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The Fabulous Saga of Alexander Botts and the Earthworm Tractor (Machinery Hill) [Paperback]

William Hazlett Upson


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Product details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Voyageur Press Inc (1 Dec 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896585301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896585300
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.4 x 1.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 617,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

Botts is back! After nearly 30 years, the fabulously popular stories of Earthworm Tractor salesman Alexander Botts are back in print. Whether you remember reading William Hazlett Upson's tales or you're just discovering the amusing adventures of this 'natural-born salesman', "The Fabulous Saga of Alexander Botts and the Earthworm Tractor" will delight and entertain.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of a natural-born salesman 1 Feb 2006
By Buck Bauer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Self-proclaimed "natural-born salesman" Alexender Botts worked for the Earthworm Tractor Company, of Earthworm City, Illinois. Growing up as the son and grandson of tractor dealers, only 100 miles from "Earthworm City" [Peoria, home of Caterpillar], I was used to monthly visits by traveling sales representatives from the makers of the several types of farm machinery we sold, each with his own jokes to pass on and stories to tell. Dad, in turn, related his own stories. He had a copy of the 1962 Pocket Book paperback "The Best of Botts," and lent it freely among these fellows, who all loved it. Sometimes a copy would not come back, having gone on to circulate farther afield. Dad could afford replacements -- at 35 cents apiece, it wasn't a great loss, even in 1960's dollars.

3 of its 13 chapters are among the 14 that appear in this (2001) compilation.

My favorite Botts quote is from the story "Botts Gets a New Job," which appears on page 173 of this volume:

"It is, as I said before, the last straw. Coming on top of everything else, it is the final grain of salt that causes the solution to reach a point of supersaturation, so that the camel is precipitated to the bottom of the test tube."

I remember first reading it in the book "The Best of Botts". I thought that it was so brilliant that for years I had misremembered it as being from P.G. Wodehouse. Reading it again, after several decades, I realized how similar Upson's Botts stories are to Wodehouse's Jeeves & Wooster tales. Wooster gets himself into scrapes, and Jeeves gets him out of them. Botts gets himself both into and out of scrapes -- he's Wooster and Jeeves rolled into one, and transplanted from English polite society to the mud-and-money world of tractor sales. There are none of the cultural and literary references that pepper the pages of Wodehouse, but Botts never tires of waxing poetic about his =own= abilities, or the lack of same in his boss Henderson.

Volume #2 (2005) of this new set is "Alexander Botts Rides Again."

Here are the stories in these three books, with the date of each story's publication in The Saturday Evening Post.

The Best of Botts (1962) [B in the last table below]

[MAR 1920] I'm a Natural-Born Salesman
[DEC 1933] The Big Tree
[MAY 1944] Situation Haywire
[JUL 1945] A. Botts and the Möbius Strip
[FEB 1947] Botts Gets a New Job
[SEP 1947] Alexander Botts vs. the Income Tax
[DEC 1950] The Crime of Alexander Botts
[JAN 1951] Botts Runs For His Life
[OCT 1953] Botts and the Impossible Mountain
[JUL 1956] Botts' Perfect Alibi
[SEP 1957] Botts Turns Traitor
[JAN 1858] Botts and the Day the Dam Broke
[AUG 1959] Botts and the Picket Line

The Fabulous Saga of Alexander Botts (2001) [F]

[MAR 1920] I'm a Natural-Born Salesman
[NOV 1921] The Big Sales Talk
[JAN 1925] The Old Home Town
[JUN 1932] "Thar's Gold in Them Thar Mountains"
[JUL 1934] The Depression Is Over
[NOV 1939] Confidential Stuff
[0CT 1940] Tractors on Parade
[JUL 1942] Wrong Again, Henderson
[AUG 1943] "Keep Moving, Captain Botts"
[FEB 1947] Botts Gets a New Job
[JUN 1950] Tractor Hoarder
[OCT 1953] Botts and the Impossible Mountain
[FEB 1954] Botts and the Fire Bug
[JAN 1958] Botts and the Daredevil Driver

Alexander Botts Rides Again (2005) [R]

[JUN 1920] The Indirect Method
[JAN 1921] I'm a Hard Boiled Bozo
[JUN 1925] Sandy Inlet
[JAN 1932] More Trouble With the Expense Account
[SEP 1934] Good News
[JAN 1940] Grand Canyon Brain Storm
[MAY 1941] The Cockroach Cavalry
[MAY 1943] Alexander Botts Obeys Orders
[SEP 1945] I Want Out
[FEB 1949] Botts Makes Magic
[MAR 1957] Botts' Folly
[MAR 1959] Botts and the Bag of Tricks

Here is a chronological table with the stories from these three books interleaved, with added stories from the following two "late entries":

Alexander Botts: Great Stories . . . (1977) [G]
Alexander Botts Earthworm Tractors (1929) [E]

BF_GE [MAR 1920] I'm a Natural-Born Salesman
__RGE [JUN 1920] The Indirect Method
__R_E [JAN 1921] I'm a Hard Boiled Bozo
____E [MAR 1921] The Wonders of Science
____E [MAY 1921] Trouble With the Expense Account
_F__E [NOV 1921] The Big Sales Talk
____E [JUN 1922] Second Hand Stuff
____E [SEP 1922] The Endurance Test
___GE [APR 1924] Big Business
_F__E [JAN 1925] The Old Home Town
__R_E [JUN 1925] Sandy Inlet
____E [APR 1926] Always Polite
___G_ [JAN 1928] Europe Is Due for a Surprise
___G_ [MAY 1928] The New Model
__R__ [JAN 1932] More Trouble With the Expense Account
_F___ [JUN 1932] "Thar's Gold in Them Thar Mountains"
___G_ [JUL 1932] The Peacemaker
B____ [DEC 1933] The Big Tree
_F___ [JUL 1934] The Depression Is Over
__RG_ [SEP 1934] Good News
_F_G_ [NOV 1939] Confidential Stuff
__R__ [JAN 1940] Grand Canyon Brain Storm
_F___ [0CT 1940] Tractors on Parade
__RG_ [MAY 1941] The Cockroach Cavalry
_F___ [JUL 1942] Wrong Again, Henderson
__R__ [MAY 1943] Alexander Botts Obeys Orders
_F___ [AUG 1943] "Keep Moving, Captain Botts"
B____ [MAY 1944] Situation Haywire
B____ [JUL 1945] A. Botts and the Möbius Strip
__R__ [SEP 1945] I Want Out
___G_ [AUG 1946] Botts is Back. . .
BF_G_ [FEB 1947] Botts Gets a New Job
B____ [SEP 1947] Alexander Botts vs. the Income Tax
__R__ [FEB 1949] Botts Makes Magic
___G_ [APR 1950] Botts Discovers Uranium
_F___ [JUN 1950] Tractor Hoarder
B____ [DEC 1950] The Crime of Alexander Botts
B__G_ [JAN 1951] Botts Runs For His Life
BF___ [OCT 1953] Botts and the Impossible Mountain
_F___ [FEB 1954] Botts and the Fire Bug
___G_ [AUG 1955] Dear Henderson: I Quit . . .
___G_ [APR 1956] Botts and the Biggest Deal of All
B____ [JUL 1956] Botts' Perfect Alibi
__R__ [MAR 1957] Botts' Folly
B__G_ [SEP 1957] Botts Turns Traitor
B____ [JAN 03 1958] Botts and the Day the Dam Broke
_F___ [JAN 31 1958] Botts and the Daredevil Driver
___G_ [DEC 1958] Alexander Botts, Security Agent
__R__ [MAR 1959] Botts and the Bag of Tricks
B____ [AUG 1959] Botts and the Picket Line
___G_ [SEP 1960] Alexander Botts, Jailbird
___G_ [MAR 1973] Alexander Botts and the Younger Generation
___G_ [MAY 1974] Alexander Botts, Detective
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hope springs eternal 8 Sep 2005
By R. F. Dugger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is fun reading. If your idea of a good book is that it weigh 10 lbs and makes you feel miserable, then this is not the book for you. The stories of Alexander Botts are short, funny, and always have a happy ending, despite the absolutely horrific conditions in the middle of each story. These are stories of hope, that no matter how bad things seem to be, there is always a silver lining for those who don't give up. Alexander claims he's a "Natural Born Salesman"...I'd quibble with that and claim he's a natural born optimist. More than just a "glass half full" attitude, more of a "there are thousands of uses for crushed glass" optimism. Enjoy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Belly laughts from Saturday Evening Post 29 July 2003
By Robert Whitney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a child, living on the Panama Canal Zone, I would look foreward to recieving the Saturday Evening Post , from the states, to read the lastest adventures of Alexander Botts, the bumbeling but Super Salesman from the Earthworm Tractor Company. Our family would gather around the kitchen table each Saturday night as Dad would read this halarious series to us. Great stories! A must for anyone who read Saturday Evening Post in the '20s, onward.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Delight 20 April 2010
By R. Schultz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most of us have so many books and magazines in a teetering pile on our bedside tables, that we can't commit to any one of them. No matter how absorbing the material in hand, the thought of all the other stuff waiting to be read distracts us. However these collections of Botts' stories are the exception. They are so entertaining that I found myself completely concentrated in them.

Even though these stories were written from the 1920's through the 1970's, each one seems as fresh as bread out of the oven. They are also educational. As Botts leaps in to accommodate a miner or a timber company owner - you'll incidentally learn a lot about mining, forestry, or how to solve a variety of current workaday problems.

But of course the real reason to read these stories is Alexander Botts himself. He's the indomitable salesman, so cocksure and ahead of himself that he often seems to be clutching defeat out of the jaws of victory. But then by sheer luck and pluck, he usually manages to turn things around and make everything come out right.

There are quite a few collections of these stories culled from the "Saturday Evening Post," but this book offers the added attraction of pictures of Joe E. Brown in the role of Botts in the one movie that was made featuring this character. So it's a nice edition to own.

This book contains 14 of Botts' adventures, including:
1) "I'm a Natural-Born Salesman" - in which Botts launches on his career with the Earthworm Tractor Company and his long-suffering boss, Gilbert Henderson.
2) "The Old Home Town" - in the process of demonstrating a tractor's snow removal ability, the tractor breaks every window along the town's Main Street.
3) "Thar's Gold in Them Thar Mountains" - in which Botts falls in with a scheme to reactivate an old mine that seems to hold a rich vein of ore.
4) "The Depression is Over" - Botts rashly removes some parts from the Earthworm's demo model tractor at Chicago's 1934 World's Fair, while back at the home office he is being considered for a promotion, despite the fact that management perceives that "there is a wild harum-scarum quality to (his) mental processes which at times seems to approach very closely to actual insanity."
5) "Confidential Stuff" - as fears about World War and spy activity in the U.S. mount, Botts devises an elaborate code to be used in telegrams and letters sent back to the home office. A foreseeable failure of communication results and Botts ends up making a high-speed run across the Mexican Border in an Earthworm tractor.
6) "Wrong Again, Henderson" - Botts lets an unauthorized reporter get a look at how Earthworm tractors are helping to build the Alaskan Highway in 1940, despite this construction being a top military secret.
7) "Botts Gets a New Job" - in which Botts goes undercover in his own firm, applying for a job as a janitor in order to prove how silly the new standardized personnel tests are.
8) "Tractor Hoarder" - Botts consults both a soothsayer AND a rainmaker in order to close a deal.
9) "Botts and the Firebug" - in the process of trying to sell tractors to a developer who's planning a Florida island resort, Botts is accused of burning the only bridge giving visitors access to that island.

Well, you get the idea. These stories are hilarious. Alexander Botts is unforgettable. And you'll get a panorama of 20th century American history as you laugh along with "Alexander the Great's" antics.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alexander Botts brought back to life 28 April 2009
By Donald Hardy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Couldn't wait for each issue of the Saturday Evening Post from Curtis Publishing Company to be distributed and arrive to see if another Alexander Botts adventure would be in it. Now I need wait no longer!

Don Hardy
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