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Have you ever wanted to learn more about Chicago history but never had time to take a college class?

If so, please check out my self-paced, online, on-demand Chicago history course on Udemy



Featuring sixteen hours of pre-recorded PowerPoint lectures and over 100 historical images.









Save Money on Your Next Remodeling Project without Sacrificing Quality

#1 New Release in Amazon's Home Design and Construction Category

 #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... 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.








Read an article that appeared in The Villager

Read an article in the Chicago Tribune's Daily Southtown

Preview or purchase on Amazon. Available in paperback and Kindle formats








"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



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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.







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










A Vocabulary Workbook for Students and Young Adults

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



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








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


  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Threshold Publishing (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 








With study after study showing the correlation between an extensive vocabulary and higher socio-economic status and income levels (see studies I cited in my article that appeared in Christian School Products newsletter), the need for a strong vocabulary in our fast-paced, competitive, and global society has never been more important. 



As I point out in the studies I cite in the book's opening pages, students from a lower socio-economic status score years below their peers who are from a higher socio-economic status due to the their lack of exposure to advanced vocabulary. This problem, however, is no longer confined to just children of lower socio-economic status. As the studies I cited point out, reading has been on the decline across the socio-economic spectrum for decades. People from all walks of life just are not reading as much and are not being exposed to higher forms of vocabulary. This lack of reading and emphasis on vocabulary has been exacerbated by social media and other forms of electronic communication. Social media has also blurred the line between what is socially and professionally acceptable. Many young adults I have met are not able to articulate themselves on college or job applications or on interviews well enough to be considered for employment. To make matters worse, reading and vocabulary are often just not taught in schools beyond the elementary grades. It seems as if what used to pass as mid-level English vocabulary is now more advanced vocabulary for many people.  If someone talks and writes like they are uneducated and if they cannot access basic information in a newspaper, textbook, or work manual, their prospects for a successful career are limited. Inside and outside of education, many of my accomplishments just would not have been possible without strong academic skills and a command of the English language, both of which are based on having an extensive vocabulary. The words in this book were chosen based on over twenty years of teaching and other professional experience that witnessed the types of words adults and students struggle with in a variety of settings. The first-hand knowledge of the importance of a strong vocabulary and the proven correlation between an extensive vocabulary and higher socio-economic status inspired me to write this book to help others unlock their academic, personal, and professional potential. 



After teaching high school in the Chicago Public Schools for over twenty years and spending countless hours preparing students for standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT, I truly believe a good vocabulary is the key to success in school and the employment world. I have taught countless students who get blown out of the water on these tests because they lack the reading and vocabulary skills to even understand many of the questions on these tests let alone the complex reading passages they see on these exams. This is especially true for special needs students and English language learners.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at joe@joeoswald.com.





























































































Read a review that appeared March 9, 2020 in Publishers Weekly's BookLife.com


The review is listed below the book's description. The review appeared in the March 9th print issue of Publishers Weekly. 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." 



Read the full review from Midwest Book Review

Read an article I wrote about vocabulary that appeared in Christian School Products newsletter 

Watch a video tour of the book

Preview and purchase this book on Amazon.com

Read the March 23, 2020 press release

Read the November 2019 press release





● Prepare for the SAT,® ACT,® and GRE®

● Improve reading, writing, speaking, test-taking

● Core subject-area vocabulary

● Economics and personal finance vocabulary

●Resume-building vocabulary

●Greek and Latin roots

●Common Latin expressions

●Commonly misused words

●Great for English language learners

●Complete with quizzes and word puzzles

●Distinguish yourself and outshine the competition

●Recommended for 6th-12th grades and beyond


Chicago's Historic Beverly/Morgan Park Neighborhood. Published by Arcadia Publishing as part of their Images of America series and featured on Channel 11's Chicago Tonight television show and WBEZ radio, this book is available at bookstores throughout Chicago, including Barnes & Noble. Also available on Amazon.com.




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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. 

Click on a thumbnail photo to see the full-size cover

Purchase from Amazon.com

Also Available at Your Local Bookstore

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













Copyright © 2021 Joe Oswald