Maine books on politics and people

Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician, by Neil Rolde

Neil Rolde's Political Tales

“If you’ve ever served in a state legislature, lobbied one, or just read about their activities in the newspaper and wondered what goes on behind the scenes, you’ll love this book! From page one I couldn’t put it down and I loved every word of Neil’s stories crafted from ‘behind the scenes’ in the Maine legislature,” wrote Congresswoman Chellie Pingree in the book. “The characters may be fictional, but thanks to Neil’s insights and knowledge, coupled with his wonderful writing style, they all came to life.”

  • On April 3rd at 6pm Neil will speak about Political Tales and answer questions during this first book signing at Sherman’s, 49 Exchange Street.
  • On April 21st at 6pm Neil will hold another book event reading/signing at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, just down the road from the Capitol.
  • Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician is published by Maine’s Polar Bear & Company.

    Please click on the image to learn more about these upcoming book signings and future ones.


    neil p
    “The personal element is stronger in the affairs of legislative bodies than of any other branch of government, but it is a hard thing to convey in straight reporting. The public understanding of the legislative process is poorer as a result. As an experienced and influential legislator, with a great gift for storytelling, Neil Rolde is the ideal person to remedy this defect, and this volume of Political Tales delivers on that promise,” wrote U.S. House of Representative Barney Frank in the book. “The stories are educational and entertaining in equal measure, and people who read them will be better prepared to understand what goes on when legislators meet and transact important public business.”

    The tales can transport the reader into what the working lives of some lawmakers must be like as they are true to reality.

    “The short stories are fictional, to be sure, but they incorporate almost a quarter of a century working directly in State government and even more years involved in the politics of Maine. They bear out my extensive experience of the political scene from the inside, not as expressed by opinionated media nor by the average person seeing things from outside,” said Rolde.

    Neil Rolde, photo by Ramona du Houx

    Neil Rolde, photo by Ramona du Houx

    Mr. Rolde’s many years of public service include being an assistant to Governor Kenneth M. Curtis of Maine for six years and 16 years as an elected Representative in the Maine Legislature. He represented his district of York, Maine and became Majority Leader of the Maine House during the 107th legislature from 1975-77. He became the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1990 in an election bid against Bill Cohen.

    “The stories were engaging – reminding an insider of the ‘old days,’ and giving an outside observer a good sense of what truly goes on behind the scenes. It certainly brought me back to the days when I was sitting in one of those leather chairs, hearing the gavel come down and wondering what was about to happen next!” added Pingree.

    Anyone reading the stories should gain respect for our lawmakers and will be surprised by Rolde’s candid style.

    “They illustrate that our governments are made up of human beings – and in Maine at least, doing their level best to deal with the needs of the population at the lowest possible cost. It was said that we Maine legislators worked for a salary of three cents an hour,” said Rolde.

    One has to ask which stories reflect Neil’s own experiences?

    “All of them and none of them,” said Rolde. “They are fiction. Some contain actual events in which I participated but in different settings and circumstances. I have tried to cover the complexities of the two different positions I held in Augusta, first the administrative side working for the Governor in the Executive Department and then the legislative side as an elected State Representative. Also included are boards, commissions and non-profits, many on which I served, that help form the matrix of stability in the U.S. There are even references to Washington, D.C. and how it can and does interact with the States.”

    Rolde’s books are extensively researched and most involve the history of Maine and its people. The plight of Native Americans has been a reoccurring theme in Rolde’s life since his childhood and he helped Maine’s tribes while he worked in the Curtis administration. These experiences led him to write one of Maine’s definitive historic books: Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians.

    Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician also show us Neil’s wealth of knowledge, humor and wit.

    “All of this is part of the American political scene. Bashing the leaders we elect goes back to President George Washington, even though he was elected unanimously. Mud slinging is as American as apple pie,” said Rolde. “I once had a fantasy of introducing a bill requiring every American to serve at least one term in a government body. That might add a sense of reality and humanity to our governance. Alas, it is ‘an idea whose time hasn’t and will never come.’”

    Rolde has won awards for his books from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Maine Humanities Council.

    Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician is Neil’s second fictional work.

    ——————————————————————————————————

    On Point: Voices and Values of the Young Elected Officials

    “In a time where slogans of a few words capture a position, and controversy swirls with each news cycle, On Point offers refreshing and timely insights from a new generation of young elected officials in the eternal struggle to build a more perfect union,” wrote Senator George J. Mitchell in his introduction to On Point: Voices and Values of the Young Elected Officials, by Jeff L. Thigpen.

    The author had that point in mind when he decided to write the book.

    “I wrote On Point because there’s an emerging group of principled leaders shaping a new era in American politics. It’s time we know them and why they were inspired to run for elected office, and how they are meeting the challenges of this time in history. Most importantly, it is time we hear their stories,” said Thigpen.

    Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx was one of only seven state lawmakers chosen for the book, containing unique National profiles of sixteen young elected officials. Rep. Cornell du Houx is in his second term as a legislator representing Brunswick, District 66. He was a former Marine who served in Iraq and is currently a public affairs officer in the Navy Reserve. He worked for the Truman National Security Project in Washington, DC on national security and energy issues.

    “My work with the Truman National Security Project included focusing on educating members of Congress and other elected officials on why to take this issue just as seriously as our military is,” said Cornell du Houx in the book.

    While he worked for the Truman Project, he brought veterans of all wars together to form a coalition called Operation Free, whose mission is to strengthen our security by reducing our dependence on oil. He organized and took part in press events at the White House about the issue. In each state, he recruited and trained future leaders, elected officials, their staff, nonprofits, and others involved in national security. He went on national bus tours with Operation Free, raising awareness with each veteran’s personal story as to how America’s dependency on foreign oil is a national security threat. The bus came to Maine in 2009.

    “Alex’s personal story exudes a profound sense of duty, honor, and service to country — as an officer in the Navy, community leader, and in the Maine State Legislature. Those unique values have shaped his advocacy work for veterans, renewable energy, and energy independence,” said the author of On Point, Jeff Thigpen.

    Thigpen has received praise for choosing to write a book highlighting young officials at this time.

    “Conventional wisdom says that Washington, DC is usually wrong about 95 percent of the time — give or take 5 percent. On Point gives us fresh faces and new voices in progressive leadership working to get it right. They are problem solvers, in touch with peoples’ lives and figuring out solutions that will work today. America’s future is now, and these young leaders have the values and courage to make a difference,” said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners.

    Some of the personal stories remind the reader of America’s civil rights struggle and makes one thankful for the work these young officials are doing, including the author, Jeff Thigpen, who was recently on The Rachael Maddow Show. As a county register of deeds in North Carolina, he is pressing for a review of the lawsuits and investigations by state attorneys general and others into MERS, who are reportedly involved in 60 percent of US mortgage loans. He believes it will take a coordinated effort at the local, state and federal level to recover loss of funds at Registers of Deeds in counties nationwide, as well as for homeowners.

    “This is a mess and the MERS system impacts millions of homeowners across the country in danger of having their homes foreclosed,” said Thigpen. “To me these issues with MERS are simple. Are major banking conglomerates going to tell the truth or not; and are we going choose to have two standards of justice in America: one for Big Money and the other for the rest of us?

    O. Max Gardner III is nationally recognized as a successful consumer bankruptcy attorney. His quote appears on the back cover saying, “The young politicians profiled in this book give me hope for the future. Jeff in particular has been working to uphold the rule of law, even if it means putting the powerful financial industry’s feet to the fire.”

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Jeff Thigpen

    Jeff Thigpen

    Jeff Thigpen grew up in a small farming community in southeastern North Carolina. At age twenty-seven, he was elected the youngest county commissioner in North Carolina and the youngest ever in Guilford County. He has served with distinction in elected office for fourteen years and is currently the Guilford County register of deeds. As in his writing, the author demonstrates that strong leadership in the 21st century needs boldness and courage, good humor, and pragmatism to leave our neighborhoods better than we found them. Jeff received a BA in political science, and in justice & policy studies from Guilford College and an MA in public affairs from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and he is a graduate of the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership. He has received several awards, including the Tyre Tyler Outstanding Young Democrat in North Carolina, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from UNC-Greensboro, and the North Carolina Association of County Commissioner’s (NCACC) Local Government Federal Credit Union Productivity award for creating efficiencies in county government. He is also a member of the Young Elected Officials Network. He lives in Greensboro with his wife, Michelle, an elementary school principal, and their two children, Elle (8) and Aiden (4).

    To order:

    On Point: Voices and Values of the Young Elected Officials, 164pp, Quality Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-882190-11-9
    Published by Polar Bear & Company US $13.95 add $3 for shipping and handling in USA.

    Order saying you saw this write up on Insights and deduct $5 from your total.

    Please send check or money order to Polar Bear & Company, PO Box 311, Solon, Maine, 04979. Or call 207.643.2795
    —————————————————————-
    Continental Liar From the State of Maine
    continental-liar-from-the-state-of-maineIn 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

    To order:

    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.

    Order saying you saw this write up on Insights and deduct $5 from your total.

    Please send check or money order to Polar Bear and Company, PO Box 311, Solon, Maine, 04979. Or call 207.643.2795
    —————————————————————-

    Maine In the World: Stories of Some of Those from Here Who Went Away

    by Neil Rolde

    From its earliest beginnings, the land that became Maine produced adventurous inhabitants who went outside its boundaries to do interesting things that sometimes made them famous or even infamous.

    The inspiration for this book came from the tiny Pacific island of Kosrae in Micronesia, where Brewer native and Bangor Theological Seminary graduate the Reverend Galen Snow converted all of the natives to Christianity, and Portlander Harry Skillins left a record as a vicious pirate and who sired a line of descendants by native women.

    Others in these twenty chapters are far better known, such as poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Pulitzer Prize winner Edna St. Vincent Millay, opera singer Lillian Nordica, and Hollywood movie director John Ford. But whether it is Woolwich’s Sir William Phips, the wilderness shepherd boy who went to sea and found a Spanish treasure and was knighted by the king of England, or Brunswick’s Asa Simpson, the forty-niner who built a lumber and shipping empire in Oregon, or John Frank Stevens of West Bath, the noted engineer who made the Panama Canal possible, or Franklin County’s Mark Walker, a 1930’s radical during the Great Depression, these stories, varied as they are, provide a continuous range of Mainers’ contributions to the world at large.

    Told chronologically from the time of pre-history Indians in Maine, they end in the present with a look at our current connections overseas and at several Maine women who have dedicated their lives to helping the poor in Central and South America.

    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

    To order:

    Maine In the World: Stories of Some of Those from Here Who Went Away, 384 pp, Quality Paperback, ISBN 978-0-88448-320-5
    US $20 add $3 for shipping and handling in USA.

    Please send check or money order to Polar Bear and Company, PO Box 311, Solon, Maine, 04979. Or call 207.643.2795

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