By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 24, 2014 at 5:04 AM

We’re headed toward the summer reading season and as you start to stack up prospective titles to bring with you to the beach, the campsite or your porch swing, here are a few books with roots in the Badger State.

Many have hoped local pastor and Civil Rights activist Joseph Ellwanger would put his life onto paper and he’s now done it.

"Strength for the Struggle: Insights from the Civil Rights Movement and Urban Ministry," is out now in paperback from Maven Mark Books, and available at local booksellers.

Ellwanger spent a decade leading an African-American congregation in Birmingham, Ala., before arriving in Milwaukee in 1967, at the height of racial tension here. He spent the next 34 years as pastor of Cross Lutheran, where a congregation that was 95 percent white at his start had transformed to 75 percent black by the time of his retirement.

And during those years, Ellwanger was active in the community. He’s seen a lot and he’s put it in the pages of this powerful and important memoir.

Also of local interest:

"Racine’s Horlick Field: Drums Along the Foundries," by Alan R. Karls. This new paperback from The History Press traces the history of sports and music in the friendly confines of Horlick Field -- named for the hometown inventor of malted milk -- in Racine.

Since 1919, Horlick Field has hosted NFL teams, women’s pro baseball team the Racine Belles, semi-professional, industrial-league and other games. But Karls really focuses on the drum and bugle corps that have filled the stadium with music for nearly a century.

His history is illustrated with photos and newspaper advertisements that make local history come alive.

"Banning DDT: How Citizen Activists in Wisconsin Led the Way," by Bill Berry. Cap Times columnist Berry traces the movement to ban DDT, which had been called a "miracle pesticide," but in reality had harmful effects.

Berry explains how activists in Wisconsin were at the forefront of the movement -- folks like bird-watchers and garden club members, alongside UW professors and U.S. senators.

The book is a reminder that we can all make a difference and it's everyone’s duty to stand up for what’s right.

Out now in paperback from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

"The Land Remembers: A Story of a Farm and Its People," by Ben Logan. This 1975 memoir of a farm on a hilltop in southwest Wisconsin is brought back in print by the University of Wisconsin Press with a new afterword by the author.

"Death Stalks Door County," by Patricia Skalka. Also from UW Press is a new  mystery set amid the summer vacationers on the Door Peninsula. The book is the first in a projected "Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries" series.

"Bingo Queens of Oneida: How Two Moms Started Tribal Gaming in Wisconsin," by Mike Hoeft. In this new book from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Hoeft -- a retired reporter and copy editor at the Green Bay Press-Gazette -- recounts the history of the Oneida from its alliance with the colonists during the American Revolution to today and weaves in the story of Sandra Ninham and Alma Webster, a pair of Oneida women whose idea to start a tribal bingo operation strengthened the community and had larger implications for Wisconsin.

And in case you missed these on their first recent go-rounds at

"Electa Quinney: Stockbridge Teacher," by Karyn Saemann
The latest installment in Wisconsin Historical Society Press' great series of biographies for young readers is the story of Electa Quinney, who in 1828 became the state's first public school teacher when she arrived at work in the log schoolhouse near what is today Kaukauna. Quinney was a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans and taught the children of her fellow tribe members as well as the children of local white settlers and missionaries. The book offers a glimpse into an interesting intersection of Native history, the settlement of Wisconsin, immigration and education, while also providing insight into the way of life among pioneers "out west."

"Hidden History of Milwaukee," by’s own Bobby Tanzilo, was discussed here

Coming soon:

"Studying Wisconsin: The Life of Increase Lapham," by Martha Berglund and Paul G. Hayes (Wisconsin Historical Society Press)