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Take a Whirlwind Tour of Wisconsin History


Robert M. La Follette Sr. campaigning in Cumberland, Wisconsin in 1897
WHI 2020

Rediscover Wisconsin history from the very beginning with a captivating new read from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. "A Short History of Wisconsin" recounts the landscapes, people and traditions that have made the state the multi-faceted place it is today. With an approach both comprehensive and accessible, author Erika Janik covers several centuries of Wisconsin's remarkable past, showing how the same forces that shaped the nation — world wars, waves of new inhabitants, and upheavals in society and politics — also shaped Wisconsin's history.

From Glaciers to the 21st Century in 200 Pages

Swift, authoritative and compellingly readable, "A Short History of Wisconsin" commences with the glaciers that hewed the region's breathtaking terrain, the Native American cultures who first called it home, and French explorers and traders who mapped the region once called "Mescousing." Janik moves through the Civil War and two world wars, covers advances in the rights of women, workers, African Americans and Native Americans, and recent shifts involving the environmental movement and the conservative revolution of the late 20th century. Wisconsin has hosted industries from trapping and mining to agriculture, manufacturing and dairying, and its political landscape sprouted figures both renowned and reviled, from Fighting Bob La Follette (pictured above) to Joseph McCarthy.

Sweeping Changes, Daily Lives Tell Wisconsin's Story

But only part of the story lies in sweeping societal change: Janik finds the story of a state not only in the broad strokes of immigration and politics, but in the daily lives shaped by work, leisure, sports and culture. "A Short History of Wisconsin" offers a fresh understanding of how Wisconsin came into being and how Wisconsinites past and present share a deep connection to the land itself.

:: Posted July 8, 2010

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