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Looking for a lively history of Maine? This might be it

“It’s like a box set with a few hit songs, but also B-sides, demos, and rarities”

PORTLAND, Maine — When Tom Huntington sat down to write a history of Maine to be published in its bicentennial year, he knew what it would not be. He had no intention of creating a comprehensive account of the state’s economic, political and cultural story that would range across hundreds of years.

“When Louis Clinton Hatch oversaw a history of Maine a century ago,” Huntington writes, “he and his editors filled up four fat volumes.” In his new volume called “Maine at 200,” Huntington takes a more anecdotal approach. Looking at the state’s history by decade, he starts in the 1820s and proceeds to the present, covering whatever struck him as interesting, from rum riots to log drives, astronauts to terrorists.

The result, he acknowledges, isn’t “Maine’s Greatest Hits. Instead, look at it as more like a box set with a few hit songs, but also B-sides, demos, and rarities.”

We talked to Huntington about some of the memorable people and events he profiles in the book. Check out our conversation to learn more about a few “threads in a much larger and very colorful tapestry of Maine history.”