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U.S. Chief Justice Melville Fuller in His Times, 1888–1910

,  6″ x 9″
466 pages with b/w photographs
ISBN 978-1-63381-370-0

,  6″ x 9″
466 pages with b/w photographs
ISBN 978-1-63381-369-4

by Douglas Rooks

Melville Fuller, among the most prominent Maine natives of his day, is little known today. This groundbreaking biography, the first in 70 years, restores him to his rightful place amid one of the most turbulent, dynamic eras of American history, not stinting his flaws, but highlighting his considerable accomplishments in uniting a fractious Supreme Court behind his patient and steady leadership.

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 Members of Maine’s judiciary requested removal of the statue of U.S. Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller from the Augusta Courthouse grounds in 2020. Before doing so they could have profitably considered the full historical record, thoroughly examined in Douglas Rooks’s comprehensive and balanced new biography of Maine’s most prominent jurist. Rooks admirably assesses the man and his times during a challenging period of our national history.

—Daniel Wathen, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court, 1992–2001

Renowned Maine columnist Douglas Rooks has given us a great book on a frequently misunderstood public figure, Melville Fuller. Those looking for a balanced perspective for the long-time Chief Justice will find it here. Whether striking a blow for the rights of those in newly acquired American territories or for those on death row, the far-sighted vision of this Maine native is well worth the second look that Rooks provides.

—Paul Mills, Farmington attorney and widely recognized Maine historian


Douglas Rooks, a lifelong journalist, has been an editor at three Maine and New Hampshire daily and weekly newspapers, and an opinion columnist for more than 40 years. His three previous books are Statesman: George Mitchell and the Art of the Possible; Rise, Decline and Renewal: The Democratic Party in Maine; and First Franco: Albert Beliveau in Law, Politics, and Love.

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