Highlights

News and information from Steve’s author and writing life, including what readers are saying about Steve’s books

City of Nashua, New Hampshire selects Dark Tide as its 2022 “Nashua Reads” choice!! 

I’m excited and honored to announce that the City of Nashua, NH has selected Dark Tide as its “Nashua Reads” choice for 2022! 

The city is planning a whole host of events in conjunction with this program, which will include an appearance by me at the Nashua Public Library on Sunday, October 2 at 2:00 p.m. for a discussion entitled “Beyond the Book: An Afternoon with Stephen Puleo.” If you’re a Patriots fan, as I am, you’re in for a great afternoon — the Pats are away that Sunday, playing at Green Bay against the Packers at 4:35 p.m. A book discussion and football — neither conflicting with the other — what a great way to spend a Sunday in the fall!

Nashua Logo

This link provides more information on Nashua’s choice, including a video on the selection that includes a brief welcome and thanks from me. 

By the way, the photo here shows Brian of Toadstool Bookshops, which is handling the book sale/signing at the event. See what Brian has to say about Dark Tide by visiting Toadstool’s Facebook page.

Brian

A total of 25 communities have now selected Dark Tide as their community-wide read, and next to Boston, Nashua becomes the largest! I couldn’t be more excited — many thanks to Nashua! 

 

Dark TideIt was a summer resurgence for Dark Tide

I don’t want to say time is flying or anything, but…

Dark Tide turned “19 years old” this fall! First published in September, 2003, I’m proud of the book’s reach with readers, schools, teachers, book clubs, and thousands of others who have humbled me with their support of my first book!

I’m happy to say that the book is still going strong, and wanted to share with you a nice resurgence of the book’s popularity with a few examples over the summer.

 

Mass Maritime Academy Uses Dark Tide in Innovative High School Program

Mass Maritime Academy
Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) developed an exciting hands-on program related to the Great Boston Molasses Flood for high school students, using my book, Dark Tide. Click here to read more! 

 

Boston.comBoston.com selects Dark Tide as One of 7 best nonfiction books set in Boston; one of 46 best overall!

I was honored that Boston.com this summer selected Dark Tide as one of the 46 best books set in Boston — and one of only seven nonfiction choices! I’m most excited that these selections were voted by readers! Thanks as always for your support.

See the story and the list here.

 

Portland (Maine) Press Herald features Dark Tide as its “bedside table” selection

It was a nice surprise on a summer Sunday to see that the Portland (Maine) Press Herald featured Dark Tide as its “bedside table” selection (books that are on readers’ bedside tables right now).

Portland Press Herald Logo

The book was recommended by Press Herald reporters Bonnie Washuk and her husband, Rick Zaccaro. They are history lovers, and also love Boston and the North End. Dark Tide reads like disaster fiction, but it’s history…it’s a great read,” Bonnie and Rick wrote. Thanks to Bonnie and Rick, and the Press Herald, for their selection.

Glasses and books

The link to the story is here, but a caution: you may run into “paywall issues” and have trouble accessing it. There have been times I could and times I couldn’t.

And while I’m on the subject of Dark Tide, there’s a brand new plaque in Boston’s North End to mark the Molasses Flood site! 

It’s great to see that the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Harborwalk Boston have erected a new permanent marker plaque at the molasses flood site titled, “No Escape from Gigantic Molasses Wave,” complete with photos and a really accurate description of the flood disaster. 

I was glad to have helped with the editing of the text and even more pleased to see the new plaque unveiled as part of the refurbishment of the Langone Park/Puopolo Playground on Commercial Street in the North End. You’ll see it right behind the home-plate screen at the ballfield just to the left of the bocce courts — visit the North End and check it out!

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my Voyage appearance on Haverhill Community TV’s “Write Now” Show!

Steve and Gail 

I had a great time talking about Voyage of Mercy with Gayle Heney, producer and host of “Write Now,” an excellent show on Haverhill Community TV, with coverage of several towns on Boston’s North Shore.

“Write Now” showcases authors who have successfully published books, with the goal of encouraging the show’s viewers to write. Gayle does a great job in the conversation-style interview format.

My interview with Gayle will air in Haverhill, MA for the entire month of October on Comcast Channel 22 on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Later, the show will air in the nearby towns of Methuen, Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence.

My thanks to Gayle and the team at Haverhill Community TV.

Last World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel “Woody” Williams, has passed away

Woody at Veterans Day Parade

Since I’ve last been in touch, we’ve lost an American hero. I’d ask you to please remember Hershel “Woody” Williams of West Virginia, the last of the 473 American service members who received a Medal of Honor in WWII. Woody died just before the Fourth of July at age 98.

Woody earned his Medal of Honor for heroic action on Iwo Jima. On February 23, 1945 — the same day as the iconic flag-raising at Mount Suribachi — 21-year-old Marine corporal and flamethrower operator Williams single-handedly destroyed multiple Japanese pillboxes and other gun emplacements at great danger to himself.

He received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman at the White House in October 1945. Like so many of these “Greatest Generation” veterans, Woody went on to do generous things with his life. He served veterans and their families during a career with the VA, and also established the Woody Williams Foundation that served God Star Families.

The link will take you to the Marine Times story on Woody, and I also urge you to watch the 5-minute video in which Woody offers his “message to young Americans.”

Woody

Those of you who have followed me know that my dad was a World War II veteran, who was immensely proud of his service (as I was proud of him). These veterans hold a special place in my heart. Please take a moment to offer thanks to Woody and the other WWII vets — most have left us, and soon, they will all be gone from our midst.

 

I enjoyed some wonderful Voyage of Mercy speaking events in Winter/Spring 2022

It’s hard to describe how much fun I had doing speaking events during the winter/spring season for my book, Voyage of Mercy. I found every audience to be engaged, enthused, and just ready to enjoy themselves. It’s as if they (like me) couldn’t wait to get back out into the world after a couple of years of fits, starts, and uncertainty. 

Rather than identifying every photo in this section, I wanted to give you a feel for the tenor of my speaking engagements; I included so many because, collectively, they illustrate the great energy and creativity these organizations and attendees brought to the events. For more information about my upcoming events, check my Inside Info and Events pages.

I’m so blessed to have such loyal and supportive readers, and I’m amazed and honored that so many of them (and that includes many of you!) attend my events. Thank you, thank you! 

I did want to mention my thanks and gratitude to the following organizations where I was privileged to speak during the winter/spring season:

  • To the residents of North Hill in Needham, MA, and to the group’s “Community Reads” committee for selecting Voyage of Mercy as their 2022 book and sponsoring a fabulous event to which more than 140 residents turned out! 
  • To the Friends of the Georgetown (MA) Public Library and the Boxford Town Library for co-sponsoring a terrific “Voyage” event — attracting a wonderful crowd and even baking custom Voyage of Mercy cupcakes! Overall, a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning! 
  • To the team at and the Friends of the Hamilton-Wenham Regional Library (the only regional library in Massachusetts!) who invited me to host their first live event in nearly two years! An outstanding time. 
  • To the great team at the Real Estate Bar Association (REBA) of Massachusetts, who invited me back (for the third time!) to deliver the keynote luncheon event at the organization’s annual conference. REBA does everything in a first-class way — one of my favorite speaking venues! 
  • To my hometown of Burlington (MA), whose Historical Society put on a great “Voyage” event and gave me a chance to get reacquainted with some “old, familiar faces” and great readers. 
  • To the Friends of the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy, MA, and the approximately 60 people who attended my “Voyage” presentation — Quincy has always been so good to me, and this event was no different — an enthusiastic, engaged crowd who asked great questions! 
  • To the Town of Stoneham, MA, and the Stoneham Public Library for selecting “Voyage” as their community-wide read for 2022! More than 60 people attended the event, and the library will have multiple copies of Voyage available through the year! 
  • To the Hanover (MA) Phoenix Masonic Lodge and the Knights of Columbus in Pembroke (MA) for inviting me to deliver the keynote at the “Mason/Knight Night Reunion Dinner” — a combination of two great charitable and philanthropic organizations. The two groups have met annually for more than 45 years, but Covid prevented them from gathering in 2020 and 2021, so this year’s “reunion” meeting was even more special. 
  • And my final event of the speaking season — the always fabulous Hull appearance — part of the town’s Nantasket Beach Lecture Series! My heartfelt thanks to the Nantasket Beach Resort, the Hull Public Library, the Hull Lifesaving Museum, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation — and to the 75 attendees — who together (and again) made this “Voyage” appearance a first-class event. I love Hull and Nantasket Beach, so the event is always special to me. Prior to “Voyage,” I had launched my previous four books in Hull — Covid disrupted launch plans for Voyage in 2020, but this year’s appearance was worth the wait! 

My thanks to all of these organizations, great people, and amazing readers who help and support me — the winter/spring 2022 speaking season was one of my most enjoyable ever! 

Photo Collage

Visiting Civil War battlefields is a trip worth making

Antietam

In the early Spring, my wife Kate and I took a long and wonderful road trip that included visits to some of the iconic Civil War battlefields — Manassas, Fredericksburg, Antietam, and Gettysburg. 

These are hauntingly beautiful and sacred places that offer a first-hand look at American history. Just being at these sites — where you see the contours of the land, visualize the clash of armies, visit the cemeteries, and almost hear the gunfire — stirs the emotions and makes you take pause.

  

The serenity I felt at places with names such as Bloody Lane, the Slaughter Pen, the Burnside Bridge, and Little Round Top belies the violence and carnage that took place in the 1860s, and that contrast alone takes your breath away. 

If you haven’t visited these places, I urge you to do so — and if you have, do it again. You will not be disappointed. There are few better examples of “living history.”

 

A special walking tour in the North End

My 620th appearance as an author occurred in November 2021, when I led a tour through Boston’s historic (and Italian) North End. 

This wonderful event was sponsored by the Italian Youth Group at St. Leonard’s Parish in the North End (the first Italian-immigrant church in Boston, established in 1873). The Youth Group, which gathers a few times a month to promote cultural and spiritual events, was kind enough to open the tour to the entire community, which is why you see some older folks (besides me!) in the accompanying picture. 

Nearly 50 people joined the tour, and I was honored and thrilled to participate — the group was warm, welcoming, and engaged. A great event on a beautiful day.

Stoneham, MA Public Library chooses Voyage of Mercy

I couldn’t be more thrilled that the Town of Stoneham, MA Public Library selected my book, Voyage of Mercy, as its “Community Reads” choice for 2022! The library will promote the town-wide effort through local organizations, schools, and community government boards, and is planning a series of events for residents.

One of those will be my visit to the library on May 12, 2022, at 7:00 p.m., where I will acknowledge this honor and deliver a presentation on Voyage. It will be one of several great events I have planned for the spring. Keep reading or click on this Events link to follow all my upcoming appearances. 

Many thanks to Stoneham!

History channel Podcast

Enjoy this History Channel podcast on the Great Boston Molasses Flood

January 15 was the 103rd anniversary of the Great Boston Molasses Flood. To commemorate the anniversary, the History Channel replayed its 2021 podcast of the event, which I was honored to take part in, as part of its “History This Week” segment.

The podcast — which is very well done, with superb narration and sound effects — is about 18 minutes long, You can listen simply by clicking on the RSS button at this link, and scrolling down a bit (the molasses flood podcast is the fifth one down). Of course, you can also listen with whatever platforms you use for podcasts.

Boston ItaliansMy UMass-Boston master’s thesis — the foundation for The Boston Italians — passes 21,000-download milestone!

I was deeply honored to learn that my master’s thesis, From Italy to Boston’s North End: Italian Immigration and Settlement, 1890-1910 (UMass-Boston 1994) has been downloaded more than 21,000 times from people in more than 123 countries!

I received a number of comments from readers expressing interest in the thesis and updates on downloads. Well, as of now, the thesis surpassed the 21,000 download mark from 123 countries. It continues to be the number one “downloaded” thesis ever in the UMass-Boston History Department. Many of you know that the thesis provided the foundation for my book, The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance, and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day, published by Beacon Press in 2007. 

While the bulk of the downloads have been from readers in the United States and Europe, every continent except Antarctica is represented. More than 1,500 institutions (universities, government agencies, libraries, etc.) are among the downloads. 

If you want to have a little fun exploring this, this link will take you to my Dashboard and you can see the countries and regions from which the thesis was downloaded. When you get to the Dashboard page, please make sure the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner is set to “all time” — that will cover from January 3, 2013 until the present day. You can then change the view from the map to graphs by using icons at the top left. It’s all fairly intuitive and easy to use.

Have fun with this, and my thanks to you for your interest in my work and for making The Boston Italians a success! And if you’d like, feel free to access my thesis here!

New Review of The Boston Italians

IAHF Newsletter MastheadI’m grateful to Linda Binkley of the Italian American Heritage Foundation (IAHF) for her great review of The Boston Italians. The organization is based in San Jose, CA, and the review appears in IAHF’s August newsletter. The Boston Italians was first published in 2007, so I’m thrilled the book is still popular and continues to interest readers and reviewers.

 

Christopher Award

Christopher Award

I’m very honored that “Voyage of Mercy” has won a 2020 Christopher Award.

These awards, issued by the nonprofit, The Christophers, celebrate writers, producers, directors, authors, and illustrators whose work “affirms the highest values of the human spirit” and reflects The Christophers’ guidance, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” Read the full press release here.

 

 

 

VOM Braille

Xavier Society for the Blind transcribes Voyage of Mercy into braille

Voyage of Mercy has been transcribed into braille and is available in the Xavier Society for the Blind library. Since 1900, Xavier Society for the Blind has been providing free braille and audiobooks to blind and visually impaired people worldwide in order for them to learn about, develop, and practice their faith. Connect with XSB on Facebook or click here to access their complete catalog of free items.

Due to Enemy Action now available for print-on-demand in hardcover or paperback!

I’m thrilled to announce that my book, Due to Enemy Action: The True World War II Story of the USS Eagle 56, first published in 2005 and converted in 2012 to “e-book only” status, is back in book form! Readers can now order DTEA in hardcover ($27) or paperback ($17) form from Untreed Reads, the ebook publisher who will also continue to make it available in electronic form. You can order your copy in any format here.

Due to Enemy Action tells for the first time a World War II story that spans generations and straddles two centuries, a story that begins with the dramatic Battle of the Atlantic in the 1940s and doesn’t conclude until an emotional Purple Heart ceremony changes naval history in 2002. I was always a bit regretful when we made the decision almost a decade ago to convert this great story to an ebook only, so naturally I’m excited that it’s returning in all forms. Whether you like hardcovers, paperbacks, or ebooks, Due to Enemy Action is the book for you!

 

Voyage of Mercy audiobook narrator wins prestigious industry award!

VOM audiobookI’m really thrilled for Sean Patrick Hopkins, narrator of the audiobook version of my Voyage of Mercy, who was the recipient of the prestigious “AudioFile Earphones Award” for his reading of Voyage. In its review, AudioFile Magazine said of Sean’s narrative style: “He makes this story of America’s first significant overseas aid effort and the two people most responsible — a sea captain and a Catholic priest — come alive.” I completely agree with AudioFile’s review — Sean’s reading was compelling and brilliant. Congratulations Sean!

New York Post Chooses Voyage of Mercy as one of “The 15 best books to read in our age of social isolation”

I was honored that Voyage of Mercy was selected by the New York Post as one of “the 15 best books to read in our age of social isolation.” The Post picked only two nonfiction books, “chosen because they celebrate the best that humanity is capable of.” The Post said of Voyage: “Thousands of ships left Ireland during the Potato Famine in the 1840s, packed with poor and starving crowds fleeing their homeland for the promise of the United States. One ship, the USS Jamestown, headed from Boston in the other direction, loaded with food for the Irish. It was the first humanitarian mission by the United States — prior to it, the idea of nations helping each other was not considered — and it set the precedent for many more such efforts to come. A moving historic tribute.

Milton Reads 2020

My thanks to the Town of Milton, Massachusetts for selecting (and promoting) Voyage of Mercy as its community-wide read

In case you missed it, the Town of Milton, Mass., selected Voyage of Mercy as its community-wide read for 2020, the year the book was published. I participated in a great virtual event co-sponsored by the Milton Public Library and the Robert Bennet Forbes House Museum (Forbes was the captain of the USS Jamestown on its historic relief voyage to Ireland). The town has also held a number of other virtual events by experts in various aspects of this story.

It was also great to see the marquee-size banner highlighting Voyage and the “Milton Reads” program outside the Robert Bennet Forbes House Museum!

Thanks to Titcomb’s Bookstore on Cape Cod for selecting Voyage of Mercy as a staff favorite!

TitcombsOne of the nicest independent bookstores anywhere is Titcomb’s Bookshop in East Sandwich (Rte 6A) on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The staff knows and loves books, which is why I’m honored that proprietor Vicky Titcomb selected my Voyage of Mercy as one of her “favorites.”

Here I am with Vicky after a visit during the summer; we’re standing near the landmark “colonial man” statue that stands in front of the store.

Titcomb’s epitomizes all that is great about local bookshops. I’ve spent hours browsing there, and the staff is among the most helpful you’ll meet. Thanks to Vicky, the team, and Titcomb’s, and I hope you’ll drop in the next time you’re on Cape Cod!

Bill of Rights Institute now includes my overall summary, lesson plan for The Caning and its effects on the Civil War

One of the things that I’ve missed the most during the pandemic is the opportunity to go into schools and share the stories of history with students from elementary school all the way through college. I can’t wait do resume these appearances.

In the meantime, I’m excited that the Virginia-based Bill of Rights Institute has now posted my summary article and student lesson plan on Charles Sumner and Preston Brooks, based on my book, The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War. The lesson includes the outline of the event, review questions, AP practice questions, and primary and secondary sources.

If you or a student you know is interested in this era, or specifically on this dramatic event that put the country irrevocably on the path to Civil War, I urge you to check it out and let me know what you think!

Historical Novel Society calls American Treasures “narrative nonfiction at its best”

Those of you who have heard me speak know that authors of history should consider it a great compliment when someone says a nonfiction book “reads like a novel.” With all of its natural drama, history should always be written in a compelling and entertaining way.

It’s why I was grateful to the Historical Novel Society (founded in the UK and now international) for its review of my book American Treasures: The Secret Efforts to Save the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address. The HNS generally — as you can infer from its name — focuses on historical fiction. But sometimes they review nonfiction when the story captivates them.

Of American Treasures, reviewer Jennifer Bort Yacovissi wrote, “an example of narrative non-fiction at its best: thorough research underpins an engaging — even gripping — story that captures the reader, who races along to discover what happens next…”

My thanks to Jennifer and the HNS for a review that encapsulates my writing philosophy!