“Walking Tractor is a remarkable book of stories rooted deep in the rough terrain of an isolated mountain valley in the heart of redwood country. These tales of logging and woodcutting, ranching and farming all have the taste and smell of the authentic, because they come directly out of a life well-lived. Bruce Patterson, a Vietnam vet, is a natural born storyteller who’s spent the last three decades outdoors doing exactly what he writes about, which not so coincidently is exactly what he wanted to do. If we listen closely enough, there’s much to be learned about the grace and redemptive power of physical labor and a community that values it.”
... Steve Sanfield, author of the bestselling The Adventures of High John the Conqueror and founder of the Sierra Storytelling Festival
“I was in jail with Patterson in the early days of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, back in 1971. Walking Tractor is a really charming book. It’s very honest, very truthful. I remember Patterson to be just a really honest person, saying shocking things nobody else would say.”
... Ron Kovic, author of Born on the Fourth of July
“Patterson’s colorful tales offer an array of unique personalities and animals... making this collection a delight... Although he chooses to say little about Vietnam, Patterson allows the reader a sense of how he achieved healing through his work and his love and respect for the people in his life ...”
... Karl Helicher, ForeWord Magazine, July/August 2006 issue
“Patterson’s prose conveys a wonderful sense of place. His detailed descriptions of the hazards and exhilaration of ‘highballing’ in a lumber camp make you feel like you’re out in the woods with him, living the woodsmen’s life... His keen observance of nature and his fellow man shines through the book.”
...Jody Martinez, Ukiah Daily Journal, Sunday, April 2nd, 2006
“Bruce Pattersons excellent book, Walking Tractor and Other Country Tales, has been re-issued in quality paperback by Heyday Books, complete with an illuminating introduction by Gerald Nicosia, author of the best biography yet on Jack Kerouac. Pattersons book deserves the superlatives of Nicosias introduction. Drawn from Pattersons working life in Anderson Valley, the stories he tells of working at physically demanding jobs are told so well they have proved to be of interest to readers everywhere. As a rifleman with the 173rd Airborne in Vietnam in 67 and 68, the guys probably lucky to be around to tell any stories to anybody. But he survived the jungle combat and hes survived three decades of rural labor at everything from logging to ranching whose intricacies Patterson manages to describe in close detail but so well their telling is never boring. And nobody, including John Muir, and certainly no one from the recent tree sit tribes, has described the redwoods with the thoroughness and affection Patterson does. You know how publishers are always saying this or that book is “an important contribution” to whatever fund of knowledge it is allegedly contributing to? Walking Tractor is really an important contribution to the true history of this region which, for all of its writers, remains mostly unrevealed.”
... Bruce Anderson, Editor and Publisher, Anderson Valley Advertisor
“Patterson combines a lifetime of hard work with a skill for telling a good story. Reading his stories you feel like you're sitting with an old friend who says, ‘Remember that one about ...’”
... Katy Tahja, Mendocino Arts Magazine, Winter, 2007 issue
“Reads like Bluegrass.”
... Jimmy Humble of Humble Pie, American roots music, KZYX and Z
“It’s a wonderful book.”
... Bobbie Hiatt, Anderson Valley Historical Society
“You made me sigh, laugh and be proud. Thanks so much for who you are and having the courage to hang on to your crude, macho, burly, dirty, smelly, calloused, scarred, bulldog strong, white trash sassy self.”
... Paloma, Ashland, Oregon
My husband asked me to pick up your book the next time I was I town and I did. Ted worked with Lester Seymour in Bull Creek in 1952, then again in 1957 at Ukiah Pine and Lumber Company just over the hill from Potter Valley. The third time they crossed paths was when they both logged out from Masonite Road, but Ted doesnt remember the year. Hes 71 and retired now. . . Anyway, Ted enjoyed your book very much, as did I. I never would have imagined I would be that entertained with the story in your book about a man and his relationship with his weed whacker, but I was! Ted didnt think Id enjoy the book as much as he did since he experienced many of the same things you did. But I have heard about logging, etc., my whole life and I could relate if only from an onlookers perspective. I very much enjoyed the descriptions you used which totally engaged my imagination . . .Keep up the good work and we look forward to your next book.
... Janis C. Nelson, Redwood Valley, California
I read your book and enjoyed the hell out of it. Ive been meaning to write to say so. I especially liked the logging storieswhat little I did of it when I was living in Mendocino in the 60s (working for Harold Brayton) made me appreciate your stories all the more for the hard work and the danger involved. Loggers are not an organized work force, so their stories are seldom told. . .
... John Wester, scholar and poet. Santa Cruz, California
I just finished reading your book and I really loved it. I checked it out from the Unity Clubs library at the Boonville fairgrounds. I like to check stuff out at libraries rather than buy books because I like to reinforce communal book sharingoh, and cuz Im cheap. . . Anyway, Im enclosing a check for you because, after reading your book, its one I would have bought. So heres $20.00 as a thank you. Ill definitely recommend your book to others.
... Andrea LaCampagne, Perry Gulch, California
I bought your book, WALKING TRACTOR, in Boonville at the Wild Iris Folk Festival. . . Its the best read Ive come across in a long time, and I read a lot. . . Thanks so much for your writing. . . Ill continue bending everyones ears about your fine work. Cheers!
... Carol Brubaker, Oakland, California