Barry McNamara  |  Published March 06, 2023

The Birth of Modern Agriculture

Neil Dahlstrom ’98 to tell the story of his book “Tractor Wars” on March 14 in Dahl Chapel.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Last year, Monmouth College classics and history major Neil Dahlstrom ’98 authored Tractor Wars: John Deere, Henry Ford, International Harvester, and the Birth of Modern Agriculture, which won the 2022 American Book Fest Award for Best History-General.

NEIL DAHLSTROM: The 1998 graduate and author of Tractor Wars will be on campus March ... NEIL DAHLSTROM: The 1998 graduate and author of "Tractor Wars" will be on campus March 14 to talk about his book.Dahlstrom will return to his alma mater March 14 to speak about writing the book and the story it tells. Free and open to the public, his talk will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium.

Before John Deere, Ford and International Harvester became icons of American business, they were competitors in a forgotten battle for the farm. By the turn of the 20th century, four million people had left rural America and moved to cities, leaving the nation’s farms shorthanded for the work of plowing, planting, cultivating, harvesting and threshing. That’s why the introduction of the tractor is an innovation story as essential as man’s landing on the moon.

Published by Matt Holt in January 2022, Tractor Wars was praised in a review in the Wall Street Journal as “a superb history of the tractor and this long-forgotten period of capitalism in U.S. agriculture.”

(A previous College article about the book appears here.)

The branded properties and heritage manager at John Deere, Dahlstrom is also the author of Lincoln’s Wrath: Fierce Mobs, Brilliant Scoundrels and a President’s Mission to Destroy the Press and The John Deere Story: A Biography of Plowmakers John and Charles Deere.

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