About Steve

Stephen Puleo is an author, historian, university teacher, public speaker, and communications professional. His five narrative nonfiction works include:

  • 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)

All of his books have been Boston regional bestsellers. In addition, Steve’s books have been reviewed favorably by the New Yorker, the Boston Globe, The National Review, Forbes.com, 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 Review.com, the Fredericksburg Star, ForeWord magazine, and Publishers Weekly (A few excerpts follow).

An experienced, dynamic, and in-demand speaker and presenter, he has made more than 440 public appearances, before thousands of readers, since the publication of his first book in 2003. Events have included bookstore signings, keynote addresses, presentations at libraries, historical societies, community events, seminars, panel discussions, industry events, professional associations, book clubs (more than 50 have chosen his books), newspaper and magazine interviews, radio and television appearances, and appearances at universities, and public and private K-12 schools. His books have been woven into the curricula of numerous high schools and colleges. Steve also conducts book-club tours of Boston’s North End, one of the nation’s most colorful and historic neighborhoods.

Among his showcase appearances have been serving as keynote speaker at the Northeast Regional Association of the Social Studies (more than 600 history teachers); as a guest speaker for the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Massachusetts Superior Court; and as a panel participant with Italian-American and Jewish-American scholars entitled Italy and the Holocaust: The Calabria Connection, presented at UMass-Boston.

A former award-winning newspaper reporter and contributor of feature stories and book reviews to publications that include American History magazine and the Boston Globe, Puleo holds a master’s degree in history (From Italy to Boston’s North End: Italian Immigration and Settlement, 1890-1910, UMass-Boston, 1994), for which he received the Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement, and was the Graduate Convocation keynote speaker. He teaches at Suffolk University in Boston.

In addition to his strong journalism and historical writing background, Steve has nearly 25 years of experience in public relations, communications, speechwriting, speech coaching, and marketing. He has won numerous corporate communications awards and has been both a keynote speaker and served on communications panels at industry conferences.

Steve is the past recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award, presented by the Appian Club, an Italian-American organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Italian culture in Massachusetts. He is also the recipient of the prestigious i migliori award, presented by the Pirandello Lyceum to Italian-Americans who have excelled in their fields of endeavor and made important contributions to society. Steve and his wife, Kate, who reside south of Boston, donate a portion of his book proceeds to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Critical praise
Steve’s books have been reviewed favorably by the New Yorker, the Boston Globe, the Portland Press Herald, theProvidence Journal, the Associated Press, the Denver Post, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Hartford CourantKirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly.

The Caning

Russell S. Bonds, author of War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta, said “Stephen Puleo’s beautifully written, compelling account of the caning and its aftermath presents the often-overlooked drama of the late 1850’s, illuminating a cast of fascinating characters — not only Brooks and Sumner, but Stephen Douglas, John Brown, and Abraham Lincoln — just as they step from the wings onto the great stage of history.”  A Boston Globe feature on the book, published in October 2012, said “As a divided nation faces a close election and recalls the 150th anniversary of polarization’s worst case scenario — the Civil War — a new book focuses on an act of violence in 1856 that turned moderates into hard-liners and made war almost inevitable.”

A City So Grand

In pre-publication praise for the book, bestselling novelist Dennis Lehane said:  “A City So Grand is a book so grand. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve read anything — fiction or non-fiction — so enthralling. My only complaint is that it ended.” Publishers Weekly called the book “smoothly narrated” and a “thorough history.”  The Boston Sunday Globe published a story by Puleo in its April 11, 2010 edition, adapted from A City So Grand, entitled “When Boston Awoke.”

The Boston Italians

The Boston Globe wrote of The Boston Italians: “Author Stephen Puleo breaks new ground and dispels old myths about Italians who settled there.” The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, MA wrote: “What Puleo captures in his book [is] the spirit of proud, hard-working people who rallied around each other to make a better life…As you flip through the pages, you can practically smell the sauce simmering on the stove. It’s not a dull history, but a narrative underdog tale of … those early southern Italian immigrants.” Primo Magazine said the book “moves along like a fast-paced novel” and is “truly a magnificent work.” The National Sons of Italy Organization selected The Boston Italians as one of its recommended books to members across the country, and the Boston Authors Club selected it as one of its “highly recommended” books for 2008.

Due to Enemy Action

The Boston Globe wrote that “the character-driven narrative leaves readers with searing images of a routine day that changed lives forever,” and Amazon.com called it “A saga of courageous survival.” Due to Enemy Action was the subject of a History Channel program and was excerpted in The Greatest Submarine Stories Ever Told, edited by Lamar Underwood (2005).

Dark Tide

This critically acclaimed Boston-area bestseller was selected by the Boston Authors Club as a finalist for its prestigious Julia Ward Howe Award for literary merit, and the Associated Press included it in its “round-up” selection of books to read, a recommendation that appeared in more than 80 newspapers nationwide. The Boston Globe wrote that “giving a human face to tragedy is part of the brilliance” of Dark Tide. The book was also the subject of a History Channel program, and Steve discussed Dark Tide on C-Span’s Book TV. Several communities have voted to read Dark Tide as part of town-wide reading programs, and the book has been selected for reading and discussion by scores of book clubs.

Email Steve at steve@stephenpuleo.com.

Puleo Communications

As a strategic communications consultant with more than 25 years of experience, Steve Puleo specializes in a wide range of services, including:

  • CEO and executive-level communications consulting
  • High-level strategic communication
  • Soup-to-nuts writing and research (white papers, brochures, collateral, direct mail, publications, newsletters, etc.)
  • Speechwriting/speech-coaching, presentation/media training
  • Strategic marketing and sales support
  • Community/government/public affairs
  • Media relations and PR
  • Marketing communications
  • Advertising (concepts, copy, agency management)
  • Crisis communications
  • Strategic employee communications
  • Benefits communications

Steve’s strategic communications efforts are praised by his clients and have been frequently recognized by industry organizations, including the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and Ragan Communications, a leading national corporate communications analyst. He has been a guest speaker (including the keynote speaker) at conferences on a variety of corporate communications topics.

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