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New Michael Perry Book Features Cannon-Building Neighbor (Author of the bestselling memoirs Population: 485, Truck: A Love Story, and Coop)

Tue, Aug 7th, 2012
Posted in All State of Minnesota

Visiting Tom: A Man, A Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace

Format: Hardcover; Pages: 320; $24.99;

PUBLISHER RELEASE: August 21, 2012


If you live in the country, it is not unusual to hear the sound of roosters or cattle. Or, in the case of author Michael Perry (a resident of Fall Creek, Wisconsin, and a native of New Auburn, Wisconsin), the boom of a 300-pound homemade cannon, fired by Perry’s 82-year-old neighbor Tom.

Tom works in a garage Perry describes as “an antique shop stocked by Rube Goldberg, curated by Hunter Thompson, and rearranged by a small earthquake.” He makes joke shovel handles, parts for quarter-million-dollar farm equipment, and his own cannons. He milked cows well into his 70s, used to drive a team of matched oxen in parades, and is approaching his 60th wedding anniversary with a woman he courted on a 1948 Harley-Davidson. His farm is also split in two by a highway that dumps over 8 million vehicles past his porch every year.

“I wanted to write a book about old-timers,” says Perry, the author of several bestselling books including Population 485, Truck, and Coop, “and Tom does remind me of the old-timers my parents used to visit around our farm in New Auburn. But as a Dad raising two girls in this modern age, I became more interested in what Tom could teach me as a husband and a father. Plus, he’s a terrific storyteller, whether grumping about the dad-gum government or describing his three-legged dog.”

Through a series of visits (to share dinner, to get a brush hog welded, to gather honey, and – when Tom is taken ill – to the hospital) Perry uses a combination of roughneck humor and thoughtful reflection to tell the story of how Tom and his wife taught him to be a better neighbor – even if that means acting a little grumpy now and then.


“Plunges into the soul of the American heartland. While Foxfire fans will relish the emphasis on forgotten crafts and tools, others will appreciate Perry’s gift as a bucolic wordsmith, etching a sensitive portrait of vanishing country life where ‘the light of a firefly is the size of a teardrop.’”

For more information, promotional materials, and interview requests please contact:

Alissa Freeberg

Assistant | Author Michael Perry




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