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Rough Edges : My Unlikely Road from Welfare to Washington Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., New York, NY (July 1, 2004)
  • ISBN-10: 0060580593
  • ASIN: B0007ZNVDQ
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,670,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Raised by a single mom on welfare and food stamps, the author of this colorful and engaging autobiography dropped out of high school and misspent his youth hanging out with druggie friends and touring the fleshpots of L.A. as a bartender and porn theater bouncer. Perhaps not surprisingly, given his penchant for busting up inappropriate public trysts, he wound up a conservative Republican Congressman prosecuting Bill Clinton’s impeachment case. The byproduct of this surprising career trajectory is that rare politician’s memoir rife with sentences like "Fleabag...whipped out a switchblade, clicked it open and lunged at me" and "Joanne placidly complied with this vague request by raising her tank top and thrusting forth her bare breasts." There is, of course, a political subtext that occasionally surfaces as glib Republican boilerplate. Along with the funny, profane anecdotes about fending off angry biker chicks and selling vacuum cleaners in whorehouses, Rogan slips in parables about the evils of drugs, unions and campus radicals, as well as the social benefits of concealed firearms. In describing his political journey from youthful admirer of Hubert Humphrey to Reaganite conservative, he invokes his street cred as a scion of the working class to justify right-wing policy nostrums on welfare reform and school vouchers. But he mostly keeps the ideology in the background and his outrageous stories and warm, self-deprecating authorial voice up front. Rogan writes like a P.J. O’Rourke with a Capra-esque streak of political optimism, and this hilarious, crowd-pleasing memoir will probably make him a major conservative media celebrity. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In 1998 Rogan served on the House Judiciary Committee, prosecuting the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. It was a particularly poignant experience for Rogan because two decades earlier it was Clinton, then attorney general for Arkansas, who encouraged Rogan to get a law degree and enter politics. Citing other similarities between himself and Clinton (growing up without fathers; mothers who married and eventually divorced alcoholics), Rogan details his personal journey into politics, a switch from Democrat to Republican, and election as a congressman from California. Rogan is blunt and engaging in recollections of his rough childhood in the Mission District of San Francisco and of the allure of politics at the age of nine. He was so compelled by politics and personal conviction that he enlisted Harry S Truman for help with his homework. Stints as a bartender and a bouncer were as formative of Rogan's eventual political skills as his study of the law. Defeated in his reelection bid in 2001, Rogan offers a frank, refreshing look at politics and political personalities. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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What an amazing life story!
Fern Richardson
In fact, I would say that his writing is superb and is quite captivating.
Michael Gordon
Read this book...you'll be glad you did.
Cindy Craddock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There was probably a time in America where the level of political discourse and thought was fair-minded enough that a person like James Rogan would have been respected by both sides of the political spectrum. Sadly, if those days ever existed, they're long gone (e.g., Farenheit 911 on the Left, Rush Limbaugh on the Right), so I doubt that Mr. Rogan's book will be read by those who don't share his political views (with the notable exception of Willie Brown).
That's a shame, because Mr. Rogan's rags-to-riches / 'Horatio Alger' story is a refreshing counter-example to two prep school / Ivy Leaguers battling over who supposedly has the best interest of ordinary Americans in mind and the recent celebration of hyper-privileged spoiled rich brats (e.g., Paris Hilton, et al.) that has polluted popular culture. James Rogan had a hardscrabble upbringing - single mother who was what many of his Republican colleagues would have called a 'welfare queen,' bounced around various relatives, growing up in what was then a rough neighborhood, and hanging out with a motley crew of characters that wouldn't be welcomed in the thousands of dollars a plate or seat fundraising event for either party. Inspired to go to school and pull himself up by the bootstraps by none other than Bill Clinton (yes, the ex-President), he went to a state school with the highest representation of working class/poor students among major universities, UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles).
Ironically -- or appropriately (depending on what political movement you believe best represents the interests and aspirations of those who hover around the lower middle class) -- James Rogan became a conservative Republican congressman who went on to help prosecute Bill Clinton during the impeachment proceedings.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Rogan like Saul of Tarsus, undergoes an remarkable and intriguing transformation into a great American and moral patriot.
This story is a must read and remarkable as a contrast to many of the milquetoast characters in current American politics.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Donna Currie on August 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a resident of Burbank, California I have personally been affected by Jim Rogan's outstanding and honest service. This book is a MUST read for all walks of life, rich or poor, black or white, political or non political, conservative or liberal; I was hooked before finishing the inside flap of the book jacket. His mesmerizing life story takes us on a journey of hardship, courage and determination in overcoming obstacles and tragedy, all while maintaining integrity. Surprise! Even white guys struggle to achieve the American dream. As a conservative Republican I praise God that he is on the "right" side. My only regret is that there is no surprise ending--hopefully if it is God's will, he'll be back!!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Rough Edges: My Unlikely Road From Welfare To Washington by James E. Rogan (a conservative Republican elected to office in the House of Representatives from 1997 to 2001 by a liberal Democratic California district and who recently served the Bush administration in the capacity of Undersecretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office before leaving government service for a private law practice) provides readers with an unusually informed and informative read which is personal, candid, and occasional humorous. Advised to enter law and politics by none other than Bill Clinton, his determination lead him to serve as Los Angeles County DA and aggressively prosecute members of the notorious Crips and Bloods gangs; then a judge, a state legislator, and finally a congressman from Southern California. In 1998, as a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, he took upon the task of prosecuting the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, as a surprise twist of fate. Rogan's down-to-earth candor and straight-shot attitude reveal the extent of his fighting spirit and determination to see through all the unexpected curveballs life dares to throw and much more. An engaging, entertaining, insightful, story of a life lived with can-do American spirit.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book offers romance, an inside scoop of large political figures, and most of all -- inspiration. Its a very exciting and interesting read. A living example of "if you think you can, you can." He writes just like he is - simple, humorous and determined.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Cindy Craddock on July 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't put this book down! An incredible story that made me laugh, cry, and feel like I can achieve anything. Very inspirational. Read this book...you'll be glad you did.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is just plain inspiring. I hope this is only the beginning for Mr. Rogan.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve Iaco on November 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Rough Edges" is a wonderfully engaging biography. Going in, all I knew about Jim Rogan was that he lost his Congressional seat because of his role in the Clinton impeachment. I found out that Rogan's life is a quintessential American success story -- a modern day Horatio Alger.

This book has nothing to do with the Clinton impeachment, and barely touches at all on Rogan's legislative career. Instead, its focus is Rogan's hardscrabble youth -- out of wedlock birth to a welfare-dependent Mother, high school dropout, etc -- and his determined, up-from-the-bootstraps ascent to law school graduate, assistant DA, judgeship and an improbable California assembly seat.

Along the way, Rogan, a lifelong political junkie, converts from Democrat to Republican -- the true "party of the little guy" -- finds his faith, reconciles with his biological Dad and discovers the blessings of family life.

This book is sprinkled with colorful -- often hilarious -- anecdotes, especially his wayward teenage years, bartender gigs and courtroom experiences.

You don't have to be interested in politics to appreciate Rogan's indefatigable spirit and admire his lifestory.
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