“American history at its most violent and authentic.” —Howard Frank Mosher, award-winning author

In Bootleggers, Lobstermen, and Lumberjacks: Fifty of the Grittiest Moments in the History of Hardscrabble New England, author Matthew P. Mayo presents 50 narrative-driven tales covering hundreds of years of incredible, true accounts of Indian abductions and all-out wars; of timber-tough men in the golden age of New England logging; of suspected witches being hung and crushed by stones; of savage storms, fantastic shipwrecks, ruthless pirates, and half-starved castaways; of train wrecks, blizzards, and nor’easters; of the hair-raising exploits of rumrunners, smugglers, and bootleggers; of hardworking lobstermen driven to settle their differences any way they can; of hill farmers with fast cars during Prohibition doing their best to survive in the challenging and unique locale that is New England—as much a place as a state of mind.

Globe Pequot Press, 320 pages, 28 historic photos, October, 2010, softcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell’s


“The Wild American West be damned! Matthew P. Mayo’s Bootleggers, Lobstermen, and Lumberjacks is a fascinating – and often absolutely blood-curdling – narrative of New England’s darkest and grittiest historical incidents and characters. A consummate storyteller with a lively,  entertaining voice, Matt Mayo has brought to life New England’s most evil pirates, scalpers, witch-hunters, and ax-murderers, along with a few equally chilling accounts of accidents and natural catastrophes.

For good measure, there are even a couple of raids on New England by Nazi and Confederate soldiers. Bootleggers, Lobstermen, and Lumberjacks is American history at its most violent and authentic. Edgar Allan Poe would have loved every story in it.”

—Howard Frank Mosher


“Witch hunt victim Giles Corey appears as one of the case histories in Bootleggers, Lobstermen & Lumberjacks (Globe Pequot Press, $16.95). Matthew P. Mayo, a prolific author of western fiction, pulls out all the stops of his pulp style to dramatize “Fifty of the Grittiest Moments in the History of Hardscrabble New England,’’ including Corey’s death by crushing after he refused to enter a plea in his witchcraft trial. Mayo covers other lurid moments, such as the Lizzie Borden case, and resurrects many low points of New England history, including shipwreck cannibalism, the exhumation of a tuberculosis victim suspected of being a vampire, and numerous accounts of rum runners. Mayo follows each fictional sketch with more clear-eyed history putting the event in context.”

—The Boston Globe

“Being a Midwesterner, I don’t know much about the East Coast, the way of the Lobstermen or Bootleggers, but I was thoroughly entertained by this collection of short history lessons. Each article is a brief window that opened to a new world for me, and piqued my curiosity to learn more, which is one of the points of any good non-fiction, history book. I was introduced to this “concept type of non-fiction book” with Mayo’s previous collection, COWBOYS, MOUNTAIN MEN, AND GRIZZLY BEARS, and instantly became a fan. Mayo is a heck of a good writer, and I have recommended this book to several of my friends. Pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.”

—Larry D. Sweazy

award-winning author of the JOSIAH WOLFE, TEXAS RANGER series

Bootleggers, Lobstermen & Lumberjacks: Fifty of the Grittiest Moments in the History of Hardscrabble New England, by Matthew P. Mayo. This is a fantastic collection of grit — these tales will make your teeth fall out so that you’ll grin like a real outlaw. It’s the kind of book you can dip into (and twice, if you like, there’s no dipping rule here) and plow your way through a story and then skip one (or more) and still feel like you’ve had a history lesson about hardscrabble New England. I devoured a couple stories last night (Boon Island cannibals, the landing of the Mayflower, the Great Swamp Fight, the Candlemas Massacre, man-eating sharks, the last vampire, the human shingle, and the one about Jigger the river hog and his spiked boots ). These tragic, violent, and sometimes comic tales are so thoroughly researched, it gave me a complex. It’s amazing how Mr. Mayo covers so much historical territory as well as coming up with some rip-roaring narratives.”

—Allister Timms


“Life is hard in New England. That’s the message that comes through loud and clear in this new history book by Northport author Matthew P. Mayo. Nature is at the heart of many of the travails documented in the book and culled by Mayo from nearly 400 years of history. And yet, humanity has only itself to blame for a goodly number of the events. In the book, which starts with a deadly Atlantic crossing by the Pilgrims in 1620 and ends with Maine coast trap wars in 1949, Mayo does a sterling job of bringing history to life.

It isn’t enough for a writer of history to recite names, dates and places. Indeed it’s essential to re-create the three-dimensional people around which history is woven. And with the imagined dialogue at the heart of each vignette in his book, Mayo does exactly that. That isn’t to say that he skimps on the facts. At the end of each chapter, he writes in detail about each event, along with supplying information about similar occurrences. What should be a snack ends up being a meal for voracious readers. Bootleggers, Lobstermen & Lumberjacks is an intriguing way to capture readers who may be unfamiliar with the history that has happened in their own backyards.”

—Dale McGarrigle

Bangor Daily News