Veteran Maine journalist and columnist Douglas Rooks will read from his biography, “Statesman: George Mitchell and the Art of the Possible,” just published by Down East Books Rowman & Littlefield, Tuesday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m. at Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St.

The first full-length account of the life and career of one of Maine’s most notable citizens, and a public figure of national and international standing, “Statesman” traces Mitchell’s path from his humble beginnings in Waterville, one of five children of an Irish-American laborer orphaned at birth, and that of his wife, an immigrant to Waterville’s close-knit Lebanese community.

After graduating from Bowdoin College, serving as an Army intelligence officer in Berlin and ranking at the top of his class at Georgetown Law School, Mitchell went to work as legislative director for U.S Sen. Ed Muskie, later managing Muskie campaigns for vice president and president, and becoming a partner at Jensen & Baird in Portland.

While Mitchell’s loss as the Democratic nominee for governor in 1974 to Independent Jim Longley seemed to mark the end of his political career, he was unexpectedly named to the U.S. Senate by Gov. Joe Brennan in 1980 when Muskie became Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter. After winning election to a full term in 1982 over Congressman David Emery in perhaps the greatest comeback in Maine political history, Mitchell pulled off another upset, besting two far more senior senators to become Senate Majority Leader in 1988.

Serving with Republican president George H.W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton, Mitchell “made politics work,” becoming the most effective majority leader since Lyndon Johnson, enacting such major legislation as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, Americans with Disabilities Act, long-term Transportation bills and, to date, the last bipartisan five-year budget and tax agreement.

After leaving the Senate in 1995, Mitchell chaired the talks that brought peace to Northern Ireland in 1998 under the Good Friday Agreement. He also was chairman of the Disney Corporation; wrote major reports for Major League Baseball; and headed the world’s largest law firm, DLA Piper. He founded the Mitchell Institute, which awards college scholarships to students from every Maine high school each year.

“Statesman” has been praised by former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and former Rep. Tom Allen; and includes an introduction by current Sen. Angus King. Rooks has received numerous awards from the National Newspaper Association, New England Newspaper Association and has been named three times as best opinion columnist in Maine. This is his first book. Questions and discussion will follow the reading, which is open to the public.

This event, sponsored by the Friends of the Rockland Library and the library, is free and open to the public. For more information, call 594-0310.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.