The place where artists and writers with Maine connections are showcased.

Posts from the ‘Books on Maine people’ category

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. Read more

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.


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    “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.

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    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. Read more