Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ten Years in the Making

Sue Claessen is a self-named read-a-holic who will start a novel at 10 p.m., finish it at 2 a.m., and be up for her job with the U.S. Postal Service at 5:30 a.m. Sue has dabbled with writing short stories while also penning newsletters for some hometown organizations. With the writing and publishing of “Making Tracks, C. L. Best and the Caterpillar Tractor Company," she is now an accomplished author.

Sue, a clerk at the Howard Lake, MN, Post Office, has worked for the Postal Service for more than 36 years. She and her husband Ed have been married and have lived on the same piece of rural land for more than 37 years. And Sue stuck it out for more than ten years of painstaking research, organization, drafting and documenting with the task of writing a definitive history of an American industrial icon.

Ed Claessen purchased his first Caterpillar in 1973 and has been researching and restoring them ever since. With Ed as the technical expert and research partner, Sue created a narrative that readers with a more general interest could enjoy. “The technical side was important to a certain degree, but I wanted the book to tell a good story, too,” she explained.

And a good story it is. The life and times of C.L. Best, who went from designing equipment powered by horses to imagining equipment powered by the sun. His improvements to the
track-type tractor concept allowed the Caterpillar Tractor Co. to become the world’s road builder and so much more.

Making Tracks follows Best from working for his father through starting and operating his own company to being chairman of the board for the Caterpillar Tractor Co. The story has it all: from fistfights in the boardroom to lawsuits and hostile takeovers; from California to Cuba, Russia and beyond and from designing and building tractors to raising cattle and mining gold.

For more information about Making Tracks, go to:

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