REVIEWS AND AWARDS
THE BELLY OF THE BEAST
The editors of the ABA Law Blog selected Steve's Blog, "The Belly of the Beast," as one of the 100 best blogs of 2010 (out of more than 3,000 in its directory)
"A page-turning story...very creative, very entertaining, and very informative...." -- Steven Lubet, Professor of Law, Northwestern University
"There are mysteries behind mysteries, betrayals beyond betrayal, and clever plotting that keeps the reader turning pages and wondering...Harper knows his law, and he knows his writing. He's definitely a new author to watch...." --Gather.com
"A novel worth reading... a jeremiad...on the baby boomer generation's failure of stewardship." -- The American Lawyer>
FROM SCOTT TUROW: "This wonderful book is one of a kind - part thriller, part history, and part love story of an unusual sort: of a son for his father and the very different life he led. Crossing Hoffa is gripping, tender, and intriguing - pure pleasure on every page."
- Author of Presumed Innocent, Limitations and other best-sellers.
FROM CHARLES BRANDT: "This is riveting eyewitness history preserved for all time; a wise portrait of a courageous and quixotic father by his son; a sobering look at a trucker up against the ruthless Godfather of the labor movement at its zenith. Harper leads the reader - as he was led - from clue to fascinating clue, uncovering the mystery of why Hoffa put a hit on his father and why his father got in Hoffa's path and wouldn't back off. Bravo."
- Author of "I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa
FROM THE WASHINGTON CITY PAPER: "This is American history at its best: told from the ground up." (Justin Moyer)
FROM BLOOMBERG NEWS: "Fascinating and moving...an engaging mixture of labor history, dual biography, and family remembrance." (Thom Weidlich)
FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: "While local labor insurgencies are commonplace in labor histories, it is rare to find one informed by such a depth of personal knowledge and understanding...An entertaining account of one son's attempt to better understand the legacy of his father." (Aaron Max Berkowitz)
FROM THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: "A son's love letter to his father, the story of James Harper's tortured journey from the thoughtlessly devastating sin of his youth to a hard-earned redemption of a full-grown man." (Joe Kolina)
FROM THE AMERICAN LAWYER: "In this tightly woven and gritty account of his late father's role as a reform-minded Minneapolis labor leader, long-time Kirkland & Ellis litigation partner and first-time author Steven Harper provides a poignant and personal narrative of one man's battle against the corruption of former Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa in the early 1960s. Harper draws on his childhood experiences and the contents of his father's lockbox (discovered after his death) to bring us inside Teamsters Local 544, a chapter with strong Hoffa ties. The elder Harper's anticorruption efforts drew the ire of the well-connected union boss, who the author says was furious with the 'local insurgency' at a time when the Teamsters were under federal investigation. While Hoffa himself has been written about ad nauseum, Harper's tale takes readers on a journey into the trenches of the labor battles." (Brian Baxter)
FROM STEVEN LUBET: "Steven Harper has written an elegant and moving account of his late father's pyrrhic confrontation with Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa. This book should be a model for every memoirist, journalist, or historian interested in writing about the human side of the labor movement, and it is a must-read for anyone else who cares about families and their struggles."
- Professor of Law, Director of Northwestern University's Program on Advocacy and Professionalism, and author of Murder in Tombstone: The Forgotten Trial of Wyatt Earp and numerous other books
FROM BOOKLIST:"First-time author Harper presents a tale of mystery and intrigue that begins after his father's death, when he discovered the secret contents of a locked metal box that had never left his father's side. The father, James Harper, had been an over-the-road truck driver and a card-carrying member of the Teamster's Union in the early 1960s, when corruption ran rampant under the leadership of then-president Jimmy Hoffa. The documents that Harper found led him on an investigative mission to uncover the truth about the fear and secrecy that dominated his household when he was a young child. Although the elder Harper could have led a routine life as a Teamster's driver, he distinguished himself by going on a one-man crusade to clean up corruption among the leaders of his Teamster's Local 544, a prominent Minneapolis chapter with significant connections to Hoffa himself. The resulting attention raised the ire of the powerful union boss and brought untold danger upon James Harper and his young family. Although much has been written about the enigmatic Hoffa, Harper's revelations present a unique and personal perspective." (David Siegfried
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FROM THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE: "The book is at its best when it relates stories passed from father to son: an ominous dinner with a nameless 'friend' of Hoffa's - a mob character, we're led to assume; a meeting with Hoffa at the Pick-Nicollet Hotel; a harrowing truck ride down Hwy. 61 near Winona." (Casey Common)
FROM THE ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS: "Turns a footnote of labor history into a book about how one man tried to end graft at a Teamsters local in a courageous quest for redemption." (Mary Ann Grossman)
FROM WILLIAM SWANSON: "Everybody of a certain age remembers Jimmy Hoffa, but, until this indelible account, few of us knew Jim Harper, an uncommonly brave and resourceful common man. Our sense of a not-so-distant time and place is all the richer for having made his acquiantance."
- Author of Dial M: The Murder of Carol Thompson
FROM BOOK NEWS: "Richard W. Leopold was an historian of American foreign policy at Northwestern University. While his books and articles are still relevant, his greatest legacy was an influence on three generations of students, some of whom, like George McGovern and Richard Gephardt, went on to help form foreign policy. One of those students, Steven Harper, has drawn on Leopold's private papers, published works, interviews of Leopold and his own memories to produce a loving biography of his former professor. More than a tribute, the book is also the story of the last century in America and the experience of a non-practicing Jew caught between total assimilation and anti-Semitism."
- Annotation copyright@Book News Inc., Portland, OR, www.booknews.com
FROM JOHN PALMER: "Captures the spirit, soul and talent of the most inspiring teacher I have ever known...A well-written book about an extraordinary human being."
- Former international and White House correspondent for NBC News
FROM GEORGIE ANNE GEYER: "We Americans live too much in unhistorical bubbles, protected from the cleansing knowledge of time and man's history. And so, how greatly we need this well-written book about one of our greatest twentieth century teachers! Here, in the amazing and inspiring life of Richard Leopold, a man impassioned by excellence, we can see and feel one of the great and searching historic minds of our time -- and grapple with our past anew. Personally, I am immensely comforted and inspired by this rare narrative of a man who never bent the truth."
- Syndicated columnist, Universal Press Syndicate, and author of Guerilla Prince and other books
FROM JOHN MORTON BLUM: "There are few great teachers in any generation. One such during the second half of the twentieth century was Richard W. Leopold, a professor of the history of American foreign policy at Harvard and Northwestern. Steven J. Harper has caught the spirit and tone of Dick Leopold's life and career in this graceful, admiring biography which aptly describes the stunning qualities of instruction, academic citizenship, and professional scholarship that Leopold exemplified in his distinguished career."
- Sterling Professor of History (emeritus) at Yale University and author of The Republican Roosevelt, V was for Victory and other books