In 1884 Republican James G. Blaine came within 1,047 votes of becoming the President of the United States. This was the margin by which he lost New York State—and thus the election—to Grover Cleveland in what has been called “the dirtiest campaign in American history.”
Yet his career—arguably the most sensational of any American politician of the so-called Gilded Age—did not end there. He was twice U.S. secretary of state, credited with having started our country on the path to acting like a world power, a powerful speaker of the house in Congress, and a United States senator from his adopted State of Maine.
He was also, in the eyes of his opponents, “The Continental Liar From the State of Maine” or “Slippery Jim”—a sort of “amiable Tricky Dick Nixon,” as he’s been later called.
He was hated by certain members of his own party, yet loved by millions of others, including some of his enemies in the Democratic Party. The press called him “The Magnetic Man,” due to his charisma, and another nickname was the “Plumed Knight.” Blaine and his wife, the former Harriet Stanwood of Augusta, knew most of the important Americans of the time—Lincoln, Harrison, Garfield, Carnegie, Roosevelt, and many others.
This is the fascinating biography of a man who dominated the American political stage, starting just before the Civil War and continuing almost until the twentieth century.
“Rolde does a masterful job portraying the best and worst of Republicans and Democrats in the Gilded Age, reinforcing the popular belief that politics is an ugly game played by mostly ugly people.”
—Bill Bushnell, Central Maine Newspapers
“A singularly fascinating biography of a shrewd, powerful, charismatic politician who dominated the American stage from just before the Civil War to nearly the turn of the century, Continental Liar from the State of Maine is a fascinating read from cover to cover, offering insights into political leadership, scandal, and backdoor dealing that are as applicable today as they were over a hundred years ago.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Rolde’s history of Blaine is both entertaining and comprehensive. His research is thorough, and the biography benefits from his careful handling of the information. . . . Rolde examines all the hot-button issues associated with Blaine, including his battles with New York Senator Roscoe Conkling, his friendships with the rich and famous, his use of influence, his foreign policy agenda, his handling of religious issues, and even his ability to tell a good joke and charm the ladies. Learning about Blaine has never been so entertaining and easy to digest.”
—Jim Emple, Bangor Daily News
“. . . Rolde serves it up with style and substance…. From start to finish, Rolde provides an eminently readable and informative study of a fascinating figure with excellent visuals.”
—William David Barry, Maine Sunday Telegram
About the Author:
In addition to his many publications, Neil Rolde is a long-time public servant, philanthropist, Renaissance man, and gentleman. The renowned Maine historian grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. He earned a BA at Yale and a Master’s in Journalism at Columbia University. He worked as a film scriptwriter before moving to Maine with his wife of fifty-three years, Carlotta Florsheim, to raise their family. In York they brought up four children and now enjoy family visits with their eight grandchildren.
The author has won book awards from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Humanities Council, and the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Most of Neil Rolde’s books involve the history of his beloved Maine and its people. With a wealth of historical knowledge about politics, the author has recently turned his skill and wit to blogging current political incidents in a historical context.
Rolde’s public service includes six years as assistant to Maine s Governor Kenneth M. Curtis and sixteen years as representative in the Maine State Legislature. He was the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1990. The author has served on many state boards and commissions, including the Maine Health Care Reform Commission, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the Maine Humanities Council, and the Maine Arts Commission.
Published by Tilbury House and now available at Polar Bear & Company
Continental Liar From the State of Maine: James G. Blaine, 384 pp, Quality Paperback, ISBN 978-0-88448-286-5
US $20 add $3 for shipping and handling in USA.
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