Janesville, Up Close and Personal in New Book

With a cast of colorful – and real – characters, including Paul Ryan.

From the first line (“At 7:07 a.m., the last Tahoe reaches the end of the assembly line.”), Janesville: An American Story (by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post staff writer Amy Goldstein) reads like a novel, unspooling the effects of the Janesville GM Assembly Plant closure in 2008. There’s the job-center director, union guys, Paul Ryan and teen daughters of laid-off workers as colorful – and real – characters.

What inspired you about the people of Janesville?

Goldstein: Since thousands of jobs vanished from town, workers and community leaders have been resourceful. Many who’d thought their GM jobs would last until retirement will never get back to $28 an hour, but they are trying hard.

What do most people not know about Paul Ryan?

Goldstein: He has called running for vice president in 2012 “kind of like you get stuffed into a cannon and shot out into the country.” His favorite supper club is the Buckhorn in Milton.

‘Janesville, Up Close’ appears in the May 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning May 1, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

Be the first to get every new issue. Subscribe.



A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.