Heliotrope Books’ Author, Steve Villano, Selected to Read at National Conference



For Galleys, Review Copies, or to interview the author,

contact: Naomi Rosenblatt, heliotropebooks@gmail.com, 212-674-0008


NEW YORK CITY, NY, – Steve Villano, whose newly released memoir

Tightrope: Balancing a Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother, is

already receiving praise, has been selected by the Italian American

Studies Association to read an excerpt at the 50th Annual Italian

American Studies/National Italian American Foundation Conference

in Washington, DC. The honor is one rarely accorded to new

authors, especially those who’ve written books for a general audience.


The Italian American Studies Association conference 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. It’s theme is: Faith, (Ir)reverence,

and the Italian Diaspora: Fifty Years of Italian American Studies.

Praise for “Tightrope:”

“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, former vice-president of Newsday


Villano’s book is being called 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.

Congratulations are coming in from renowned writers like Gay Talese, and former colleagues from the Administration of Mario M. Cuomo like Sara Lundine. Legendary WNBC-TV Newsman, Gabe Pressman—who died this summer after more than sixty years of reporting on New York & national stories, winning anEdward R. Murrow and Peabody Award—gave a powerful endorsement for the book, and its author:

From Gabe Pressman:


Steve Villano is a passionate and compassionate man with whom I’ve worked over the years—following
the political trials and tribulations of his then-boss, Governor Mario Cuomo. Steve’s loyalty to Cuomo
and his deep understanding of Cuomo’s character and his leadership skills is what gives this book special
meaning for me. His depiction of this period in history is spot on, and especially powerful for me is his
careful recounting of the moment I informed Steve of a death threat on Mario Cuomo’s life. He handled
that high tension with grace, while also balancing the knowledge of his brother’s association with
Gambino Family crime boss John Gotti. Tightrope is of special interest to me—to learn the fascinating
story of how Steve managed the love he had for his brother, with the love and devotion he had for Mario Cuomo.”


A former labor journalist, speechwriter, essayist, poet, and documentary film writer, with his work appearing across numerous national media outlets and platforms, Steve Villano worked for GovernorMario M. Cuomo of New York, from 1985-1993. During that same time, there were several national boomlets for Cuomo to run for President. Meanwhile, Villano’s brother was associated with JohnGotti of the Gambino Crime family.

Within days of of each other in December, 1985, Gotti became the head of the Gambino Crime Family, following the murder of Paul Castellano—and Cuomo, upon Ted Kennedy’s withdrawal from consideration for the 1988 Democratic Party’s nomination for President, became a national contender for the Presidency, in the judgment of many politicians and members of the media.

In Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo & MyBrother, Villano shares the wrenching conflict between his family’s ties to organized crime and his love for his brother, his own integrity and his commitment to Mario Cuomo and public service.

That commitment to public service and to Mario Cuomo, was underscored by former Administration colleague Sara Lundine:

From Sara Lundine:


“I finished Tightrope last week. It was a quick read for me because once I started, I couldn’t put it down. I
found it to be honest, brave, well-researched, well-documented, gripping & compelling. . . You captured
beautifully the essence of Mario Cuomo, as well as the intimacy of family struggles. Bravo!”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: STEVE VILLANO, a native of Brooklyn, New York, 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’sEducation. His essays have been published on-line on the WritersDigest.com, www.thenationalmemo.com,, with a subscription circulation of 300,000; on Medium.com., and on his blog, Radical Correspondence, (www.socialvisionproductions.com.

Villano has authored major pieces on ethnic stereotypingin Ambassador Magazine, (the National Italian American Foundation’s100,000 circulation magazine) about actors Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, and the HBO series “The Sopranos.”

Villano presently lives in Northern California.


Tightrope: Balancing a Life Between Mario Cuomo and My Brother by Steve Villano

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



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