Steve Puleo will speak to WHS about his most recent novel : The Caning: The Assault That Drove America To Civil War.

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The Caning for Uploading

Stephen Puleo is an author, historian, 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)

His sixth book, American Treasures: The Secret Efforts to Save the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address, is slated for publication in 2016 (St. Martin’s Press). 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,, 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, and Publishers Weekly (a few excerpts follow this bio summary).

An experienced, dynamic, and in-demand speaker and presenter, he has made more than 450 public appearances, before thousands of readers, since the publication of his first book, Dark Tide, 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.  More than 20 communities have selected his books as “community-wide reads.” Steve also conducts book-club tours of Boston’s North End, one of the nation’s most colorful and historic neighborhoods.

His showcase appearances include 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 has taught history at Suffolk University in Boston, and also has developed and taught numerous writing workshops for high school and college students, as well as for adults who aspire to be writers. He holds a master’s degree in history from UMass-Boston (1994), where he received the Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement and was the Graduate Convocation keynote speaker.  His master’s thesis is entitled From Italy to Boston’s North End: Italian Immigration and Settlement, 1890-1910).  He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from UMass-Boston.

In addition to his strong writing background, Steve has more than 30 years of experience in public relations, corporate communications, speechwriting, speech coaching, and marketing. He has won numerous corporate communications awards and has been both a keynote speaker and panelist at communications conferences.

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 and made important contributions to society. Steve and his wife, Kate, who live south of Boston, donate a portion of his book proceeds to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  Email Steve at or  Visit his website at, his Facebook page at, or follow him on Twitter at




I was born and raised in Massachusetts, on the South Shore, which sounds beachy, even luxe. Think Winnebagos and chicken coops. My three brothers, 16, 10, and 8 years older, were teens by the time I became a person. Happiest around adults, who often forgot I was there, I spent days eavesdropping on gossipy moms in lawn chairs and nights listening under the table during tipsy Scrabble parties.

My dad read to me nightly. Eventually and early, I read to myself, everywhere. On top of an enormous freezer chest stuffed with meat. On drives until I grew nauseous. In bed until my eyes gave out. I read anything I could get my hands on. V.C. Andrews and Dickens. Black Beauty and the Bible. The Economist. Madeline L’Engle and Margaret Atwood. National Geographic.

I got a bachelor’s degree in English from Stonehill College and a Master’s in Journalism from Northeastern University. For a while, I worked as a business journalist. Instead of waiting for the Federal Reserve to release the Beige Book, I pitched story ideas along the lines of “Stigmatized Properties: When Murder Kills Property Values”. You see where things were headed.

Today, I live with my family northwest of Boston in a town a lot like Shiverton, near the real Fells reservation of AFTER THE WOODS. Born with dysgeographica—I’m directionally challenged—the fear of getting lost in that lovely, dark forest lives close to my skin.



After the Woods:

“Statistically speaking, girls like me don’t come back when guys like Donald Jessup take us.”

Julia knows she beat the odds. She escaped the kidnapper who hunted her in the woods for two terrifying nights that she can’t fully remember. Now it’s one year later, and a dead girl turns up in those same woods. The terrible memories resurface, leaving Julia in a stupor at awkward moments: in front of gorgeous Kellan MacDougall, for example.

At least Julia’s not alone. Her best friend, Liv, was in the woods, too. When Julia got caught, Liv ran away. Is Liv’s guilt over leaving Julia the reason she’s starving herself? Is hooking up with Shane Cuthbert, an addict with an explosive temper, Liv’s way of punishing herself for not having Julia’s back? As the devastating truth about Liv becomes clear, Julia realizes the one person she thinks she knows best—Liv—is the person she knows least of all. And that after the woods was just the beginning.