Welcome to Boswell Book Company's website!

Selected upcoming events below. Visit our upcoming event page for a more complete listing.

You're on the Boswell Book Company page and our guess is that you want to know where we're located and how to get a hold of us. Here are the basics:

Our address is Boswell Book Company, 2559 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211. This is our only location. Don't let a yellow pages tell you otherwise. The store is located on the same block as the Downer Theater, up the bluff from Lincoln Memorial Drive. We're north of Columbia St. Mary's Hospital and south of UWM. We're also pretty much on the southernmost tip of Lake Drive.

Our phone number is 414-332-1181. Sometimes you'll see other numbers appear on your phone when we call you, as we have multiple lines. This is our only number that has a classic exchange--EDgewood, if you are into these things.

Our email contact info is info@boswellbooks.com, if you'd like to place a special order or get basic info about an event or are wondering about our hours.

Speaking of hours, we're open 10 am to 9 pm from Monday through Saturday, and 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday. We're closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and there are about five holidays where we're open 10 am to 5 pm, plus we sometimes close early for events and meetings. You can assume that if we have a ticketed event in the store, we're closed to the public around 5:30.  

We've heard that after location and contact info, the reason why folks visit websites like ours is to find out about events. We keep our events on one upcoming event page, but some highlights are listed below, generally our ticketed events, but sometimes a few others are included.

And the third reason folks visit is to order books. Our site search engine is not as good as some of our well-financed online competitors, but it will do. One of the nice things we like to point out is that you can check inventory and even the subsection of the book, but be aware, the number does not take into account customer holds, receiving errors, and general misshelving. As we like to say, we just need one person to put a book back in the wrong place for it to be lost forever, or at least until we do our next section check. Our system allows you to put a book on hold without first registering an account. Try it!

A ticketed event with Scott Kelly, author of Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery
Monday, October 23, 7 pm, at UWM Union Wisconsin Room, 2200 E Kenwood Blvd.

Boswell, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Union, and the Manfred Olson Planetarium present an evening with Scott Kelly, the astronaut who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station, in conversation with Bonnie North of WUWM’s Lake Effect.

Tickets are $32 and include admission to the event, all taxes and ticket fees, and a signed copy of Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery. Tickets are available at kellymke.brownpapertickets.com or you can order by phone at 800-838-3006. Tickets are also available to the UWM campus community at a special discounted price of $26 for students and $29 for faculty and staff, only at the UWM Student Union Information Desk.

The veteran of four space flights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, astronaut Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have: How does it feel to be launched in a rocket? What happens to your body in zero gravity? What do you do when you get a toothache 250 miles above the Earth?

Kelly discusses this and more in his new book, Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, which recounts his year aboard the ISS as well as his rough-and-tumble New Jersey childhood and what sparked his astounding career, changing his trajectory from an unfocused, below-average student to a record-setting astronaut. Kelly describes navigating the extreme challenges of long-term spaceflight: the devastating physical effects; the pressures of constant close cohabitation; the catastrophic risks of depressurization or colliding with orbital debris; what it’s like to know you won’t be home for a year (and the feeling of being unable to help when tragedy strikes at home).

He writes with candor about his journey, in space and on Earth, and tells fascinating (and often funny) stories about the Russian cosmonauts who accompanied him aboard the ISS. As Kelly says, a lesson he’s learned firsthand: “If we can dream it, we can do it.” Join him in conversation with Bonnie North to learn about his life on and off this planet, and what it will take to make the journey to Mars.

About the author: Scott Kelly is a former military fighter pilot and test pilot, an engineer, a retired astronaut, and a retired U.S. Navy captain. A veteran of four space flights, Kelly commanded the International Space Station (ISS) on three expeditions and was a member of the yearlong mission to the ISS. In October 2015, he set the record for the total accumulated number of days spent in space, the single longest space mission by an American astronaut.

About the moderator: Bonnie North joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of Milwaukee Public Radio’s weekday magazine program Lake Effect. Her introduction to public broadcasting came at Vermont Public Radio, where she spent seven years as host of classical and jazz shows, a production associate, and operations manager. North worked for twenty years in professional, educational, and community theater, and just prior to joining WUWM, she worked in the defense industry, managing interpreting and translation services in the Balkans.

A Book club afternoon with Ronald H. Balson, author of Karolina’s Twins
Tuesday, October 24, 3 pm, at Ovation Chai Point, Rubenstein Pavilion, 1400 N Prospect

Join us for an afternoon of book club picks with a focus on titles with Jewish authors and themes. Boswell’s Daniel Goldin will offer a number of suggestions, and following that, our featured author Ronald H. Balson will talk about Karolina’s Twins, a saga inspired by true events

Lena Woodward, elegant and poised, has lived a comfortable life among Chicago society since she immigrated to the US and began a new life at the end of World War II. But now something has resurfaced that Lena cannot ignore: an unfulfilled promise she made long ago that can no longer stay buried.

Driven to renew the quest that still keeps her awake at night, Lena enlists the help of lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart. Behind Lena's stoic facade are memories that will no longer be contained. She begins to recount a tale, harkening back to her harrowing past in Nazi-occupied Poland, of the bond she shared with her childhood friend Karolina. Karolina was vivacious and beautiful, athletic and charismatic, and Lena has cherished the memory of their friendship her whole life. But there is something about the story that is unfinished, questions that must be answered about what is true and what is not, and what Lena is willing to risk to uncover the past. Has the real story been hidden these many years? And if so, why?

Two girls, coming of age in a dangerous time, bearers of secrets that only they could share.

About the Author: Ronald H. Balson is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator and writer. His practice has taken him to several international venues, including villages in Poland that inspired his first novel, Once We Were Brothers.

A YA Pizza Party featuring Will Kostakis, author of The Sidekicks
and Jen Lancaster, author of The Gatekeepers
Tuesday, October 24, 6:30 pm, at River Room, 1218 13th Ave. Grafton

W J Niederkorn Library, Cedarburg Public Library, USS Liberty Memorial Public Library, and Boswell have come together to bring you two amazing writers for a YA Pizza party event! This event will take place at the River Room, in Grafton. This event is free; no registration is required.

The Gatekeepers sheds light on a little known problem in a beautiful area. North Shore, IL, looks picture perfect but no one talks about the fact that the brilliant, talented kids in this town have a terrible history of throwing themselves in front of commuter trains, and that there's rampant opioid abuse that often leads to heroin usage.

Three students, each with their own struggles and issues, are shocked when a lovable football player takes his own life and the tragedy becomes a suicide cluster. With so many students facing their own demons, can they find a way to save each other—as well as themselves?

About the Author: New York Times bestselling author Jen Lancaster has sold well over a million books. From Bitter Is the New Black to The Tao of Martha, Jen has made a career out of documenting her attempts to shape up, grow up, and have it all—sometimes with disastrous results. Jen has appeared on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Fox News, NPR All Things Considered, and the Joy Behar Show, among others. She lives in Chicago with her husband and her many dogs and cats.

In The Sidekicks, three boys are left to face the death of their best friend, Isaac. None of the boys know each other, but their relationship to Isaac starts to bring them all closer together as they struggle to deal with their grief.

About the Author: Will Kostakis lives in Sydney where he writes books for teens and the adults who like to read about them. In his native Australia, he’s a critically-acclaimed and award-winning author, having won the Gold Inky Award and been shortlisted for both the Prime Minister’s Literary Award and the CBC Australia Book of the Year Award for his sophomore novel, The First Third. The Sidekicks is his American debut.

Ronald H. Balson, author of The Trust
Tuesday, October 24, 7 pm, at Boswell

When his uncle dies, Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral - a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he'd anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland's bloody sectarian war? After all, the Taggarts were deeply involved in the IRA. Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus's estate? Otherwise, why postpone distributions to the heirs? Most menacingly, does the killer now have his sights on other family members?

As his investigation draws Liam farther and farther into the past he has abandoned, he realizes he is forced to reopen doors long ago shut and locked. Now, accepting the appointment as sole trustee of the Fergus Taggart Trust, Liam realizes he has stepped into the center of a firestorm.

About the Author: Ronald H. Balson is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator and writer. His practice has taken him to several international venues, including villages in Poland that inspired his first novel, Once We Were Brothers.

Wednesday, October 25, 7 pm, at Boswell

Hildebrand writes of landscapes in dispute: Native Alaskan groups are pitted against each other over oil development, Hmong emigrants jostle locals in a public hunting ground, farmers battle a formidable company town and city hall. Nature itself is also in flux as timber wolves and Sandhill cranes reclaim lost ground and a marine biologist gauges the effect of an invading species on previously undisturbed areas.

A Northern Front reflects the day-by-day disappearance of wild places and the ever-changing face of the American landscape. Hildebrand's characters are unforgettable, and his stories gracefully capture the spirit of all people who care deeply about the land.

About the Author: John Hildebrand's nonfiction has appeared in Harper's Magazine, Audubon, Sports Illustrated, Harrowsmith, and The Missouri Review. He is the author of Mapping the Farm: The Chronicle of a Family (Minnesota Historical Society Press) and Reading the River: A Voyage Down the Yukon. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and has recently built a cabin in northern Wisconsin

Thursday, October 26, 7 pm, at Boswell.

The nationally renowned Bard Prison Initiative demonstrates how the liberal arts can alter the landscape inside prisons by expanding access to the transformative power of American higher education. American colleges and universities have made various efforts to provide prisoners with access to education. However, few of these outreach programs presume that incarcerated men and women can rise to the challenge of a truly rigorous college curriculum. The Bard Prison Initiative, however, is different. As this compelling new book reveals, BPI has fostered a remarkable transformation in the lives of thousands of prisoners.

College in Prison chronicles how, since 2001, Bard College has provided high-quality liberal arts education - with courses ranging from anthropology to Mandarin to advanced mathematics - to New York State prisoners who, upon release, have gone on to rewarding careers and elite graduate and professional programs. Yet this is more than just a story of exceptional individuals triumphing against the odds. It is a study in how institutions can be reimagined and reformed in order to give people from all walks of life a chance to enrich their minds and expand their opportunities.

Drawing upon fifteen years of experience as a director of and teacher within the Bard Prison Initiative, Daniel Karpowitz tells the story of BPI's development from a small pilot project to a nationwide network. At the same time, he recounts the educational histories of individual students, tracking both their intellectual progress and the many obstacles they must face. Analyzing the transformative encounter between two characteristically American institutions - the undergraduate college and the modern penitentiary - he makes a powerful case for why liberal arts education is still vital to the future of democracy in the United States.

About the Author: Daniel Karpowitz is the director of policy and academics for the Bard Prison Initiative and lecturer in law and the humanities at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He is the cofounder of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, an organization that launches and cultivates college-in-prison programs across the country, and he has also been a Soros Justice Fellow at the Open Society Institute, a fellow at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a Fulbright Fellow in Kathmandu, Nepal.

A ticketed event with Kate DiCamillo, author of

The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Oconomowoc’s Books & Company, and Milwaukee’s Boswell Book Company present a very special event with Kate DiCamillo, the author of many books for children, including Flora & Ulysses and The Tale of Despereaux, both of which received Newbery Medals.

Tickets are $22.00 and include admission to the event, all taxes and fees, and a copy of DiCamillo’s latest picture book, La La La. A signing will follow the talk. 

Kate DiCamillo is not just one of the most acclaimed children’s book authors writing today - she’s also one of the most beloved. Her events are incredibly popular and it’s hard to walk away from her presentations without being moved to tears. DiCamillo only does a handful of public speaking events in the United States each year. Boswell and our two partners are excited to be one of those select events, bringing fans the first metro Milwaukee event with DICamillo in five years.

In La La La, a little girl stands alone and sings, but hears no response. Gathering her courage and her curiosity, she skips farther out into the world, singing away to the trees and the pond and the reeds, but no song comes back to her. Day passes into night, and the girl dares to venture into the darkness toward the light of the moon, becoming more insistent in her singing, climbing as high as she can, but still there is silence in return. Dejected, she falls asleep on the ground, only to be awakened by an amazing sound. She has been heard, at last. With the simplest of narratives and the near absence of words, Kate DiCamillo conveys a lonely child’s yearning for someone who understands.

While an unlimited of La La La can be signed and personalized, attendees are limited to three backlist titles (from home or bought at the Wilson Center), one of which can be personalized. There is no gift card option for this event, but don't forget, La La La will make a great gift for the upcoming holiday season. Here's another link for tickets

About the Author: Kate DiCamillo is the beloved author of many books for children, including Flora & Ulysses and The Tale of Despereaux, both of which received Newbery Medals. Her other middle grade titles include The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Because of Winn-Dixie, and Raymie Nightingale. She is also the author of two chapter book series, one featuring Mercy Watson, and the other, in collaboration with Alison McGhee, starring Bink and Gollie. She is also the former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a First Stage production opening January 12.

Monday, October 30, 7 pm, at Boswell

In 1970s America, politicians began "getting tough" on drugs, crime, and welfare. These campaigns helped expand the nation's penal system, discredit welfare programs, and cast blame for the era's social upheaval on racialized deviants that the state was not accountable to serve or represent. Getting Tough sheds light on how this unprecedented growth of the penal system and the evisceration of the nation's welfare programs developed hand in hand. Julilly Kohler-Hausmann shows that these historical events were animated by struggles over how to interpret and respond to the inequality and disorder that crested during this period.

Getting Tough illuminates this narrative through three legislative cases: New York's adoption of the 1973 Rockefeller drug laws, Illinois's and California's attempts to reform welfare through criminalization and work mandates, and California's passing of a 1976 sentencing law that abandoned rehabilitation as an aim of incarceration. Spanning diverse institutions and weaving together the perspectives of opponents, supporters, and targets of punitive policies, Getting Tough offers new interpretations of dramatic transformations in the modern American state.

About the Author: Julilly Kohler-Hausmann is assistant professor of history at Cornell University.

Murder and Mayhem Preview Event with Stephen Mack Jones, author of August Snow  and Danny Gardner, author of A Negro and an Ofay
Friday, November 3, 7 pm, at Boswell

Crimespree magazine presents a Murder and Mayhem preview with Stephen Mack Jones and Danny Gardner. Join us at Boswell for a first chance to hear a sample of the Murder and Mayhem event!

Murder and Mayhem Milwaukee will be held on Saturday, November 4, from 9 am to 5 pm, at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave 53233. Tickets are $40, plus an extra $2.95 if you purchase them online. For more information and to register, please visit: http://www.murdermayhemmilwaukee.com/register-donate/

The Murder and Mayhem event will feature panels, interviews, and signings with these authors: James R Benn, Lou Berney, Chelsea Cain, Suzanna Calkins, Sean Chercover, Reed Farrel Coleman, Lori Rader-Day, Danny Gardner, Shaun Harris, Rob Hart, Matthew Fitzsimmons, Linda Joffe Hull, Stephen Mack Jones, Dave Krugler, SW Lauden, Kristen Lepionka, Bill Loehfelm, Nick Petrie, Thomas Pluck, Bryon Quertermous, Nathan Singer, F. Paul Wilson, and Lili Wright.

In August Snow, the son of an African-American father and a Mexican-American mother grows up in the city's Mexicantown and joins the police force only to be forced out by corrupt officials and officers. It's not long before he's summoned to the palatial Grosse Pointe Estate, home of business magnate Eleanore Paget. Powerful and manipulative, Paget wants August to investigate the increasingly unusual happenings at her private wealth management bank, which he declines. A day later, Paget is dead of an apparent suicide – dragging Snow into a rat’s nest of deception and danger.

The novel A Negro and an Ofay takes place in 1952. After a year on the run, disgraced Chicago Police Officer Elliot Caprice wakes up in a jailhouse in St. Louis. Friends from his hometown secure his release and he returns to find the family farm in foreclosure and the man who raised him dying in a flophouse. Desperate for money, he accepts a straight job as a process server and eventually crosses paths with a powerful family from Chicago's North Shore. A captain of industry is dead, the key to his estate disappeared with the chauffeur, and soon Elliot is in up to his neck. The mixed-race son of Illinois farm country must return to the Windy City with the Chicago Police on his heels and the Syndicate at his throat. Good thing he's had a lifetime of playing both sides against the middle.

About the Author: Stephen Mack Jones is a published poet, an award-winning playwright, and a recipient of the prestigious Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellowship. He was born in Lansing, Michigan, and currently lives in Farmington Hills, outside of Detroit. He worked in advertising and marketing communications for a number of years before turning to fiction. August Snow is his first novel.

About the Author: From his beginnings as a young stand-up comedian, Danny Gardner has enjoyed careers as an actor, director, and screenwriter. He is a recent Pushcart Prize nominee for his creative non-fiction piece Forever. His first short fiction piece, Labor Day, appeared in Beat to a Pulp, and his flash fiction has been featured in Out of the Gutter and on Noir On The Air. Gardner is a proud member of the Mystery Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers.

Dr. Lester L. Carter, author of Healing the Human Body with God’s Remedies
Sunday, November 5, 3 pm, at Boswell

The Milwaukee Times presents Dr. Lester L. Carter. The Milwaukee pharmacist has been a pillar in the community for years. Trusted for his knowledge of natural remedies and well known for his passion for pharmacology and traditional herbal medicine, his new book features preparations of treatments as well as most effective cures for some common ailments and effective longevity tips. Like a true pharmacist, he strongly suggests the necessity for physician intervention for major disorders.

About the Author: The owner of Carter Drug Store, 2400 W Burleigh Ave, for 47 years, Dr. Carter has become an advocate for natural remedies and has gained a well-earned reputation for being the local pharmacist to trust. Having graduated from the Creighton University School of Pharmacy, he was able to work his way up from soda fountain clerk to owner of one of two Black owned drug stores in Milwaukee.

Monday, November 6, 7 pm, at Turner Hall, 1034 N 4th St.

The Milwaukee Turners and Boswell Books are pleased to cosponsor the 2017 Frank P. Zeidler Memorial Lecture featuring Pulitzer Prize Winner Dr. Heather Thompson. Dr. Thompson is the author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising and its Legacy, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, was included on 13 Best Books of 2016 lists, and has been awarded both the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in history as well as the 2017 Bancroft Prize for history for its focus on the 1971 Attica Prison uprising.

On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilians hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions during the four long days and nights that followed.

On September 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed thirty-nine men--hostages as well as prisoners--and severely wounded more than one hundred others. In the ensuing hours, weeks, and months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. And, ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors and the families of the men who had been killed.

Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. Blood in the Water is the searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.

About the Author: Heather Ann Thompson is an award-winning historian at the University of Michigan. She is also the author of Whose Detroit?:Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City and the editor of Speaking Out: Activism and Protest in the 1960s and 1970s. She served on a National Academy of Sciences blue-ribbon panel that studied the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States and has given congressional staff briefings on the subject.

A ticketed Ozaukee Family Services lunch at Shully's, featuring J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Saints For All Occasions
Tuesday, November 7, 10 am, at Shully’s Watermark, 146 Green Bay Rd, Thiensville

Ozaukee Family Services presents an author brunch with J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Saints For All Occasions. The brunch will start at 10am with the author speaking at 11am. Tickets are $60 and include a program, lunch, and a signed copy of Saints For All Occasions. Tickets and registration are required for this event, please visit: ozaukeefamilyservices.org/events/2017-fall-luncheon-november-7/

Saints for All Occasions focuses on the relationship of Nora and Theresa Flynn. The two sisters are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she's shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn't sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan - a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children: John, a successful, if opportunistic, political consultant; Bridget, quietly preparing to have a baby with her girlfriend; Brian, at loose ends after a failed baseball career; and Patrick, Nora's favorite, the beautiful boy who gives her no end of heartache.

Estranged from her sister, Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. Until, after decades of silence, a sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago. A graceful, supremely moving novel from one of our most beloved writers, Saints for All Occasions explores the fascinating, funny, and sometimes achingly sad ways a secret at the heart of one family both breaks them and binds them together.

About the Author: J. Courtney Sullivan is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels The Engagements, Maine, and Commencement. Maine was named a 2011 Time magazine Best Book of the Year and a Washington Post Notable Book. She has contributed to The New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, Allure, Real Simple, and O: The Oprah Magazine, among many other publications.

Tuesday, November 7, 7 pm, at Boswell

In honor of Veterans Week, the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce and Dryhootch presents Veteran transition expert David Chrisinger, cosponsored by Boswell.

Because so few Americans have served in the military since 9/11 - or even know anyone who has - many look to the media for information about veterans and military service. Popular news outlets, however, traffic in tragedy and often paint those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan with one of three broad brushes: as superhuman; as broken, disabled, and traumatized; or as dangerous, ticking time bombs.

See Me for Who I Am aims to undermine these stereotypes. It brings together twenty young student veterans working to bridge the media-created gap that divides them from the American people they have fought to protect. With thoughtfulness, humor, and honesty, they relive and relate their worst memories, illustrate shared experiences, explain to us the fulfillment of combat, and show us what going to war really entails. For veterans, these voices will ring familiar. For civilians, the stories open a view into a world few ever see and, in the process, affirm our common humanity.

About the Author: David Chrisinger is an Associate Lecturer at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), where he teaches a veteran reintegration course, Back from the Front. He also assists college administrations and corporate employers to create and sustain more productive relationships with veterans. He is the Founder and Managing Editor of Stronger at the Broken Places, a website dedicated not only to raising awareness of the struggles and triumphs of American veterans throughout history, but to helping today's generation of student veterans tell their stories of war and coming home.

Thursday, November 9, 7 pm, at Boswell

The popular Madison based podcaster, Mike Duncan, will be joining us at Boswell to discuss his new book about the fall of the Roman Republic.

The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. Beginning as a small city-state in central Italy, Rome gradually expanded into a wider world filled with petty tyrants, barbarian chieftains, and despotic kings. Through the centuries, Rome's model of cooperative and participatory government remained remarkably durable and unmatched in the history of the ancient world.

In 146 BC, Rome finally emerged as the strongest power in the Mediterranean. But the very success of the Republic proved to be its undoing. The republican system was unable to cope with the vast empire Rome now ruled: rising economic inequality disrupted traditional ways of life, endemic social and ethnic prejudice led to clashes over citizenship and voting rights, and rampant corruption and ruthless ambition sparked violent political clashes that cracked the once indestructible foundations of the Republic.

Chronicling the years 146-78 BC, The Storm Before the Storm dives headlong into the first generation to face this treacherous new political environment. Abandoning the ancient principles of their forefathers, men like Marius, Sulla, and the Gracchi brothers set dangerous new precedents that would start the Republic on the road to destruction and provide a stark warning about what can happen to a civilization that has lost its way.

About the Author: Mike Duncan is one of the foremost history podcasters in the world. His award-winning series The History of Rome chronologically narrated the entire history of the Roman Empire over 189 weekly episodes. Duncan has continued this success with his ongoing series Revolutions - which so far has explored the English, American, French, and Haitian Revolutions. Duncan also collaborates with illustrator Jason Novak on informative cartoons that humorously explain the historical context for current events. Their work has been featured in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Awl, and Morning News.

Boswell presents a Gothic and Gumshoe event with Wendy Webb, author of The End of Temperance Dare and Matt Goldman, author of Gone to Dust
Saturday, November 11, 2 pm, at Boswell

The End of Temperance Dare is the story of Eleanor Harper. She becomes the director of a renowned artists' retreat, but she knows nothing of Cliffside Manor's dark past as a tuberculosis sanatorium, a "waiting room for death." After years of covering murder and violence as a crime reporter, Eleanor hopes that being around artists and writers in this new job will be a peaceful retreat for her as much as for them.

But from her first fog-filled moments on the manor's grounds, Eleanor is seized by a sense of impending doom and realizes there's more to the institution than its reputation of being a haven for creativity. After the arrival of the new fellows - including the intriguing, handsome photographer Richard Banks - she begins to suspect that her predecessor chose the group with a dangerous purpose in mind. As the chilling mysteries of Cliffside Manor unravel and the eerie sins of the past are exposed, Eleanor must fight to save the fellows - and herself - from sinister forces.

Gone to Dust is a sinister tale of a brutal crime and the ultimate cover-up. How do you solve a murder with no useable evidence?

Private detective Nils Shapiro is focused on forgetting his ex-wife and keeping warm during another Minneapolis winter when a former colleague, neighboring Edina Police Detective Anders Ellegaard, calls with the impossible. A woman’s body has been found, brutally murdered and covered in bags of vacuum bag dust to destroy all evidence. When Shapiro digs into the dead woman’s history, it not only leads to further mystery but also to the potential killer.

About the Author: Wendy Webb’s first novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, received the 2011 Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Her second and third novels, The Fate of Mercy Alban and The Vanishing, established her as a leading suspense novelist, who reviewers are calling the Queen of the Northern Gothic.

About the Author: Matt Goldman is a playwright and Emmy Award-winning television writer for Seinfeld, Ellen, and other shows. He brings his signature storytelling abilities to his debut novel Gone to Dust, which Lee Child called “A perfect blend of light touch and dark story - I want more of Nils Shapiro.”

Tuesday, November 14, 7 pm, at Boswell

The beloved memoirist and bestselling author of Population: 485 reflects on the lessons he's learned from his unlikely alter ego, French Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne.

"The journey began on a gurney," writes Michael Perry, describing the debilitating kidney stone that led him to discover the essays of Michel de Montaigne. Reading the philosopher in a manner he equates to chickens pecking at scraps--including those eye-blinking moments when the bird gobbles something too big to swallow - Perry attempts to learn what he can (good and bad) about himself as compared to a long-dead French nobleman who began speaking Latin at the age of two, went to college instead of kindergarten, worked for kings, and once had an audience with the Pope. Perry "matriculated as a barn-booted bumpkin who still marks a second-place finish in the sixth-grade spelling bee as an intellectual pinnacle . . . and once said hello to Merle Haggard on a golf cart."

Written in a spirit of exploration rather than declaration, Montaigne in Barn Boots is a down-to-earth (how do you pronounce that last name?) look into the ideas of a philosopher "ensconced in a castle tower overlooking his vineyard," channeled by a Midwestern American writing "in a room above the garage overlooking a disused pig pen." Whether grabbing an electrified fence, fighting fires, failing to fix a truck, or feeding chickens, Perry draws on each experience to explore subjects as diverse as faith, race, sex, aromatherapy, and Prince. But he also champions academics and aesthetics in a book that ultimately emerges as a sincere, unflinching look at the vital need to be a better person and citizen.

About the Author: Wisconsin native Michael Perry is a humorist, radio host, songwriter, and the New York Times bestselling author of several nonfiction books, including Visiting Tom and Population: 485, as well as a novel, The Jesus Cow. He lives in northern Wisconsin with his family and can be found online at www.sneezingcow.com.

Ticketed Event: Fill the Shelves with Alexander McCall Smith, author of The House of Unexpected Sisters
Thursday, November 16, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

Boswell and the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library announce a very special event with Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and other titles featuring Precious Ramotswe, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, 44 Scotland Street, and many other beloved titles. Tickets are $29, including admission to the event, all taxes and fees, and a copy of The House of Unexpected Sisters. $5 from each ticket to this event will be donated back to the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation.

Other surprises await our intrepid proprietress in the course of her inquiries. But with the generosity and good humor that guide all her endeavors, Mma Ramotswe will untangle these questions for herself and for her loved ones, ultimately bringing to light important truths about friendship and family - both the one you’re born with and the one you choose.

This event is the launch of the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Fill the Shelves program. Fill the Shelves is a wonderful way to donate a book into library circulation, complete with a bookplate indicating you as the donor. Purchase one of the selected titles at Boswell, featured from November 16 through the end of 2017, and we’ll handle the details. You’ll even get a donation acknowledgement from the Friends.

About the author: Scotland-based Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels and a number of other series and stand-alone books. His works have been translated into more than forty languages and have been best sellers

Check out a more complete listing of our upcoming events here.