Former Congressman-turned novelist Bob Steele will address one of Connecticut's hot-button issues, including how we became New England's Gambling State, when he comes to Chester at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 11 for Books & Bagels at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ).
Steele, who served one term in the House of Representative and also ran for governor, will speak about Connecticut's casinos and the background to his book, The Curse: Big-Time Gambling's Seduction of a Small New England Town.
"The casinos are places of fascination and mystery," says Tracy Kleinberg, chair of the CBSRZ program committee, which produces Books & Bagels. "Bob's book provides an illuminating view of both the glitz and the unsavory side of casino life."
The novel, which has just gone into its second printing, is set against the explosion of casino gambling in Connecticut during the 1990s, when two Indian tribes built the world's two biggest casinos in the southeastern corner of the state.
The narrative begins in 1637 with the massacre of the Pequot Indians and a curse delivered by a Pequot sachem to the young English soldier who is about to kill him. The story then jumps 350 years as the soldier's 13th generation descendant, Josh Williams, and his family become embroiled in a battle to stop a third casino that threatens their town and ancestral home.
WBZ Boston's Dan Rea calls the novel "powerful," and Connecticut author Martin Shapiro describes it as "compelling and timely…a riveting story of history, money, and politics that will make you wonder where America is headed."
Steele is chairman of Connecticut-based NLC Insurance Company and has been a director of numerous other companies, including the American Stock Exchange.
CBSRZ is at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. For more information on this event or other CBSRZ programming, call the synagogue office 860-526-8920 or visit the