and Historian, Jerry Apps. Email jerry: jerryappsauthor@gmail.com.


Getting in touch with Jerry
PBS Specials - Watch Jerry's 4 PBS specials online: "Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain", "The Land with Jerry Apps", "A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps" and "Jerry Apps: A Farm Story". The 5th, “Jerry Apps: One Room Country School", will air in March, 2018!
Order Jerry's PBS Documentaries on DVD - Check here to see information on how to order Jerry's WPT Documentaries on DVD
Stories from the Land - Jerry is now writing a twice-monthly column for The Country Today. 
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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Cold as Thunder (May, 2018) - Since the Eagle Party took power in the United States, all schools and public utilities have been privatized, churches and libraries closed, and independent news media shut down. Drones buzz overhead in constant surveillance of the populace, and the open internet has been replaced by the network of the New Society Corporation. Environmental degradation and unchecked climate change have brought raging wildfires to the Western states and disastrous flooding to Eastern coastal regions. Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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Once a Professor: A Memoir of Teaching in Turbulent Times (May, 2018) - “I never wanted to be a professor,” writes Jerry Apps in the introduction to Once a Professor. Yet a series of unexpected events and unplanned experiences put him on an unlikely path—and led to a thirty-eight-year career at the University of Wisconsin.

In this continuation of the Apps life story begun in his childhood memoir Limping through Life, Wisconsin’s celebrated rural storyteller shares stories from his years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1957 to 1995, when he left the university to lecture and write fulltime. During those years Apps experienced the turmoil of protests and riots at the UW in the 1960s, the struggles of the tenure process and faculty governance, and the ever-present pressure to secure funding for academic research and programs. Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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Every Farm Tells a Story: A Tale of Family Values (February, 2018 (reprint) - Jerry Apps details the virtues and hardships of rural living.

“Do your chores without complaining. Show up on time. Do every job well. Always try to do better. Never stop learning. Next year will be better. Care for others, especially those who have less than you. Accept those who are different from you. Love the land.”

In this paperback edition of a beloved Jerry Apps classic, the rural historian captures the heart and soul of life in rural America. Inspired by his mother’s farm account books—in which she meticulously recorded every farm purchase—Jerry chronicles life on a small farm during and after World War II. Featuring a new introduction exclusive to this 2nd edition, Every Farm Tells a Story reminds us that, while our family farms are shrinking in number, the values learned there remain deeply woven in our cultural heritage. Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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Living a Country Year: Wit and Wisdom from the Good Old Days (February, 2018 (reprint) - “Even with the all the hard work, we had more time (perhaps we took more time) to enjoy what was all around us: nights filled with starlight, days with clear blue skies and puffy clouds. Wonderful smells everywhere—fresh mown hay, wildflowers, and apple blossoms. Interesting sounds—the rumble of distant thunder, an owl calling in the woods, a flock of Canada geese winging over in the fall.”

In this paperback edition of a beloved Jerry Apps classic, the rural historian tells stories from his childhood days on a small central Wisconsin dairy farm in the 1930s and 1950s. From a January morning memory of pancakes piled high after chores, to a June day spent learning to ride a pony named Ginger, Jerry moves through the turn of the seasons and teaches gentle lessons about life on the farm. With recipes associated with each month and a new introduction exclusive to this 2nd edition, Living a Country Year celebrates the rhythms of rural life with warmth and humor. Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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Old Farm Country Cookbook: Recipes, Menus, and Memories (July, 2017) - When Jerry Apps was growing up on a Wisconsin farm in the 1930s and 1940s, times were tough. Yet most folks living on farms had plenty to eat. Preparing food from scratch was just the way things were done, and people knew what was in their food and where it came from. Delicious meals were at the center of every family and social affair, whether it be a threshing-day dinner with all the neighbors, the end-of-school-year picnic, or just a hearty supper after chores were done. As Jerry writes, "For me food will always be associated with times of good eating, storytelling, laughter, and good-hearted fun."

Inspired by the dishes made by his mother, Eleanor, and featuring recipes found in her well-worn recipe box, Jerry and his daughter, Susan, take us on a culinary tour of life on the farm during the Depression and World War II. Seasoned with personal stories, menus, and family photos, Old Farm Country Cookbook recalls a time when electricity had not yet found its way to the farm, when making sauerkraut was a family endeavor, and when homemade ice cream tasted better than anything you could buy at the store. Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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Never Curse the Rain (January, 2017) - Growing up on the family farm, Jerry Apps learned from a young age that water was precious. The farm had no running water, a windmill pumped drinking water for the small herd of cattle, and Jerry and his brothers hauled bucket after bucket of water for the family’s use. A weekly bath was considered sufficient. And when it rained, it was cause for celebration. Indeed, if ever the Apps boys complained about a rainy day spoiling their plans, their father admonished, "Never curse the rain," for the family’s very livelihood depended upon it. In Never Curse the Rain, Jerry shares his memories of water, from its importance to his family’s crops and cattle to its many recreational uses—fishing trips, canoe journeys, and the simple pleasures of an afternoon spent dreaming in the haymow as rain patters on the barn roof. Water is still a touchstone in Jerry’s life, and he explores the ways he’s found it helpful in soothing a troubled mind or releasing creativity. He also discusses his concerns about the future of water and ensuring we always have enough. For, as Jerry writes, "Water is one of the most precious things on this planet, necessary for all life, and we must do everything we can to protect it." Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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Telling your Story (June, 2016) - In Telling Your Story, Jerry offers tips for people who are interested in telling their own stories. Readers will learn how Jerry Apps weaves together his stories, and gain valuable tips on how to turn their experiences into cherished tales. He explores how to choose stories from memories, how to journal, and tips for writing and oral storytelling, as well as speaking to a live radio or TV audience. Along the way, readers will learn about the value of storytelling and how this skill ties generations together, preserves local history, and much more. Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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Roshara Journal: Chronicling Four Seasons, Fifty Years, and 120 Acres - (June, 2016) - A photographic diary of a small Midwestern farm and the family who’ve made it their home

In Roshara Journal, father-and-son team Jerry and Steve Apps share the monthly happenings at their family’s farm in central Wisconsin. Featuring Steve’s stunning photos and fifty years of Jerry’s journal entries, Roshara Journal captures the changes—both from month to month and over the decades—on the landscape and farmstead. Buy Local with IndieBound.
 



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Wisconsin Agriculture: A History (September, 2015) - Wisconsin has been a farming state from its very beginnings. And though it's long been known as "the Dairy State," it produces much more than cows, milk, and cheese. In fact, Wisconsin is one of the most diverse agricultural states in the nation.

The story of farming in Wisconsin is rich and diverse as well, and the threads of that story are related and intertwined. In this long-awaited volume, celebrated rural historian Jerry Apps examines everything from the fundamental influences of landscape and weather to complex matters of ethnic and pioneer settlement patterns, changing technology, agricultural research and education, and government regulations and policies.  Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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One-Room Country Schools: History and Recollections(September, 2015) - A re-release of one of Jerry's popular books, One-Room Country Schools: History and Recollections is a popular collection of memories and recollections from people who learned at and taught in one-room schools in Wisconsin, including former pupil Jerry Apps, the book’s author. Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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Whispers and Shadows: A Naturalist’s Memoir (May, 2015) - In these times of technological innovation and fast-paced electronic communication, we often take nature for granted—or even consider it a hindrance to our human endeavors. In Whispers and Shadows: A Naturalist’s Memoir, Jerry Apps explores such topics as the human need for wilderness, rediscovering a sense of wonder, and his father’s advice to “listen for the whispers” and “look in the shadows” to learn nature’s deepest lessons.  Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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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.  Buy Local with IndieBound.

 



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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. Buy Local with IndieBound.
 


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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. Buy Local with IndieBound.
 

 

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

2017 all rights reserved.
Website by Matt Apps
Last updated: 01/28/2018 10:32 PM CST