Jerry Apps has been a rural historian and environmental writer for more than forty years. He has published fiction and nonfiction books on many rural topics, including" Ringlingville USA," " Casper Jaggi: Master Swiss Cheese Maker," " Horse-Drawn Days," " Old Farm," and" Garden Wisdom" for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. He is a former county extension agent and professor at the University of Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Jerry and his wife, Ruth, divide their time between their home in Madison and their farm, Roshara, west of Wild Rose.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Travels of Increase Joseph: A Historical Novel About a Pioneer Preacher?
Apps can write great fiction, too! Feb 24, 2005
It only seems as if Jerry Apps has written a couple hundred books, but it has to be at least a couple dozen by now, on subjects including beer and barns, circus and one-room schools. He's even written a couple of fine children's books. It took him a long time to get around to writing a novel, but it was worth the wait. The Travels of Increase Joseph depicts a make-believe rural preacher in the real world of Wisconsin from pre Civil War days to the turn of the Century, and it grabs and holds your interest all the way. Like all of Jerry's books, Travels is steeped in meticulous research, but this time Jerry has let his imagination have at the facts. We follow the career of Increase Joseph Link from the time he gets drummed out of theology school until his death. His calling to preach comes in the form of a literal lightning bolt and leads him to form the church of the Standalone Fellowship, based on teachings contained in a mysterious red book the preacher keeps with him at all times and never lets anyone else read. When not preaching a gospel of God, man, and the land, pastor Link peddles a cure-all tonic (the recipe also remains his secret, but I'm betting on a high alcohol content) that sells for "50 cents, or two for a dollar." It's a wonderful read and an education in Wisconsin history and the formation of America. I highly recommend it. Marshall J. Cook Madison, Wisconsin
A most thoughtful and wonderfully entertaining read Feb 8, 2004
The Travels Of Increase Joseph by Jerry Apps is a superbly crafted historical novel of a pioneer preacher who came to the wildlands of Wisconsin in 1852 with his small gathering of followers, the Standalone Fellowship. Supporting the Fellowship by selling his special curative tonic, and delivering oratory and with powerful messages that are nothing short of spellbinding, Joseph Link dared to speak out as he journeyed and his words and ideas made an impression that stayed. The Travels Of Increase Joseph is a most thoughtful and wonderfully entertaining read. Jerry Apps writes with vibrant character and has a penchant for making Wisconsin history come alive.
Very funny historical novel Jan 19, 2004
Increase Joseph Link, an itinerant preacher, arrives in the wilds of central Wisconsin in 1852. A small band of followers who call themselves the Standalone Fellowship come with him. They take up farming near Link Lake, named for their revered spiritual leader.
The Standalone Fellowship almost immediately falls on difficult times. To earn money for the Fellowship, Increase Joseph takes his message of "listening to the land" to nearby towns where he preaches in a round tent and sells a special curative tonic for fifty cents a bottle.
Increase Joseph's preaching becomes known throughout the region for its content and especially for his powerful manner of delivery. His spellbinding oratory is based on the mysterious Red Book that Increase Joseph carries with him everywhere and allows no one to see, not even his immediate family. He takes on wheat farmers, lumber barons and those who accept technology without questioning it. He speaks against war and Slavery and the Fellowship becomes a part of the Underground Railroad.
With a cast of characters, real and fictional, Apps tells a fast moving story that examines human progress in a new light. The story of Increase Joseph Link is nuanced with philosophy and history, and told with humor and Apps' special story telling flair.