Authors Ken Auletta, Gay Talese & William Kennedy Lead Chorus of Praise for “Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother.”




Multi-state tour continues as Heliotrope author Steve Villano addresses major national conference

NEW YORK, NY. – Legendary writers Ken Auletta, Gay Talese &William Kennedy—who have published more than 40 book among them—have offered their kudos for Tightrope, agreeing with fellow author Peter Quinn (Banished Children of Eve, and the Fintan Dunnetrilogy) that Steve Villano’s book Tightrope: Balancing a Life BetweenMario Cuomo & My Brother “is a triumph!”

Kennedy, whose book Ironweed won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, attended Villano’s book reading at The Book House in Albany,NY, praising Tightrope as a “fine book.” Talese, Villano’s mentor on his non-fiction story going back 25 years, expressed his “congratulations on the completion of Tightrope, after years of dedication.”

And Ken Auletta, the author of five national bestsellers, and the writer of The New Yorker’s “Annals of Communications” since 1992, offered this high praise for Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo and My Brother:

“What an amazing book you’ve written. Mario Cuomo would have cheered. As impressive as your writing style, what blew me away was the honesty, your willingness to dig deep and share with readers your love and distain for the mob choice your brother made, your unabashed admiration for Mario Cuomo, and your inner turmoil throughout. To weave all this into a book, plus the stereotyping of Italian-Americans,is quite a feat. Congratulations!”
—Ken Auletta

Villano’s book is being called “riveting” and a “memoir that reads like a thriller.” It is the true story of two brothers living dramatically different lives, with one working for former Governor Mario M. Cuomo of New York, while the other was associated with John Gotti and the Gambino Crime family.

The author has done a series of book readings and appearances across six states at book stores, universities, public libraries, house parties and hotels, and will begin a second national book tour this month where Villano will talk about Tightrope on Long Island, NY, in New York City, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, DC. The book tour will culminate at the 50th Annual Italian American Studies Association Conference in Washington, DC, where Villano has been invited to read from Tightrope, on Friday, November 3.

Just as the Heliotrope author embarks upon his new book tour which brings Villano to NYC during the Columbus Day weekend, Barnes & Noble purchased hundreds of copies of Tightrope for its bookstores throughout New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Barnes & Noble’s Founder and Chairman Leonard Riggio is the Grand Marshall of this year’s Columbus Day parade being held in NYC. The book is also available on and

The Italian American Studies Association conference at which Villano has been invited to read from Tightrope is among the largest gatherings of Ethnic Studies and Italian American Studies professionals and academics held in the United States. This year’s conference, which is expecting hundreds of attendees, is being held in Washington, DC, November 2-4. Its theme is: Faith, (Ir)reverence, and the Italian Diaspora: FiftyYears of Italian American Studies.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to address academics from EthnicStudies programs across the country,” Villano said. “I will work hard to bring Tightrope into college and high school classrooms, since we need to make the next generation more aware of the pernicious effects of ethnic stereotyping and discrimination.”

Former Newsday Vice-President Chiara Coletti has underscored Tightrope’s importance to the Italian-American experience:

“Rich and insightful, probing the mysteries of the divergent paths of children, the consequences of their choices and the blood bond that holds them together against the odds, and possible against all common sense…It is a book about the Italian-American experience that is also about any immigrant family’s journey.”
Chiara Coletti

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: STEVE VILLANO, a native of Brooklyn, NewYork, is the former head of Governor Mario M. Cuomo’s New York City Press Office, with decades of experience in public service, public education, public health, and as CEO of several national, non-profit organizations. His writing has appeared in mass circulation newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, Newsday, The Albany Times Union, The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, the Napa Valley (CA) Register Newspaper Group, the North Shore (Long Island) Newspaper Group, Working Mother Magazine, Associations Now Magazine, and Today’s Education. His essays have been published on-line on the,, with a subscription of 300,000; on, and on his blog, Radical Correspondence, ( Villano has authored major pieces on ethnic stereotyping in Ambassador Magazine, (the National Italian American Foundation’s 100,000 circulation magazine) about actors Stanley Tucci, JohnTurturro, and the HBO series “The Sopranos.” A labor journalist for the National Education Association for a decade, Villano has written about censorship, the rise of the Far Right in America and about sweatshop conditions at cap and gown factories in New York. Villano presently lives in Northern California.


BOOK NEWS • October 1, 2017 For Galleys, Review Copies, or to interview the author, contact: Naomi Rosenblatt,, 212-674-0008

Tightrope: Balancing a Life Between Mario Cuomo and My Brother,

by Steve Villano

978-1-942762-42-3 trade paperback; 268 pages; $16.50

978-1-942762-41-6 eBook

June 2017, Heliotrope Books, LLC

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