Books About John Deere

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John Deere:  A History of the Tractor.  Randy Leffingwell, 2004.

Excellent hardcover coffee-table book on the history on John Deere himself, the beginnings of his company, and a lot of the engineering and management decisions impacting tractor designs and production.  This book is an updated, expanded version of the author's John Deere Farm Tractors, right, with many details added from recently-researched diaries of Deere engineer Theo Brown.  Also available in paperback

John Deere Farm Tractors.  Randy Leffingwell, 1993.

Thorough text and outstanding photos, covering everything from early experimentals through Generation II.  Before the author wrote his expanded John Deere:  A History of the Tractor, left, this one got my vote as the single best coffee-table book on John Deere tractors.  Also published in paperback as John Deere: The Classic American Tractor.

John Deere New Generation Tractors.   Peterson and Beemer, 1998.

Very good color photographs and informative text about the development and first decade or so of John Deere's four- and six-cylinder tractors, from the 1010 to the 8020.  Includes a lot of interesting comments from retired Deere executives and engineers, and neat historical photos of prototypes and testing work.  For 10 series tractors, production number charts are broken down by individual year rather than just total production run figures, so you can see how many gas, row-crop 3010s were built in 1962, or how many diesel ag crawler 2010s were built in 1961, etc.  There are no such charts for the 20 series, but yearly starting-serial-number charts for each tractor let you approximate total production of say, 3020s in 1966, but you can't break it down by gas, diesel, row crop, standard, etc.  Like many books, there are some editing errors:  the chart on 1010s, for example, shows the production figures for agricultural crawlers under the heading of "Hi-Crop Crawlers."  Having not seen too many hi-crop crawlers, I suspect that is a mistake.

Designing the New Generation John Deere Tractors.  Merle Miller, 1999.

An excellent history of the development and introduction of the 3010 and 4010, written by a retired Deere senior engineer.  Lots of detail about the design objectives and development of the tractors and their various components and systems.  Very well illustrated with archival photos and service-manual drawings.

John Deere Two-Cylinder Tractor Encyclopedia.  Macmillan and Broehl, 2007.

Looks like a great one for Poppin' Johnny fans.  I haven't read it yet but Don Macmillan set the standard with his John Deere Tractors and Equipment, Volumes I and II, below, and I trust him to have done a similarly excellent job with this newer book.

The Big Book of John Deere Tractors.  Don MacMillan, Randy Leffingwell, 1999.

Another one that I haven't read, but if you're looking for a single book about John Deere tractors you couldn't go far wrong with this one.  I don't know if the authors actually worked together or if the publisher just edited and combined their work from other books, but MacMillan and Leffingwell are among the very best.  Also published in paperback.  

John Deere Tractors and Equipment, Volume I.  Don MacMillan, 1988. 

Best all-around encyclopedia for two-cylinder John Deeres.  Photos not always very high quality, but great history.

John Deere Tractors and Equipment, Volume II.  Don MacMillan, 1991.

Companion to his earlier book (left), and another excellent all-around encyclopedia.  Volume II covers the New Generation and later equipment.

How Johnny Popper Replaced the Horse.  Donald Huber and Ralph Hughes, 1988. 

First-rate photos, drawings, and text covering all the two-cylinders.  Not the biggest book on John Deeres, but one of the best.  Published by Deere and Company.

Big Green, John Deere GP Tractors.  Pripps and Morland, 1994.

Good photos, brief but decent text.  Some reviewers with extensive John Deere experience have not thought highly of this book's technical accuracy.  Available separately, or combined with the authors' Farmall and Ford books into Great American Farm Tractors.

John Deere Tractors: First Numbered Series; John Deere 20 Series; John Deere 30 Series; John Deere 10 Series New Generation Tractors. 

Concise reference books on classic John Deere tractors, published by and available from Green Magazine.  Each includes a historical narrative, production numbers, specifications, studio artwork, and vintage photos.  Not glossy coffee-table books, but wonderful details and unimpeachable technical accuracy. 


Thanks for visiting!  E-mail me at if you have any comments--I'm always glad to talk tractors and such. --Dean Vinson
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