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Arts & Culture

Who Fought the "Tractor Wars?"

Find out in Neil Dahlstrom's new book which takes readers inside a key moment in farming.

The title is, Tractor Wars: John Deere, Henry Ford, International Harvester, and the Birth of Modern Agriculture.

Dahlstrom has worked at Deere and Company for years, and currently, his title is Branded Properties and Heritage Manager. He got the idea for the book after doing research for the 100th anniversary of the Waterloo Boy in 2018.

One of the book's themes parallels a current issue in technology. The change in farming from horses to tractors is very similar to today's transition from gas to electricity.

Tractor Wars also features negotiations, tough decisions, relationships, and people. For example, Theo Brown was an engineer who worked for John Deere.

Those who are interested in Quad Cities history will enjoy Tractor Wars, too.

Why call it, "Tractor Wars?" Dahlstrom says Cyrus McCormick III coined the phrase. His grandfather founded the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. And the title refers to the race to sell the most tractors when Henry Ford dropped the price of his Fordson tractor and other manufacturers followed suit.

Dahlstrom has also co-authored two other books. The first is The John Deere Story: A Biography of Plowmakers John and Charles Deere. And the second is Lincoln's Wrath: Fierce Mobs, Brilliant Scoundrels, and a President's Mission to Destroy the Press.

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