Stephen Puleo Biography

Stephen Puleo is an author, historian, teacher, public speaker, and communications professional.  He has published seven narrative history books, including his most recent: Voyage of Mercy: The USS Jamestown, the Irish Famine, and the Remarkable Story of America’s First Humanitarian Mission, published in March 2020. His eighth book, The Great Abolitionist: Charles Sumner and the Fight for a More Perfect Union, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in April, 2024. 

His other published works are:

  • American Treasures: The Secret Efforts to Save the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address (2016)
  • The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War (2012)
  • A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900 (2010)
  • The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day (2007)
  • Due to Enemy Action: The True World War II Story of the USS Eagle 56 (2005)
  • Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 (2003)

Steve’s books have been Boston regional bestsellers and have received national recognition. All have been reviewed favorably by the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, the Boston Globe, the New York Post, Parade magazine, The National Review,, C-SPAN, the Associated Press, the Portland Press Herald, the Providence Journal, the Denver Post, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Hartford Courant, Kirkus Reviews, Barnes and Noble, the Fredericksburg Star, ForeWord magazine, Shelf Awareness, Library Journal, Booklist,, and Publishers Weekly. Read the reviews here.

An experienced, dynamic, and in-demand speaker and presenter, Steve has made more than 660 appearances, before thousands of readers, since the publication of his first book, Dark Tide, in 2003.  Events have included bookstore signings, keynote addresses, university appearances, library presentations, historical societies, community events, seminars, panel discussions, industry and professional events, book clubs (more than 50 have chosen his books), and appearances at public and private K-12 schools.  His books have been woven into the curricula of numerous high schools and colleges, and more than 30 communities have selected his books as “community-wide reads.” To see a listing of Steve’s current events and appearances, click Events.

Steve’s showcase appearances include: a guest speaker at the National Archives and the National Constitution Center on his book, American Treasures. a keynote speaker for the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Massachusetts Superior Court; and a panel participant with Italian-American and Jewish-American scholars entitled Italy and the Holocaust: The Calabria Connection, presented at UMass-Boston. He has appeared on C-SPAN, the History Channel, and numerous regional and national radio and television programs.  Numerous national media outlets have interviewed Steve, including NBC, the New York Times, Parade magazine,, and the Associated Press. Steve also conducts book-club tours of Boston’s North End, one of the nation’s most historic neighborhoods. If you would like more information about having Steve appear at your event, please contact him at

Steve is a former award-winning newspaper reporter and contributor of articles and book reviews to publications and organizations that include American History magazine, Politico, the Boston Globe, and the Bill of Rights Institute, Puleo has also taught history at Suffolk University in Boston and at UMass-Boston. He also has developed and taught numerous writing workshops for high school and college students, as well as for adults who aspire to be writers. 

Steve holds a master’s degree in history from UMass-Boston, where he received the Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement and was the Graduate Convocation keynote speaker. His master’s thesis, From Italy to Boston’s North End: Italian Immigration and Settlement, 1890-1910, has been downloaded nearly 24,000 times by scholars and readers around the world. Steve is also a Massachusetts Historical Society Fellow. Steve is the past recipient of the prestigious i migliori award, presented by the Pirandello Lyceum to Italian-Americans who have excelled in their fields of endeavor. Steve and his wife Kate, who live south of Boston, donate a portion of his book proceeds to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).