Any good history book recommendations?

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buddylindsey
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Any good history book recommendations?

Postby buddylindsey » Wed Apr 19, 2023 2:02 pm

So I have been on a bit of a history kick lately on books. Here are some of the books I have read in the last 2 months:

The Farmall Dynasty - Lee Klancher
Tractor Wars - Neil Dahlstrom
Farmall Cub Encyclopedia - Kenneth Updike, Rachel Gingell (skipped the tutorials at the end was more after the history and pretty pictures)
Farmall 100 Years - Randy Leffingwell
A Revolution Down on the Farm: The Transformation of American Agriculture since 1929 - Paul K. Conkin

I have been trying to find a copy of: "A Corporate Tragedy: The Agony of International Harvester Company" that is not $125 on amazon.

Anyway, I am curious about any books that relate to the history of farming/tractors etc. I am not really sure what to search for to be honest in order to find other good/interesting books.

Does anyone have a good book suggestion? Preferably kindle or audible if possible.

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Re: Any good history book recommendations?

Postby Dennis » Sun Apr 23, 2023 9:52 am

A corporate tragedy : the agony of International Harvester Company : Marsh, Barbara : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/corporatetr ... gedy00mars via @internetarchive
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Re: Any good history book recommendations?

Postby Jim Becker » Sun Apr 23, 2023 11:24 am

There is a lot of material out there. One I found (partially ag related) is "The Age of Invention" by Holland Thompson. This book is from 1921. You can find the text online at:
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2900/2900-h/2900-h.htm
You can do some other searches on that site and find other things.

The Department of Agriculture yearbooks are good sources. Some years may be of more interest to you than others. For example, you may find "Farmers in a Changing World" (1940) or "Power to Produce (1960) of more interest than "Living on a Few Acres" (1978). Some of these can be downloaded for free. Check the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/ (same place Dennis sent you for the Marsh book). Hard copies of these books can be found for very favorable prices. I've found them in antique/junk stores. There are often some on online bookstores as well as places like eBay and Amazon.

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Re: Any good history book recommendations?

Postby buddylindsey » Mon Apr 24, 2023 9:08 am

Dennis wrote:A corporate tragedy : the agony of International Harvester Company : Marsh, Barbara : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/corporatetr ... gedy00mars via @internetarchive

Thank You! I actually ended up finding a copy of a reprinting for $40 here: https://www.superscoutspecialists.com/f ... e&isc=true However I'll definitely start reading it from your link as I am super interested in reading it.


Jim Becker wrote:There is a lot of material out there. One I found (partially ag related) is "The Age of Invention" by Holland Thompson. This book is from 1921. You can find the text online at:
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2900/2900-h/2900-h.htm
You can do some other searches on that site and find other things.

The Department of Agriculture yearbooks are good sources. Some years may be of more interest to you than others. For example, you may find "Farmers in a Changing World" (1940) or "Power to Produce (1960) of more interest than "Living on a Few Acres" (1978). Some of these can be downloaded for free. Check the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/ (same place Dennis sent you for the Marsh book). Hard copies of these books can be found for very favorable prices. I've found them in antique/junk stores. There are often some on online bookstores as well as places like eBay and Amazon.

This is great information. I skimmed a bit of the gutenberg book and that is exciting stuff. I am going to get the txt version onto my kindle and start reading it.

In other books I am trying I just ordered a couple:

Steam on the Farm: A History of Agricultural Steam Engines 1800 to 1950 ~ Jonathan Brown (found it cheap on ebay)
Horse-Drawn Days: A Century of Farming with Horses ~ Jerry Apps (this was available on kindle)

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Re: Any good history book recommendations?

Postby Super A » Mon Apr 24, 2023 9:46 am

Haven't read it yet, but John Deere's Company by Broehl is supposed to be a good one.

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Re: Any good history book recommendations?

Postby buddylindsey » Tue May 30, 2023 4:46 pm

Finished reading some stuff

"The Age of Invention" by Holland Thompson

Great book with some really cool history I had no idea about. Gave me some things to maybe research later.

Horse-Drawn Days: A Century of Farming with Horses ~ Jerry Apps

This was cool. It had an interesting story along with some interesting background, and you can see how the process transferred over to tractors. This was a quick read and was probably more interesting to me since I have no background in farming at all.

A Corporate Tragedy: The Agony of International Harvester Company

Great book, and lays out the history pretty well. TBH It feels like a series of unfortunate events that lead to the downfall. While not completely accurate it almost felt like that. However, there were a lot of bad decisions made sadly. I did feel a bit jipped on the sale of the ag division to create Case IH. I wish there was more info on that. However, they didn't expand a lot on the other division sales so I can understand.

On the to-read shelf:

So I got "Steam on the Farm: A History of Agricultural Steam Engines 1800 to 1950 ~ Jonathan Brown" in and the first chapter is a tough read. My brain might just not have been into it, but I think this is going to be a hard read. Hopefully getting into chapter 2 will be better. Sometimes I am just bored during chapter 1.

I ordered John Deere's Company by Broehl and hopefully should be in sometime this month. I feel like this will help fill in some holes in the history of the industry. That said it is a big book. I ordered an older version as the new printing from Octane Press is split into two volumes and volume 2 is out later this year.

I also ordered Whereby we thrive: A history of American farming, 1607-1972 ~ John T Schlebecker. This was used in the bibliography for "A Corporate Tragedy" so I thought I would order it.


What is super interesting is how long we have had some of this technology. Growing up school makes it seem like we didn't have technology until about 1890'ish. After that point, the world exploded with new ideas and we are where are. Until then we were stuck with living the lives of Roman peasants in 100 AD. I mean the fact we had concepts for internal combustion engines in the 1700s is so cool. The steam engine started in the 1700s. We had a steam powered car in 1802'ish, I mean what? The first steam-powered boating company was in like 1815. That is a huge rate of change from the type of steam engine in the late 1700s.

I am really enjoying this journey. The downside is I have no one I can talk about this stuff to my life because no one else really cares, lol. Oh well. I'll keep reading and telling myself. In reality, I want to put together a small curriculum for my kids as a history homeschool thing. Something that kind of gets the basics across.

I'll stop talking now.

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Re: Any good history book recommendations?

Postby Don McCombs » Tue May 30, 2023 6:06 pm

Not farming related, but Nothing Like It In the World, Stephen Ambrose.
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Re: Any good history book recommendations?

Postby lyle11 » Wed Jun 14, 2023 12:19 am

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. It’s about the dust bowl. Of course I heard about the dust bowl all my life but didn’t really know much about what caused it (turning over and farming land that didn’t reliably have enough annual rain to sustain crops and should have been left alone or used for livestock grazing) and how rough life was back then.

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Re: Any good history book recommendations?

Postby buddylindsey » Fri Jun 16, 2023 10:26 pm

lyle11 wrote:The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. It’s about the dust bowl. Of course I heard about the dust bowl all my life but didn’t really know much about what caused it (turning over and farming land that didn’t reliably have enough annual rain to sustain crops and should have been left alone or used for livestock grazing) and how rough life was back then.

I will add that to my list thank you. I have been circling around it but just wasn’t sure.

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Re: Any good history book recommendations?

Postby lyle11 » Sun Jun 18, 2023 3:00 pm

My parents were both born in 1922 (although my mother lied about her age all of her life because she was 1 day older than my father). So I grew up hearing about The Great Depression and what an ordeal it was for most people. So, when I grew up we didn’t need Dave Ramsay. My parents did without until they could pay with cash. I still remember one of my sisters saying how different it was gonna be for her when she got out on her own. I actually embraced and appreciated the example my parents set. No, I didn’t buy my house for cash or live like Scrooge but I’ve always bought cars for cash and saved for something I wanted rather than pay on time or deplete my savings.

Anyway, reading books like this makes you appreciate just having your basic needs met. The people in the middle of these dust storms had it the worst because they couldn’t even breathe clean air. Short of selling out and moving before the real dry years there was no escaping it once it hit even if you had lived frugally. Especially today, when you read a book or article, it’s hard to know what to believe but this seems to be an honest portrayal of what happened and how turning over millions of flat, treeless acres of land to plant wheat was a very bad idea.

Not farming related, but if anybody likes historical books from this time period like I do, I really liked The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. Not a book I would have ever thought of reading because I have zero interest in sports, and even less interest the sport of competitive rowing, but the book is mainly about the story of some young men you can cheer for and what life was like back in the 30s.


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