Home    Chicago History Course    Books    About Joe Oswald     Contact 





Books by Joe Oswald


The Homeowner's Guide to Contracting, Building, and Remodeling: Save a Fortune by Learning What Contractor's Don't Want you to Know

Save Money on Your Next Remodeling Project without Sacrificing Quality
#1 New Release in Amazon's Home Design and Construction Category for April 2021
 #3 on Bookauthority.org's list of the Seven Best Home Contracting Books of all Time (March,2022)



"Exceptionally well written, organized and presented... a comprehensive and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional guide and manual that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Home Design, Remodeling & Construction collections. Midwest Book Review


Please watch my interview on the nationally syndicated news and entertainment show the Daily Flash (11/8/21) and the book's video trailer below



JOE OSWALD from Daily Flash on Vimeo.


Click Here to Preview or Purchase on Amazon.  Available in Paperback and Kindle Formats

Click here to read an article that appeared in The Villager
Click here to read an article in the Chicago Tribune's Daily Southtown

Also Available at Barnes & Noble and Your Local Bookstore
Available for Bookstores and Libraries from Ingram Book Company

ISBN # 978-0-9709734-4-3
Copyright 2021, by Joe Oswald

Building or remodeling a home can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it can also be a stressful and daunting challenge. Organized to cover all the major phases of construction and renovation, this book is complete with over one hundred actual construction and renovation photographs, checklists, financing options, builder insights, industry secrets, design ideas, and other valuable information to help homeowners save a fortune while completing their project on time, within budget, and with less stress.

Whether building a new home or renovating an old home, with this book you will learn: how to avoid builder markups; how to control costs and avoid costly setbacks; how to finance your project; how to find and hire contractors; how to obtain estimates for materials and labor; how to work with an architect; how to apply for permits and work with inspectors; learn the practical uses and installation methods of many home improvement products; and most importantly, you will learn how to save money without sacrificing quality. This is not a book about how to be a professional contractor but how homeowners can learn more about the building process and how to save money by controlling their costs.


"It’s no surprise the addition’s newer masonry matches the original brickwork perfectly. Second-generation homeowner Joe Oswald is a remodeling expert and author of “The Homeowner’s Guide to Contracting, Building, and Remodeling.” He’s also a local historian. Cheryl Lockhart, a Beverly resident since 1998, had already purchased Oswald’s book. Touring Oswald’s home gave her the chance to see his advice put into practice. “When you see the craftsmanship here and the detail, you really become more interested in maintaining homes and preserving their history,” she said." Chicago Tribune Daily Southtown, 9/26/21


Click on the thumbnails to see some of the construction and renovation photos featured in the book

IMG_1776.JPG (3280470 bytes) Living room 1.jpg (193525 bytes) IMG_1702.JPG (2080566 bytes) IMG_1723.JPG (2784057 bytes) IMG_1859.JPG (2523775 bytes) IMG_1873.JPG (2435502 bytes) IMG_1908.JPG (2673751 bytes) IMG_0886.JPG (3281398 bytes) 

 breakfastroom2.jpg (111298 bytes) IMG_0897.JPG (4604868 bytes) downstairshall.jpg (202815 bytes) IMG_0884.JPG (3598619 bytes) upstairshallphoto.jpg (230081 bytes) IMG_0920.JPG (3929960 bytes) diningroom3.jpg (168885 bytes) IMG_2403.JPG (1206253 bytes) kitchen1.jpg (91795 bytes)

IMG_1970.JPG (1841091 bytes)  055.JPG (2205645 bytes) newbasement1.jpg (100993 bytes) New Tub Photo.jpg (179902 bytes) New Shower Photo1.jpg (210581 bytes) sinkphoto.jpg (119278 bytes) IMG_1991.JPG (2757663 bytes) Patio View 1.JPG (229742 bytes) garagephoto2.jpg (247393 bytes)

Screen Shot of Amazon New Release Ranking.jpg (142895 bytes) Amazon Rankins1.jpg (115673 bytes)















The History of Chicago's Beverly/Morgan Park Neighborhood




A glacier from the last ice age, Potawatomi Indians, fur traders, railroads, prominent architects, large historic homes, a real Irish castle, bitter annexation battles and the challenges of racial integration are all part of the history of this Southwest Side neighborhood known as "The Village in the City."  After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park community developed as a "country retreat" for Chicago's social and economic elite. Since then, the Ridge Historic District has become one the largest urban historic districts in the nation with over 120 historically and architecturally significant structures.  Located just 20 minutes from downtown and boasting of tree-lined streets, mansions sitting atop rolling hills, and the largest average home and lot sizes in the city, this community remains one of the highest socio-economic neighborhoods in the Chicagoland area. In fact, Beverly was recently ranked the third wealthiest neighborhood in Chicago in terms of median income. Despite the neighborhood's beautiful mansions and unique history, the community remains quietly tucked away in an area of the city many people are not familiar with, making it one of Chicago's best kept secrets.     

      Picture.jpg (218033 bytes)  Picture_001.jpg (213043 bytes)   

Click on a photo to see the full-size cover

Chicago's Beverly/Morgan Park
ISBN # 0-7385-3153-7
Copyright 2003, by Joe Oswald

Published by Arcadia Publishing as part of their Images of America series, this book is currently available at major bookstores throughout Chicago as well as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. 

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com.

Also Available at Barnes & Noble and Your Local Bookstore

























Vocabulary for Champions: Over 2,000 Words and Activities to Improve Your Reading, Writing, Speaking, Test-taking, and Resume-building Skills


A good vocabulary is the key to success in school and the professional world, especially in today’s competitive, fast-paced, global society. With study after study showing the correlation between an extensive vocabulary and higher socio-economic status, the need for a strong vocabulary has never been more important. With core subject-area vocabulary and advanced reading vocabulary, this book is perfect to prepare for school-based exams as well as the SAT,® ACT,® and GRE.® In addition, this book contains economics and personal finance vocabulary, resume-building vocabulary, Greek and Latin Roots, common Latin expressions, and commonly misused words. Written by a teacher with over twenty years of experience in teaching history, reading, writing, and standardized test prep, this book contains over 2,000 words and activities to help students, adults, and English language learners master important vocabulary. Whether it’s getting into a good college, landing that dream job, getting a promotion, or just being a more-informed person, Vocabulary for Champions can help you unlock your potential, give you an edge over the competition, and be a champion in whatever you set your sights upon.


                    "Expertly organized and presented... making it ideal for use with middle school students, high schoolers, and adults." Midwest Book Review

Here are quotes from BookLife's review of Vocabulary for Champions:

"Longtime teacher Oswald assembles a genuinely useful and enjoyable vocabulary-building guide."

"Teens and adults at all stages of life can benefit from this well-constructed workbook for learning mid-level English vocabulary."

"This breezy, fast-moving, guide can help anyone looking to build their word power."

"To avoid overwhelming the reader with heaps of words, Oswald builds in short quizzes at regular intervals, ensuring the lessons are absorbed and the reader can recognize words in context." 

"Oswald keeps the guide fresh with fun techniques such as crosswords puzzles and word searches."

"By the time the reader reaches the general vocabulary section, the rhythm created by Oswald's method makes it simple to approach new words..." 

"The finance section is especially useful, as Oswald digs into terms related to mortgages, assets, and savings plans, educating readers on basic financial literacy as well as vocabulary." 

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Threshold Publishing. LLC (October 6, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970973438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970973436
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 11 inches
  • Paperback Price: $19.95 

Available on Amazon.com and through Follett and IngramSpark distributors for schools, retailers, and other institutions 

Also Available at Barnes & Noble and Your Local Bookstore
Available for Bookstores and Libraries from Ingram Book Company

Click here to preview and purchase this book on Amazon.com

Click here to read a review of the book that appeared March 9, 2020 in Publishers Weekly's BookLife.com

Click here to read the full review from Midwest Book Review

Click here to watch a video tour of the book

Click here to read the March 23, 2020 press release

Click here to view the November 2019 press release for Vocabulary for Champions









A Teacher's Guide to United States History, Volume I: Reproducible Activities and Lesson for Teaching the Age of Exploration to the Progressive Movement



This book is intended for teachers of United States history and contains dozens of ready-to-use reproducible activities and lesson plans for teaching the Age of Exploration through the Progressive Movement. Written by a teacher, for teachers, the student-centered activities in this book are creative yet challenging, are classroom-tested, and represent years of teaching students of diverse ability levels. Teachers will find graphic organizers, quizzes, tests, writing assignments, cooperative learning activities, lecture notes, map activities, and project-based lessons. The lesson plans are detailed yet adaptable and are sure to save teachers countless hours developing lessons from scratch. Additionally, the activities in this book are aligned to the new Common Core Standards and Indicators for Literacy in the Social Sciences as well as the ACT-created College Readiness Standards.


Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Threshold Publishing (4 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097097342X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970973429
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.1 x 27.9 cm

Click here to purchase in paperback form Amazon.com.

Click here to download a digital copy for $18.95 from the Teachers Pay Teachers website.