This summer we don’t get to head out and explore all the things that make Milwaukee great, but that doesn’t mean we can’t spend some time learning about all the things that help make this a place we love to live. Reading books about Milwaukee and Wisconsin are a great way to expand your appreciation for your home while expanding your knowledge. No matter what subject matter you love – from history to food to sports – there’s a book on this list that you’ll love. Support a local bookstore or author and dig into the past with these great books about the place we call home.
Beyond those listed, Historic Milwaukee has an incredibly selection of books on the website. If you don’t see something below you can’t wait to dig into, they’ll definitely have something you won’t be able to resist.
Worth it for the gorgeous pictures alone, this is a coffee table book that also has great stories detailing Wisconsin’s history of beer brewing.
The Making of Milwaukee by John Gurda
No one knows more minutiae about Milwaukee than John Gurda. This book was turned into an Emmy Award winning PBS mini-series and it’s a must-read for all locals.
Milwaukee in the 1930s: A Federal Writers Project City Guide by John D. Buenker
This guide was written nearly a century ago, but never published. The manuscript was recently found and now the book is a unique historic look and time capsule of the city as it was. There’s simply nothing else like it and you won’t be able to put it down.
Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods by John Gurda
Accompanied by gorgeous illustrations, this book tells the story of Milwaukee through the people that settled here.
The American Association Milwaukee Brewers by Rex Hamann and Bob Koehler
Long before Bud Selig moved the Pilots to Milwaukee, there were the American Association Brewers who played for 51 years and were the second-winningest franchise in the league’s history.
Milwaukee Food: A History of Cream City Cuisine by Lori Fredrich
Outsiders know about Milwaukee because of our food and drink. This book delves into all the delicious bits that make this taste like home.
A City At War: Milwaukee Labor During World War II by Richard L. Pifer
Already a blue collar manufacturing town, Milwaukee played an important part in keeping America running here and abroad during WWII. Learn all about your parents and grandparents were part of the fight here at home.
The Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee by Patrick D. Jones
This is the history of our city that isn’t taught in classrooms. Especially poignant this summer, learn about Milwaukee’s robust history of activism to help put current events in necessary context.
Bottoms Up: A Toast to Wisconsin’s Historic Bars & Breweries by Jim Draeger and Mark Speltz
From corner bars to speakeasies, one-room brewhouses to mega breweries, this book tells the tale of 70 interesting and diverse drinking establishments that have shaped the state.
Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old Fashioned Experience by Ron Faiola
There’s nothing quite like a Wisconsin Supper Club. Folks elsewhere try to recreate the experience, with varying results. This book explores this very Wisconsin phenomenon and will leave you nostalgic for prime ribs dinners and broasted chicken lunches.
Milwaukee County has more than 150 parks, 125 miles of trails and 150,000 acres of green space to explore. Right now seems like the perfect time to learn about all the unique and wonderful public spots you can explore to keep from going stir crazy.
Milwaukee Frozen Custard by Bobby Tanzillo and Kathleen McCann
Sure, we’re probably more famous for our beer and brats, but locals know the best local delicacy is frozen custard. We all have our favorites and this book does them all justice.
Looking for something a bit lighter? These fiction books take place in Milwaukee and you’ll love seeing your favorite city as another character in these stories.
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
This is a sweet story in more ways than one and it features a storyline where one character shows the other the best of Milwaukee.
The Second Home by Christina Clancy
Siblings have to sort through their parents two homes – one in Cape Cod and one in Milwaukee and one of them falls back in love with the city she grew up in.
Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
This young adult novel about a boy from California who’s family moves to Wisconsin and the girl who has to show him around school have butter burgers, Packer games and other touches of life in America’s Dairyland.
Milwaukee Dragons Series by Liz Lincoln
This romance series features players for a fictional professional football team in Milwaukee, the Dragons.