Born in IA; married. Education: Princeton University, received degree, 1981.
Freelance journalist and editor. Former editor and writer at Newsweek.
Dream Reapers: The Story of an Old-Fashioned Inventor in the High-Tech, High-Stakes World of Modern Agriculture, Knopf (New York, NY), 1995.
Contributor to periodicals, including the Atlantic, Reader's Digest, and Discover, and to the book Iowa, a Celebration of Land, People & Purpose: The Official Commemorative Book of the Iowa Sesquicentennial, Meredith Publishing Services (Des Moines, IA), 1995.
In his debut book, Dream Reapers: The Story of an Old-Fashioned Inventor in the High-Tech, High-Stakes World of Modern Agriculture, journalist Craig Canine provides both a history of agricultural equipment development in the United States and the story of two men's modern-day efforts to make their own contribution to the field. Focusing on farmer and inventor Mark Underwood and his salesman cousin Ralph Lagergren, Canine tells the story of their struggle for more than a decade to perfect and market Underwood's invention of a Bi-Rotor combine. According to Canine, the Bi-Rotor outperforms outer combines in both wet and dry conditions and offers new perspectives on designing and building agricultural machinery. In addition to delving into the mechanics of the machine, which uses a rotating concave and cylinder, the author tells the story of Lagergren's efforts to finance his cousin's work and to convince a large company to buy their idea and manufacture the machine. The story is populated with historic and current visionaries and eccentrics, including what Sciences reviewer Laurence A. Marschall called "a crusty old investor" and "a motley crew of technicians and machinists." Although at the time of the book's publication in 1995 the group had failed in their efforts to garner the interest of a major company, they were finally successful in selling the rights to the machine to an implement company for further development.
Writing in the Library Journal, Irwin Weintraub called Canine's book "a well-written history about the inventions that modernized farming and the human factors that both motivate and hinder an inventor's creativity." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "deftly interweaves the story of the two men's struggles with a history of the mechanization of agriculture." Isis contributor R. Douglas Hurt called the book "more than a rags-to-riches success story against all odds" and "a finely crafted narrative."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, February, 1996, review of Dream Reapers: The Story of an Old-Fashioned Inventor in the High-Tech, High-Stakes World of Modern Agriculture, p. 968.
Economist, November 4, 1995, review of Dream Reapers, p. 93.
Isis, March, 2001, R. Douglas Hurt, review of Dream Reapers, p. 225.
Library Journal, August, 1995, Irwin Weintraub, review of Dream Reapers, p. 102.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 10, 1995, Chris Goodrich, review of Dream Reapers, p. 6.
Publishers Weekly, July 10, 1995, review of Dream Reapers, p. 51.
Sciences, March-April, 1996, Laurence A. Marschall, review of Dream Reapers, p. 44.*