The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County
“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
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. Business leader
Marilyn Jones of the Link Lake Economic Development Council heads the promine
forces, citing needed jobs and income for the county. Octogenarian Emily
Higgins and other Link Lake Historical Society members are aghast at the proposed
mine location in the community park, where a huge and ancient bur oak—the historic Trail Marker Oak—has stood since it pointed the way along an old
Menominee trail. Reluctantly caught in the middle of the fray is Ambrose Adler, a
reclusive, retired farmer with a secret.
Soon the fracas over frac sand attracts some national attention, including that
of Stony Field, the pen name of a nationally syndicated columnist. Will the village
board vote to solve their budget problems with a cut of the mining profits? Will
the mine create real jobs for local folks? Will Stony Field come to the village to
lead protests against the mine? And will defenders of the Trail Marker Oak literally
draw a battle line in the sand?
Jerry Apps was born and raised on a Wisconsin farm. A former agricultural
extension agent, he is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
His other novels in the Ames County series are The Travels of Increase Joseph, In a
Pickle, Blue Shadows Farm, Cranberry Red, and Tamarack River Ghost. His many
nonfiction books include The Quiet Season, Garden Wisdom, Barns of Wisconsin,
Breweries of Wisconsin, Every Farm Tells a Story, Old Farm, and One-Room Country
Schools. Apps received the 2007 Major Achievement Award from the Council
for Wisconsin Writers and the 2010 Distinguished Service Award from the University
of Wisconsin–Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Visit the author's website at jerryapps.com.
Wisconsin Public Television produced
two nationally aired documentaries
based on Jerry Apps’s boyhood stories,
Jerry Apps: A Farm Story and A Farm
Winter with Jerry Apps.
“A homespun novel finds a small Wisconsin town torn between preservation and progress. Folksy activism provides the impetus for Apps' return to Ames County, where he's set five earlier novels in this series.”
“The latest and perhaps the best in an already outstanding roster of five previous works of homespun fiction. Solidly entertaining and very highly recommended.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Apps continues his Ames County saga with a wryly amusing, comfortably homespun, yet soberly cautious tale about the all-too-real problems facing rural areas that often must choose between economic progress and environmental protection when keeping their communities alive.”
“Jerry Apps has given us another gift with his latest installment in the fictional Ames County saga. The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County will transport you to Ames County’s community of Link Lake and make you one of the regulars at its cafés and supper clubs. Those familiar with the rural Upper Midwest will feel right at home and newcomers will get a crash course in the rhythms and controversies along the fault lines between economic development, conservation, and historic preservation.”
—Dennis Boyer, author of Listen to the Land
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LC: 2014012643 PS
268 pp. 6 x 9