Shaking Hands with History: My Encounters with the Famous, the Infamous, and the Once-Famous but Now-Forgotten
Imagine discovering the locked diary of a long-ago prominent official who recorded in it his unvarnished stories of behind-the-scenes encounters with some of the most famous people of his generation: world leaders, explorers, iconic movie and sport stars-even two canonized saints. How badly would you want to locate that key? How hard would you look for it?
Your search is over.
In this, his fifth book, former Congressman James Rogan reminiscences about the greats, the near-greats, and the once-great but now forgotten people he has known. A sequel to Rogan's book And Then I Met... (2013), in Shaking Hands with History, he again throws open the covers of his private journals and photo albums to share with you more of his stories of private celebrity encounters. Each page pulls names from the headlines and the history books: boxing legend Muhammad Ali, President Ronald Reagan, first man on the Moon Neil Armstrong, Senator Ted Kennedy, astronaut John Glenn, baseball icon Hank Aaron, and many more. You'll experience everything from the firsthand accounts of people Rogan knew that rode with John F. Kennedy in his fatal 1963 Dallas motorcade to recollections from the heroes and villains of America's greatest political scandal-Watergate.
If you like your history straight and with no chaser as revealed through the intimate recollections of the famous by one who knew them, you've come to the right place.
"And Then I Met ..." is a collection of humorous, adventurous and sometimes poignant boyhood stories told by former Congressman James Rogan of doing everything possible, short of breaking the law, to meet and get advice from many famous politicians, athletes and entertainment figures he met as a kid growing up in San Francisco. Through Rogan's diaries and photos, you'll meet and get rare behind-the-scenes glimpses of people like Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Billy Graham, Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Hubert Humphrey, Barry Goldwater, Cary Grant, Willie Mays and dozens more. Rogan met everyone – from the last surviving witness of the massacre of General Custer to stars of Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. The stories and photographs brim over in this delightful compilation.
So my thanks to all of you, and now it's on to Chicago and let's win there.
--Senator Robert F. Kennedy, California Democratic Presidential Primary victory speech, June 5, 1968--moments before his assassination.
The 1968 election was and remains spellbinding. Unlike modern presidential campaigns, where a dozen or more unknowns vie for debate stage sound bites, that year nine titans battled for the presidency. Fifty years later, most people are unaware that in a single race former Vice President Richard Nixon, California Governor Ronald Reagan, President Lyndon Johnson, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Senator Eugene McCarthy, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, former Alabama Governor George Wallace, and Michigan Governor George Romney all squared off for the White House. The shocking assassination of Robert Kennedy on the night of his California primary victory left a gaping hole in history and for five decades left this unanswered question:
On to Chicago answers for history -- based on facts, not on idealized or romantic notions -- what likely would have happened if RFK had lived to go on to Chicago--the city that hosted the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention. On to Chicago is a heavily researched and sourced work that twists the arc of history with facts. It will appeal both to fiction lovers as well as pure history aficionados, because so much of it is true. With nearly one thousand online endnotes that confirm how much of this story mirrors reality, many revelations will surprise even the most dedicated history buffs.
The Notes is the companion guide to Rogan's epic 2018 book, On to Chicago: Rediscovering Robert F. Kennedy and the Lost Campaign of 1968, which was an alternative history of the iconic race that pitted against each other in a single campaign political giants Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Robert F. Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, George Wallace, and George Romney. Bring along your imagination while reading On to Chicago in combination with The Notes, and all three will transport you back to what was--and what would have been--the most epic battle in modern political history.
After keeping daily diaries and contemporaneous notes from his work as a prosecutor in the watershed Clinton presidential impeachment trial, Congressman Jim Rogan has opened this archive for both modern readers and for history by penning the ultimate insider's story on what led a very reluctant House of Representatives to impeach a then-very-popular American president.
From his first day on the House Judiciary Committee, Rogan knew if the scandal ever led to impeachment proceedings, future accounts would suffer from faulty memories or faulty motives. To combat the threat of factual or historical error, Rogan kept copious notes during every significant meeting relating to impeachment from his first day on the committee. He did this so there would be a complete and accurate historical chronicle – the best evidence – of what really happened behind the scenes in the unfolding drama.
This historically important archive is unmatched in its thoroughness and integrity.
"Rogan writes like a P.J. O’Rourke with a Capra-esque streak of political optimism... [a] hilarious, crowd-pleasing memoir[.]" - Publisher's Weekly
Jim Rogan was born to a single mother—a cocktail waitress who was later convicted of welfare fraud; his bartender-father abandoned them both before he was born. After a rough-and-tumble childhood in San Francisco's hardscrabble Mission District—where he was raised by his colorful extended family—he became a political junkie at the age of nine, and once received help with his homework from Harry Truman. But Rogan traveled with a tough circle of friends; after years of borderline delinquency he was expelled from high school, became a porn theater bouncer, and then a bartender at a strip joint and a Hell's Angels bar. Along the way, a young Arkansas politician advised him to study law and become a member of a different kind of bar.
In time Rogan scrapped his way through college and law school. He was appointed a Los Angeles County DA, prosecuting members of the notorious Crips and Bloods gangs; then became a judge, a state legislator, and finally a congressman from Southern California. And in 1998, as a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, he found himself prosecuting the impeachment of the President of the United States—Bill Clinton, the same Arkansas politician who advised him to go into law and politics two decades earlier.
Rough Edges is a rarity among Washington tales: full of outrageous stories, wild humor, pull-no-punches candor, and downright fun. Replete with character and characters, and told in Rogan's engaging and unswervingly frank voice, Rogan's story is certainly the most freewheeling—and perhaps the most honest—political memoir ever written.