Tuesday, December 02, 2008

(Squeal) Blog Swag! (A Book Review)

So, I am totally sin verguenza (without shame for those of you not versed in Español) and pretty much leaped at the chance when Turner Publishing approached me about doing a book review of their Madison-themed photography book. (Between this and my part-time job at Sandbox Intl. a gal could prove that her "two cents worth" is actually worth a whole lot more than that. ;-) My husband better be careful or I am going to have to put some kind of invoice together for opinions offered.)

Book Review: Historic Photos of Madison, by Donald J. Johnson. Turner Publishing, Hardcover 2007. This handsome photography book is a bit of a love letter to Madison, complete with a general history of the city and well researched captions for the 200 photos contained therein. Since I moved to Madison over 10 years ago, I have marveled at the deep affection that people develop and retain for this city. It's not just a college town, although UW dominates a good portion of people's minds and a large chunk of downtown, it is a liberal bastion and political hotspot in the state. Students move here for school and then can't bear to move away. That makes the job market exceedingly tough, but it also creates a town where no matter what store you are in or who you meet, you are likely to end up in a deep conversation or at least an incredibly interesting and lively one with a member of the highly educated populace that makes the city run.

The capitol dome is the undisputed biggest, most distinct landmark in our fair city and I appreciated that the publisher and author do a great job of showing lots of photographs with this landmark that allows one to put the town into perspective as it changes over the years. Along with descriptive captions, most pictures where a building is the point of focus include a street address to let the reader-in-the-know see exactly how much things have changed around here. With photos dating back to 1860, it is is hard to not feel steeped in nostalgia seeing the broad fields that used to surround Randall Stadium or the clear view to the capitol from Bascom Hall.

I think that any person with a soft spot for Madison would love to have this book, as it would make a great coffee table item that people will actually pick up and look through. The book has inspired me to make a trip to the Wisconsin Historical Society, which is the source of all the photos from the book, to see the some of the original photos and find some of my neighborhood, in particular. I know the librarians that work there are amazing at locating items of interest and the archives are so vast there has got to be tons of awesome stuff. I could have copies made of items on file there, but I think that just getting the book would be easier. ;)


  1. this looks great. i've been looking for written history books and madison and haven't found anything (literally). this will have to do for now.

    btw, i've been the the historical society and was overwhelmed by the amount of photographs. i could easily spend a full day looking through those.

  2. This would be a great holiday gift for UW-Alums who are no longer local. Congrats on the swag and well done!

  3. What is Sandbox Int? how do I get involved?? I am considering some review type work.. I'm jealous!!

    great review by the way!


Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.