University of Wisconsin Press colophon



University of Wisconsin Madison crest that links to main university site

Association of University Presses member logo that links to main AUPresses site



Catalog Archive / Fall 2019

Ed Garvey Unvarnished
Lessons from a Visionary Progressive
Foreword by David Maraniss

“An important reference for anyone concerned about the future of progressive politics. This book provides insight into the thinking and political evolution of a key leader.”
—Frank Emspak, School for Workers at the University of Wisconsin

Ed Garvey (1940–2017) was one of the most influential and colorful progressive politicians in Wisconsin’s history. Growing up in what was a conservative rural town, he got his first taste of liberal activism at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960s, became the first executive director of the National Football League Players’ Union, led two spirited campaigns against Bob Kasten and Tommy Thompson, and eventually cofounded the Fighting Bob Fest.

Shortly before he died, Garvey expressed his views on everything in a series of detailed, no-holds-barred interviews with journalist Rob Zaleski. In his trademark witty, blunt, and often abrasive style, he offered his impressions of the political climate, worries about the environment, and Act 10 protests on Capitol Square. Garvey’s candor during these conversations provides deeper insight into the personal highs and lows he experienced over his rich life. Diehard followers will fondly remember his energetic campaigns, but they may be surprised to learn of his long-simmering disappointment after those losses. Ever timely and meaningful, Garvey’s words offer a path for how the Democratic Party, both within Wisconsin and nationally, can regain its soul.


Author photo. Rob Zaleski is a freelance writer and award-winning columnist. He spent twenty-six years writing for The Capital Times in Madison.




“It’s a warm and candid portrait of the progressive lawyer and political candidate famous for his dry wit and verbal takedowns of those who didn’t see things as he did, which is to say, most Republicans.”
Madison Magazine

“Zaleski’s book lays out before us and one of the most colorful and influential icons in Wisconsin history.”
The Capital Times

“An unusual new biography of progressive activist Ed Garvey, written in a Q&A format by Madison journalist Rob Zaleski, is a clarion call for politicians to be fearless about speaking the truth, even to their own party.”
Milwaukee Magazine

“A longtime reporter for Madison’s The Capitol Times, Zaleski closely observed his subject for many years. . . . Zaleski acknowledges mistakes but finds a ‘kind, compassionate man and a fierce, uncompromising fighter for the have-nots.’ Few people who knew him would disagree.”
Shepherd Express

“Extensively researched, yet thoroughly accessible.”
Midwest Book Review

“It’s reinvigorating to hear again the piercing wit and urgent wisdom of Ed Garvey. Rob Zaleski’s book is a treasure not only for anyone who knew Ed but also for anyone concerned about democracy or Wisconsin politics.”
—Matthew Rothschild, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign



Download Cover: color | b/w

Download Author Photo: color | b/w

Request Review Copy

Request Exam Copy


Of Related Interest


Independence Corrupted
How America's Judges Make Their Decisions
Charles Benjamin Schudson


Keep the Wretches in Order
America’s Biggest Mass Trial, the Rise of the Justice Department, and the Fall of the IWW
Dean A. Strang

Ed Garvey Unvarnished: Cover showing a black and white photograph of Ed Garvey wearing a suit and tie giving a speech in front of a row of microphones. Behind him, a group of people can be seen, one of whom is holding a camera up to his face, taking a picture of Garvey, and behind them is a bunch of balloons.

Larger images

September 2019
LC: 2019008126 F
208 pp. 5.5 x 8.5
13 b/w photos

Book icon
Casebound $24.95 t
ISBN 9780299323707
Shopping cart

Review Cart