Book Club Recommendations

While all Wisconsin Historical Society Press books make great reads, we recognize that some are exceptionally well-suited for, and popular with, book clubs. Here are some Book Club Favorites.

Watch this page for new Book Club titles, available at your favorite bookstore or online retailer as well as through the Wisconsin Historical Society store!!

Book Club Recommendations

Finding Josie

by Wendy Bilen

Wendy Bilen pieces together the extraordinary history of her grandmother, who was born and raised on the North Dakota prairie in the early 1900s and became a dairy farmer’s wife in Wisconsin.

From the Top: Brief Transmissions from Tent Show Radio

by Michael Perry

Michael Perry navigates a wide range of topics in this collection of brief essays drawn from his weekly appearances on the nationally syndicated Tent Show Radio program.

How to Make a Life: A Tibetan Refugee Family and the Midwestern Woman They Adopted

by Madeline Uraneck

An evocative blend of immersion journalism and memoir, How to Make a Life shares the immigration story of a Tibetan refugee family who crossed real and cultural bridges to make a life in Madison, Wisconsin, with the assistance of the Midwestern woman they befriended. From tales of escaping Tibet over the Himalayas, to striking a balance between old traditions with new, to bridging divides one friendly gesture at a time, readers will expand their understanding of family, culture, and belonging.

Limping Through Life: A Farm Boy’s Polio Memoir

by Jerry Apps

Discussion Questions

In his most personal book, Jerry Apps, who contracted polio at age 12, reveals how the disease affected him physically and emotionally.

Little Hawk and the Lone Wolf: A Memoir

by Raymond C. Kaquatosh

Discussion Questions

A rare first-person narrative of a Menominee Indian’s coming of age, a passage often guided by his unusual bond with a lone timber wolf.

Milwaukee Mayhem: Murder and Mystery in the Cream City’s First Century

by Matthew Prigge

COMING FALL 2015 - From murder and matchstick men to all-consuming fires, painted women, and Great Lakes disasters--and the wide-eyed public who could not help but gawk at it all--"Milwaukee Mayhem" uncovers the little-remembered and rarely told history of the underbelly of a Midwestern metropolis. "Milwaukee Mayhem" offers a new perspective on Milwaukee's early years, forgoing the major historical signposts found in traditional histories and focusing instead on the strange and brutal tales of mystery, vice, murder, and disaster that were born of the city's transformation from lakeside settlement to American metropolis.

My Life with the Green & Gold: Tales from 20 Years of Sportscasting

by Jessie Garcia

This “momoir” not only brings Packer fans behind the microphone and onto the sidelines and inside the locker room at Lambeau Field, but it also shares a personal and humorous insider's look at sports heroes from the perspective of a female sports journalist and working mom. After all, not many parents can say they've changed their child's diaper in the tunnel at Lambeau Field, but Jessie Garcia can.

The Man Who Painted the Universe: The Story of a Planetarium in the Heart of the North Woods

by Ron Legro and Avi Lank

Explore the inspiring story, featured on CBS Evening News and NPR, of Chicago native Frank Kovac Jr. and his tireless efforts to build and open his North Woods planetarium. Kovac meticulously crafted it by hand-painting more than 5,000 stars in glowing paints—despite setbacks, failures, and collapses. Today, Kovac and his unique planetarium take visitors to the stars every day.

The Quiet Season: Remembering Country Winters

By Jerry Apps

Celebrated rural historian Jerry Apps recalls winters growing up on a farm in central Wisconsin during the latter years of the Depression and through World War II, the years before electricity when farmers milked cows by hand with the light of a kerosene lantern, woodstoves heated the drafty farm homes, and "making wood" was a major part of every winter's work.

Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts

By Marnie O. Mamminga

Recommended to readers everywhere by Parade magazine, this series of evocative remembrances takes us to Wake Robin, the cabin Marnie Mamminga’s grandparents built in 1929 on Big Spider Lake near Hayward, Wis., and along the way, preserves the funny and touching memories of a 5-generations tradition of the “cabin up North” as well as the spirit and cultural heritage of a vanishing era, conveying the heart of a place and the cabin community that gathered there.

Ship Captain's Daughter: Growing Up on the Great Lakes

By Ann Lewis

Coming Soon

COMING FALL 2015 - With lively storytelling and vivid details, Ann Lewis captures the unusual life of shipping families whose days and weeks revolved around the shipping industry on the Great Lakes.

Studying Wisconsin: The Life of Increase Lapham, early chronicler of plants, rocks, rivers, mounds and all things Wisconsin

By Martha Bergland and Paul G. Hayes

Coming Soon

Told in compelling detail through Lapham's letters, journals, books, and articles, this long-overdue biography chronicles the life and times of Wisconsin's pioneer citizen-scientist.

“When Is Daddy Coming Home?” An American Family During World War II

By Richard Carlton Haney

A history and memoir that explores the impact of World War II on an American family.

Whispers and Shadows: A Naturalist’s Memoir

By Jerry Apps

Combining his signature lively storytelling and careful observations of nature, celebrated rural historian Jerry Apps explores such topics as the human need for wilderness, rediscovering a sense of wonder, and his father's advice to "listen for the whispers" and "look in the shadows" to learn nature's deepest lessons.