Monday, June 20, 2022

Boswell this week - Susan Hartman, Ben Hubing, Mary Laura Philpott, Jack E Davis, Louis Bayard

Here's what's happening at Boswell this week, in person and virtual. This week we're all nonfiction - it isn't until next Monday's Louis Bayard that we've got a novel featured. 

Monday, June 20, 7 pm
Susan Hartman, author of City of Refugees: The Story of Three Newcomers Who Breathed Life into a Dying American Town
in conversation with Mitch Teich for a virtual event - click here to register! 

Boswell hosts an evening featuring journalist Susan Hartman for a conversation about her new book, City of Refugees, which offers an intimate portrait of how newcomers revitalized a fading industrial town which illuminates the larger canvas of refugee life in 21st century America. In conversation with Mitch Teich of North Country Public Radio and former WUWM Lake Effect Producer and Host. Cosponsored by Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition and Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

Many Americans imagine refugees as threatening outsiders who will steal jobs or be a drain on the economy. But across the country, refugees are rebuilding and maintaining the American Dream. Hartman follows three newcomers to Utica, New York over the course of eight years as they and their families adjust to new lives in America. They are part of an extraordinary migration of refugees from Vietnam, Bosnia, Burma, Somalia, Iraq, and elsewhere, who have transformed Utica over the past four decades. City of Refugees is a complex and poignant story of a small city but also of America - a country whose promise of safe harbor and opportunity is knotty and incomplete, but undeniably alive.

From Jake Halpern, author of Welcome to the New World: "This is an American tale that everyone should read - the story of three refugees who forged a new life in the Rust Belt. Hartman's journalistic dedication is nothing short of astounding. She spent eight years following her subjects, and it shows. The storytelling is so intimate and the characters feel so deeply real that you will know them like neighbors. Sadia, who is a teenage girl when the book begins, is like the heroine of a great young adult novel. You will root for her on every page, and by the end, you will not be able to wall off your heart from her hopes and dreams."

Susan Hartman has written about immigrant communities for over 20 years, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and Newsday. The author of two books of poetry, she was educated at Kirkland College and received an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where she now teaches.

Tuesday, June 21, 6:30 pm
Ben Hubing, author of George Wallace in Wisconsin: The Divisive Campaigns That Shaped a Civil Rights Legacy
in conversation with Christine Evans, in-person event at Boswell - click here to register.

Boswell hosts an event featuring historian Ben Hubing for a presentation about his new book, George Wallace in Wisconsin, in which he explores the tumult surrounding the so-called little man with the big mouth in the Badger State. Cosponsored by the UWM Department of History.

George Wallace ran for president four times between 1964 and 1976. In the Badger State, his campaigns fueled a debate over constitutional principles and values. Wallace weaponized states' rights, arguing that the federal government should stay out of school segregation, promote law and order, restrict forced busing, and reduce burdensome taxation. White working-class Wisconsinites armed themselves with Wallace's rhetoric, pushing back on changes that threatened the status quo. Civil rights activists and the Black community in Wisconsin armed themselves with a different constitutional principle, equal protection, to push for strong federal protection of their civil rights.

This clash of ideals nearly became literal as protests and counter-protests erupted until gradually diminishing as Wallace's political fortunes waned. Hubing’s new book offers a revealing account of the tensions that embroiled Wisconsinites as Alabama Governor Wallace took his struggle north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Ben Hubing is a high school educator and educational consultant and has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the James Madison Foundation Fellowship and the Herb Kohl Teaching Fellowship. He earned a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, an MS from Cardinal Stritch University, and an MA in History from UWM, where he focused on the intersections of civil rights, politics and constitutional history.

Wednesday, June 22, 6:30 pm
Mary Laura Philpott, author of Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives
in-person at Boswell - click here to register!

Boswell hosts an evening with Mary Laura Philpott, author of the bestselling essay collection I Miss You When I Blink, who joins us with Bomb Shelter, a poignant and powerful new memoir that tackles the big questions of life, death, and existential fear with humor and hope.

A lifelong worrier, Philpott always kept an eye out for danger, a habit that only intensified when she became a parent. But she looked on the bright side, too, believing that as long as she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe. Then, in the dark of one quiet, pre-dawn morning, she woke abruptly to a terrible sound and found her teenage son unconscious on the floor. In the aftermath of a crisis that darkened her signature sunny spirit, she wondered: If this happened, what else could happen? And how do any of us keep going when we can’t know for sure what’s coming next?

Untamed author Glennon Doyle calls Bomb Shelter: "An unforgettable memoir about holding it together when it’s time to let go, Bomb Shelter met me exactly where I am and gently walked me towards humor and hope. This book is a must read - a treasure to savor now and save for always. I loved it." And from Judith Warner in The New York Times Book Review: "I was struck to my core - all kinds of overripe feelings and neglected memories shook loose - by Mary Laura Philpott, or more precisely, by her new masterwork, Bomb Shelter."

Mary Laura Philpott is author of I Miss You When I Blink and her writing has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. A former bookseller, she also hosted an interview program on Nashville Public Television for several years.

Wednesday, June 22, 7 pm
Jack E Davis, author of The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America's Bird
in conversation with Cheyenne Smith for a virtual event - click here to register.

Boswell Book Company and Schlitz Audubon Nature Center present an evening with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jack E Davis, author of The Gulf, for a conversation about his new book, The Bald Eagle, a sweeping cultural and natural history of the bald eagle in America. In conversation with Schlitz Audubon Raptor Educator Cheyenne Smith. The speakers will be joined during this program by a bald eagle from the Schlitz Audubon Raptor Program!

The bald eagle is regal but fearless, a bird you’re not inclined to argue with. For centuries, Americans have celebrated it as ‘majestic’ and ‘noble,’ yet savaged the living bird behind their national symbol as a malicious predator of livestock and, falsely, a snatcher of babies. Taking us from before the nation’s founding through inconceivable resurgences of this enduring all-American species, Davis contrasts the age when native peoples lived beside it peacefully with that when others, whether through hunting bounties or DDT pesticides, twice pushed Haliaeetus leucocephalus to the brink of extinction.

Filled with stories of Founding Fathers, rapacious hunters, heroic bird rescuers, and the lives of baldeagles themselves, The Bald Eagle is a much-awaited cultural and natural history that demonstrates how this bird’s wondrous journey may provide inspiration today, as we grapple with environmental peril on a larger scale. Vicki Constantine Croke, writing for The New York Times Book Review, says: "Davis shines at most everything in this exuberantly expansive book, but especially at highlighting individual birds like the translocated ones making their way in the world. With eagle numbers now estimated at levels they were before 'America became America,' their comeback is astonishing."

Jack E Davis is the author of the award-winning The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea and An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century. He is Professor of Environmental History at the University of Florida.

Monday, June 27, 6:30 pm
Louis Bayard, author of Jackie & Me
in conversation with Christina Clancy, in-person at Boswell - click here to register!

Boswell Book Company hosts Louis Bayard, the bestselling author of The Pale Blue Eye and Courting Mr. Lincoln, for a conversation about his witty, sensitive new novel about the young Jacqueline Bouvier during the time before she became that Jackie, and the marriage that almost never happened. In conversation with Christina Clancy, author of Shoulder Season and The Second Home.

In the spring of 1951, debutante Jacqueline Bouvier, working for the Washington Times-Herald, meets Jack Kennedy, a charming Congressman from a notorious and powerful family, at a party in DC. Young, rebellious, eager to break free from her mother, Jackie is drawn to the elusive young politician, and soon she and Jack are bantering over secret dinner dates and short work phone calls. Only gradually does Jackie begin to realize that she is being groomed to be the perfect political wife, whether Jack is interested in settling down or not. Sharply written, steeped in the era and with witty appearances by members of the extended Kennedy clan, this is Jackie as never before seen, in a story about love, sacrifice, friendship, and betrayal.

Jackie & Me has earned starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal. And from Angie Kim, author of Miracle Creek: "I absolutely adore this novel! It’s a testament to Louis Bayard’s remarkable gifts as storyteller how suspenseful it is, given that we already know this story... or do we? Full of Bayard’s trademark charm and wit, with prose that sings and a perfect voice, Jackie & Me delighted me from beginning to end."

Louis Bayard is a New York Times Notable Book author and has been shortlisted for both the Edgar and Dagger awards for his historical thrillers, which include The Pale Blue Eye and Mr. Timothy. He teaches at George Washington University. 

Visit the Boswell upcoming events page for more programs.

Photo credits:
Susan Hartman credit Glenmar Studio
Mary Laura Philpott credit Heidi Ross
Jack E Davis credit Giuliano De Portu
Louis Bayard credit Anna Carson Dewitt

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