Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Where to find signed books in coastal Maine, March 31 edition

More than a year into the pandemic I was realizing that I haven't set foot south of Portsmouth, New Hampshire since February 2020, despite having a book come out. But things are slowly loosening up as vaccinations increase and in the past week or two I've been able to sign books at a number of bookstores on the coast of Maine, where I live.

In support of local indie bookstores, I thought I'd advertise where those signed copies are right now. Proceeding from southwest to northeast....

[Update, 4/16/21: In Newington, N.H.'s Barnes & Noble as of today. (The trilogy, Lobster Coast, and Republic of Pirates.)]

In Portland: at Sherman's on Exchange Street (The American Nations trilogy and Lobster Coast) and Longfellow Books (all of them.)

In Freeport: at Sherman's. (The American Nations trilogy and Lobster Coast

In Brunswick: at Gulf of Maine Books. (Ditto)

In Augusta: at Barnes & Noble. (American Nations, Lobster Coast, Republic of Pirates, Union.)

[Update, 4/15/21: In Damariscotta at Sherman's (ditto).]

[Update, 4/30/21: In Camden at Owl & Turtle. (All save Ocean's End.)

In Belfast: at Left Bank Books. These copies:

In Bucksport: at BookStacks. (Union, American Nations, American Character.)

In Castine: at Compass Rose Books. These copies:

In Blue Hill: Blue Hill Books. These titles:

Bar Harbor: at Sherman's flagship store. This mountain of books:

Thanks for your support of your local bookstore, wherever you live.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

What's up with Jared Golden, the most successful Democrat in Trumpland?

Maine's second district U.S. Representative, Jared Golden, has been causing a lot of heartburn among fellow Democrats of late. He was the only member of the party not to vote for both the articles of impeachment against President Trump in December 2019, one of two to vote against enhanced background checks and the George Floyd police reform bill, and the sole dissenter on the recent Covid relief bill, which polling shows has overwhelming public support, including from a majority of Republicans. Add to that his opposition to reappointing Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker and his refusal to endorse Democratic nominee Sara Gideon in her ill-fated race against Sen. Susan Collins last year and a lot of them are unhappy.

Except Golden -- a Marine veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq who studied politics at Bates and worked as a Homeland Security committee staffer for Collins -- has done things few other Democrats can. In 2018 became the first person to defeat an incumbent in his district in 102 years, taking out a two-term Republican who sat on the campaign fund-generating banking committee. Last year he got over 30,000 Trump voters to back his reelection, helping him win a district by 6.3 percent that went for Trump by 7.4. His margin of victory is the highest of any House Democrat in a Trump district.

But what's his governing philosophy? Why does he vote the way he does? Does it work for his constituents? What's it mean for any future bid for statewide office? I sat down the Golden -- who is notoriously inaccessible to the press -- for two hours to answer those questions in this Maine Sunday Telegram profile, which also appeared in his hometown Sun Journal. Hope you find it useful.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Telling the pirates' story on Netflix's "Lost Pirate Kingdom"

Netflix's new historical docudrama story on the Caribbean pirates, "Lost Pirate Kingdom," came out Tuesday and is already a hit, standing at #3 of all titles on Netflix's US site, #4 for them in the UK and #1 in Denmark.

It essentially tells the story I revealed in my 2007 work of history The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and The Man Who Brought Them Down, and I appear throughout as one of their taking head experts. But the voice of the show is Derek Jacobi, appropriately enough, the actor who played the aging Duke of Windsor in The Crown, among other roles.

Hope you enjoy the six-episode series. For more on the real story of Blackbeard and his gang, do consider the book, which is also available in UK and Danish editions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The Year of Living Distantly

We're one year into the global pandemic and I, at least, feel my heart rate increase when I think back to those scary days in late March and early April 2020 when nobody knew for sure what was going to happen next. Thankfully it appears clear we're at the beginning of the end, and we didn't end up living in The Road.

Among Americans, we Mainers have gotten off lightly, but it's still be a wrenching experience that will transform society. So for the anniversary of the pandemic I took stock in how the pandemic effected and changed different sectors of life, from the elderly who paid the most terrible price to schools, restaurants, hospitals, and the performing arts. You can read it all in this week's Maine Sunday Telegram, or online here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Speaking on Maine's past, present and future at Maine Historical Society, Mar. 11

The pandemic messed with Maine's 200th anniversary celebrations last year, but the Maine Historical Society has rebooted their Bicentennial speaker series this winter and made it virtual. I'm pleased to be able to be their final speaker, offering my take on what the two centuries before and since statehood have meant for Maine and its people.

The event -- a conversation between MeHS executive director Steve Bromage and myself -- kicks off at 6pm on March 11. It's free to members -- though there's a limit of 500 attendees -- but you do need to register ahead of time. You can also become a member, of course, and enjoy the various other perks of doing so. (I've been one since I returned to Maine in 2003 while finishing work on my book on our state's history, The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier.

For more on Maine's deep backstory, consider the book or my 2020 Press Herald series "Colony." I also wrote a bit about what his all means for the Boston Globe Opinion section.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Talking pirates on a forthcoming Netflix series

A few months before the pandemic struck I travelled to a Manhattan studio to film an hours-long interview with a British production company working on a documentary-drama on the Bahamas-based pirate gang who are the subject of one of works of history, The Republic of Pirates.

I'm pleased to see that that series, for Netflix, is being released March 15th and is entitled "Lost Pirate Kingdom." Based on the trailer it should be a hoot.

If you find yourself hankering for more of Blackbeard and his gang's story, do consider checking out the book. And either way enjoy the show.

[Update, 3/15/21: Episode 1 out now.]

Monday, March 1, 2021

United States' myth of nationhood is all-important, but it carries a curse

The United States needs its national myth of shared nationhood more than most countries because it's almost the only thing that has held our rival regional cultures together. But, as I revealed in my latest book, Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood, our civic national myth about being bonded together by fealty to shared ideals has always been contested -- and for decades defeated by -- a rival, ethno-nationalist vision.

I unpack all this in the context of the ongoing crisis exemplified by the attempted ethnonationalist coup on January 6th in this essay for Zocalo Public Square and Smithsonian Magazine, including some advice on how to save the federation and the republic. I hope you enjoy.