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A Short History of Wisconsin Paperback – July 8, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society Press (July 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870204408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870204401
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Erika Janik has produced a wonderful portrait of the Badger state. With its engaging style, her short history of Wisconsin—including its national achievements in areas like the environment, education, labor and politics—provides a remarkable insight into what makes the state great. You'll be surprised at the treasures she's unearthed!" (Larry Meiller, Wisconsin Public Radio)

"A Short History of Wisconsin is a compelling look into the state's past. This exemplary book would make any Wisconsinite proud, and enlighten others as to why our state is a unique and welcoming place to live and experience." (Former First Lady of Wisconsin, Jessica Doyle)

"A Short History of Wisconsin is thorough and completely self-contained. It tells its story from beginning to end in a comprehensive yet breezy manner. Equally important, however, the book is an invitation to the reader to delve deeper into Wisconsin history." (ForeWord Reviews)

"Janik is obviously a storyteller, and this is what makes her book easy to read and understand. If you are looking for a book that puts historical facts into a list, this is not it. Janik organizes the facts so they tell a story by which readers are moved. Readers feel the frustration as disagreements about the Wisconsin constitution prevent it from becoming a state, pride as Wisconsin abolitionists break a runaway slave out of jail, and enthusiasm as the Packers are formed." (Mary Parsons, Wisconsin People & Ideas)



2010 Finalist in the Regional Category from ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards
2011 Finalist in the Regional Nonficion Category from National Indie Excellence Awards
2011 Finalist in the History: United States Category from USA National Best Book Awards
2011 Winner of the Book Award of Merit from the Wisconsin Historical Society

About the Author

Erika Janik is the author of Odd Wisconsin: Amusing, Perplexing and Unlikely Stories from Wisconsin's Past, published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Her work has appeared in Midwest Living, MyMidwest, Wisconsin Trails, the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin Magazine of History, and The Onion. Originally from Redmond, Washington, she now lives in Madison.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By WILLIAM J HOLLOWAY on December 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book. Starting with the geologic forces that shaped the state, through Native American settlement and habitation, through European settlement, the Progressives, the World Wars, Joe McCarthy, to the present day, A Short History of Wisconsin provides a great overview of the history and culture of the state.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jill on November 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ever since I've left Wisconsin, I've become more interested in its history. Wisconsin is an odd state really. Although most Americans' eyes gloss over it on a map, the mostly ignored, mitten-shaped state crammed between the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest has a fascinating history.

Author Erika Janik constructs this short history tome using a binary opposition: the dissonance between tradition and reform. Of course, this contradiction is not Wisconsin-specific, but it does seem to best define the state. In the corner of tradition, we learn that Wisconsin has the oldest state constitution in its original form (sans amendments) outside of New England and that Wisconsin founded many of the first environmental conservation movements, thus seeking to preserve the natural in lieu of the new. Yet Wisconsin is also immensely forward-thinking (the state's motto is, unironically, "Forward"). Wisconsin is the birthplace of both the Republican party and Progressivism and it had the first large-scale electric use. It would take a bit of thought, but if I wanted to, I bet I could construct a thesis as to how this clash of tradition and reform is inspiring the current political climate of Wisconsin, how the peaceful and kind state has become a monster in the American political arena.

This book was fine. It was well-written in clear, easy prose that makes it a quick read. What I most enjoyed was that it gave me more ammunition to my disgust at the current way we treat unpopular, essentially non-metropolitan regions. Where people live is important. It defines their lives, and they should be able to feel proud of it. This book reminded me of the many reasons Wisconsin is a wonderful place.
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I bought this for a pen pal of mine from Peru. I wanted her to get a good idea about Wisconsin. I'm pleased that this book did the job.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Semaj on September 13, 2010
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Anyone with a connection to Wisconsin will enjoy this short history. Familiar names and places are identified and enriched with a few additional details. The book can be read cover to cover, or used as a resource. It has a great index so one can quickly read about Curly Lambeau, the city of Madison, Joe Mccarthy, progressives, etc.
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More About the Author

Erika Janik is the award-winning author of Odd Wisconsin, A Short History of Wisconsin, Madison: A History of a Model City, Apple: A Global History, and Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine (Beacon Press, Jan. 2014). She is the recipient of a 2011 Wisconsin Historical Society Award of Merit for History Writing, 2009 North American Travel Journalists Association award for historical travel writing as well as the 2007 William B. Hesseltine Award. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian.com, Mental Floss, The Onion, MyMidwest, Wisconsin Trails magazine, On Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Magazine of History, as well as on Wisconsin Public Radio. Originally from Redmond, Washington, she now knows more about Wisconsin than she ever thought possible. In her spare time, she's the producer and editor of "Wisconsin Life" at Wisconsin Public Radio.

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