While in law school, James Rogan interviewed with a law firm. The interviewer chastised him for violating the supposed "cardinal rule" of resumes—he exceeded one page. When the interviewer questioned why the one page rule went unheeded, Mr. Rogan balled up the resume and threw it at him with an explanation.
"Because I didn't live a one page life."
This anecdote (which did not lead to a job offer) fairly encapsulates James Rogan's Rough Edges: My Unlikely Road from Welfare to Washington. Mr. Rogan told the truth—his maverick life cannot be reduced to a single page; in fact, his book spans 352 page-turning pages, and that's just getting started.
While Congressman Rogan gained notoriety as one of the "managers" during Clinton's impeachment trial, the autobiography instead focused on Rogan's life prior to Congress. For those wondering how the book could be filled with interesting stories from before Mr. Rogan's entrance on the national stage, this book will surprise.
Mr. Rogan details his hard, early life in the Mission District of San Francisco, which included welfare (as the title previews), and the death of his beloved grandfather who took him in, when his biological father wouldn't. The pages are full of childhood pranks that keep the reader laughing.
The funny stories continued into his stints as a union organizer at a pizza parlor, as a bouncer and bartender (during law school), and thereafter. Mr. Rogan became a prosecutor in Los Angeles County and, as a result, the book provides amusing "war stories" from some of his trials.
Then, when he became a judge, he details at least two unforgettable stories. First, when Mr. Rogan showed up in his (soon to be) courtroom in street clothes, the bailiff who did not know him or his position treated him extremely rudely because he deigned to wear a hat. When the bailiff found out that he had just treated his future boss so shabbily, he took early retirement.