The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Jerry Apps

University of Wisconsin Press, 9780299300708, 272pp.

Publication Date: September 18, 2014

List Price: 26.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


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 pro-mine 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?

About the Author

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.

Praise For The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County: A Novel

"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 Almanac

"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 cafes 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

“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.”—Kirkus Reviews

“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