Madison authors, topics, book events and publishers.
Guest host George Dreckmann welcomes Stu Levitan to discuss his book Madison in the Sixties, from the very good people at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.
The Monona Terrace auditorium designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Civil rights. Urban Renewal. Antiwar protests. The University of Wisconsin. Five issues in those ten years that changed Madison forever.
Documenting those issues, along with stories of the public schools, highways and transportation, law and disorder, planning and economic development, and other topics, is the business that occupies Stu Levitan in this first comprehensive account of the most famous decade in our history.
Stu did not spend the sixties in Madison. He first passed through Madison on the Grateful Dead tour in early 1973, then came for good in August, 1975. But still, he is uniquely qualified to write about them. As a newspaper reporter for the Capital Times and then the Madison Press Connection in the mid-late seventies, he covered many of the issues and individuals from the sixties. As a county supervisor representing a downtown district in the early to late eighties, he dealt with the legacy of the actions and decisions from then. And as a longtime member and chair of several city commissions, including the Plan Commission and Community Development Authority, he knows what it’s like to make those kind of decisions.
After the Madison Press Connection folded in 1980, Stu went to work for the legislature’s powerful Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules. In 1983, he finally gave in to his father’s expectations and went to law school, then in 1987 quit the county board to accept a job as a mediator/arbitrator for the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, implementing the collective bargaining law that Scott Walker destroyed. That’s when he retired and got serious about the book, which was published in November, 2018.
In addition to being the host/producer of Madison Book Beat for its first two years, Stu does the weekly Madison in the Sixties feature on the WORT Wednesday nights news, for which he has received 2 first place awards for writing in the past three years from the Milwaukee Press Club. He has also written extensively for local and national publications, including Isthmus, Madison Magazine and High Times. And he will insist that Bob Dylan is the greatest singer-songwriter since Homer.
It is a pleasure to welcome to Madison BookBeat its founder, Stu Levitan.