We are just beginning to understand the power of local history to enhance our understanding of ourselves, our cities, and our culture. It is, after all, that stratum of history that touches our lives most closely.
Madison answers the basic questions of when, where, why, how, and by whom Madison, Wisconsin was developed. The book is richly detailed, fully documented, inclusive in coverage, and delightfully readable. More than 300 illustrations provide a vivid feeling for what life was like in Madison during the formative years. David Mollenhoff's unique interpretive framework emphasizing public policies and community values, gives the book a consistent interpretive quality and reveals major themes that flow through time. This combination will allow you to see the city's growth and development with unusual clarity and coherence—almost as if you were watching time-lapse photography.
When Mollenhoff began to study Madison’s history, he was delighted by his early discoveries but frustrated because no one had written a book-length history of Madison since 1876. Finally, in 1972 he decided to write that book. His research required him to read five miles of microfilm, piles of theses and dissertations, shelves of reports, boxes of manuscripts and letters, and to study thousands of photographs. Soon after the first edition was published in 1982, readers declared it to be a classic. For this second edition Madison has been extensively revised and updated with new maps and photos.
If you want to know the fascinating story of how Madison got to be the way it is, this book belongs on your bookshelf. It will change the way you see the city and your role in it.