Media Coverage

WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio: Lake Effect
Legacy Letter

Oct. 12, 2011
Mitch Teich

A new project seeks to help people's personal wisdom live on for the ages. In Milwaukee Buzz
Dobkin captures the Soul of a Port

Feb. 27, 2012
By Bobby Tanzilo, Managing Editor

As the saying goes, there are eight million stories in the naked city. Milwaukee author Leah Dobkin tells some of them in her new book, Soul of a Port, ...

Leah Dobkin Captures 'Soul of a Port': Local author to discuss lively, well-researched work at Next Chapter Bookshop
Shepherd Express, January 19, 2011
By Jenni Herrick

Monday, January 10, 2011

Every day a sea of Milwaukeeans passes by the 2300 block of South Lincoln Memorial Drive, the site of the Port of Milwaukee, but few city residents are aware of its rich history or its bustling modern-day functions and importance to the city. Local writer Leah Dobkin has invested years in researching the port and illustrates her findings in a new book, Soul of a Port: The History and Evolution of the Port of Milwaukee.A story that began as an article for Milwaukee Magazine, this full-length work details the port's bygone times as well as the monumental impact it continues to have on the vitality of Milwaukee, including its positive economic benefits for thousands of local workers and local businesses.

Dobkin, a Shorewood resident who has lived close to Lake Michigan for many years, provides readers with more than a mere account of the port's construction; her writing creates vivid portraits of the individuals who have given the port its legacy. Dobkin's vast knowledge of the Port of Milwaukee and her detailed descriptions of the local shipping industry of both today and yesteryear make Soul of a Port an engaging and enthralling chronicle that will captivate Milwaukeeans and non-residents alike.

Spotlight on Port of Milwaukee
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 12, 2010

Express, December 12, 2010
Soul of a Port: The History and Evolution of the Port of Milwaukee (The History Press), by Leah Dobkin
By David Luhrssen

For some Milwaukeeans, the Port of Milwaukee isn't much more than an exit sign on the Hoan Bridge. But as Leah Dobkin writes in Soul of a Port, our city's harbor is integral to Milwaukee's past and is a success story in the present day-a model for public enterprise. The Port of Milwaukee is publicly owned, a legacy of the city's socialism, but operates in tandem with private concerns. The Port has prospered in recent years through smart marketing and imaginative leadership. Aside from looking behind the walls into the harbor's operations, Soul of a Port collects stories of schooners and shipwrecks and the Art Deco car ferries that once steamed across the lake.

Leah Dobkin

Milwaukee Port History Reveals, "Soul of a Port"
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 10:02AM

Great Lakes-Seaway News doesn't feature a lot of book reviews. This is true for two reasons. First, there are few books written about the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry. Second, most such books are so badly done that it is an excruciating experience to try to read them. A case of nearly incurable insomnia would be the only reason to pick up most books about the shipping industry or the transportation industry in general.

So it is a noteworthy event when a truly excellent and interesting book is released about the history of a port and the city it serves. Even better, the book to which we refer is about one of the truly great, Great Lakes ports and the role it has played and contines to play in life of the City of Milwaukee, WI.

Soul of a Port, The History and Evolution of the Port of Milwaukee, is author Leah Dobkin's excellent new book about the Port of Milwaukee. The book provides not only a definitive, well-researched and well-written history of the port, but also shows how the port continues to play a vital role in the life of the city and all of southeastern Wisconsin. Beyond that, the book is something of a personal love letter to the port and the people who played a role in making the port and the city what they are today.

Most port histories offer chronologies of trade and development with lots of names and dates but few real stories to grab the reader's interest. Dobkin's portrait of the Port of Milwaukee is brought to life by the character of the people who have worked at the port or done business there. She includes the thoughts and stories and even the poetry of the people who make the port operate on a daily basis. It is this personal aspect of life at the Port of Milwaukee that Dobkin brings into sharp focus. Fittingly, it is the personal character of the Port of Milwaukee that has made it such a success story over the years.

Soul of a Port, The History and Evolution of the Port of Milwaukee, is available at We would never presume to step on Oprah's toes, but Leah Dobkin's book would definitely be a choice of the Great Lakes-Seaway News Book Club.

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