Jerry Apps and Dick Cates offer portraits of yesteryear’s rural Wisconsin

Two long-time CALS staff members have taken different approaches to portray rural Wisconsin of times gone by in books soon to be released by the University of Wisconsin Press. On Sept. 8, UW Press will publish a paperback edition of In A Pickle, a novel by Jerry Apps, Professor Emeritus of Continuing and Vocational Education. On Nov. 3 it will publish Voices From the Heart of the Land, by Dick Cates, Director of the UW-Madison School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers and senior lecturer in soil science.

Booklist describes In a Pickle as “one of those slice-of-life novels that utterly wins us over with rich characters, homespun dialogue … Apps … invests the novel with the kind of realism, precise detail, and local color that only someone who had lived the story could do.”

To write Voices From The Heart Of The Land, Dick Cates interviewed senior members of more than 30 families living in and around Arena township. He asked them about growing up in rural America and their connection to a way of life that is vanishing in the twenty-first century. The result is a collection of reminiscences, observations, and opinions celebrating the stewardship of the land and the values of the stewards.

Jerry Apps describes Cates’s book as “a glimpse of what life was like in this rural community through much of the twentieth century. Through the spoken words of these rural folk we learn about love of land and community and of the power of the story.”