The book Maine at 200 by Tom Huntington, on the cover, says it is An anecdotal history celebrating two centuries of statehood. And it is that and lots more.
Tom’s stories are very interesting, as he digs deep into each historical event. Even when you know about an event, you will learn a lot from Tom’s account of that event.
In the introduction, Tom writes, “My goal here was to tell some interesting stories from each decade of Maine’s two centuries of statehood. Some of the stories are about native Mainers. Some are about people who came to Maine. Some are about people who affected the state; others are about people the state affected. All are like threads in a much larger and very colorful tapestry of Maine history.”
From Peter Brawn’s fight with a bear to Jonathan Cilley’s death in a duel, and Portland riots over rum to Louis Sockalexis impressive – and short – big league baseball career, these stories are very interesting.
The Portland riots over rum story, in the 1850’s, was one of my favorites. Tom writes, “Americans in the 19th century liked to drink. People had hard cider for breakfast, whiskey for lunch, and rum for dinner. Parents gave their children alcohol; farmers nursed sick horses with whiskey, and workers expected a dram or two to get through the day.” It must have been an interesting time to grow up!
I loved the stories about Margaret Chase Smith, Maine’s space travelers, the year Maine iced over, and the two elephants who made their way to Maine. Actually, I loved all of Tom’s stories, which he wrote to celebrate Maine’s 200th year as a state.
I raced through the book, so I’ll be reading it again soon. And I can guarantee, especially if you love Maine, you will really enjoy this book.