Tuesday, January 22, 2008

All For Maine: A Bite-Sized Review

All For Maine: The Story of Percival P. Baxter
By Liz Soares
(Windswept Publishers, 93 pages)

Liz Soares's biography of former Maine Governor Percival Proctor Baxter is a good introductory read to the Father of Baxter State Park. The book briefly touches on Governor Baxter's devotion to the humane treatment of animals (the Animal Refuge League's animal shelter here in Westbrook is named after Percy Baxter in honor of his instrumental role in the League's founding and funding) and his generous gifts to Maine. Soares focuses a bit on Baxter's donation of Mackworth Island to the state and the subsequent founding of the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf on that island, but most of the book (indeed, most of Baxter's life) was devoted to the governor's dogged (pun not intended, but welcomed) creation and preservation of the Baxter State Park, which includes Mount Katahdin.

This is not a dense book (it'll be re-located to the juvenile section once I return it to Warren Memorial Library), so if you're looking for a thorough examination of Percy Baxter's life, keep moving, nothing to see here. However, if you're looking for an easy primer or a book from which to pull some interesting factoids (did you know Governor Baxter ordered the flags of Maine to be flown at half-staff when his beloved dog, Garry, died?), this book is sufficient.

- John C.L. Morgan

P.S. Here are some links that'll satisfy that craving for Governor Baxter I just carved into the pit of your stomach with this sparkling review:

Animal Refuge League: here
Baxter House Museum: here
Baxter Memorial Library: here
Baxter State Park: here
Governor Baxter School for the Deaf: here

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