Stephanie Schorow: Writer, journalist, author, teacher

My new book is out! See release below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Caitlin Dow (617) 423-0840 caitlin@unionparkpress.com

New Book Resurrects Boston’s Combat Zone

Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston’s Most Notorious Neighborhood


Upscale restaurants, majestic theaters, and luxury condos line the streets of downtown Boston today. Students, office workers, doctors, and shoppers navigate the busy sidewalks along Washington and Boylston Streets, giving little thought to the historical significance of their surroundings. The bustle distracts passersby from what may be the city’s dirtiest little secret: these blocks were once home to Boston’s most notorious neighborhood. The Combat Zone, a five-plus-acre, city- sanctioned adult entertainment district, was as sordid and alluring as anything found in Amsterdam or Vegas. Indeed, Boston’s now tony neighborhood once resembled the set of HBO’s The Deuce, all with the blessing of city officials.

In her provocative new book, Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston’s Most Notorious Neighborhood (Union Park Press, 2017) veteran reporter Stephanie Schorow recounts the stories that made the Zone infamous. Meet the dancers who stripped to punk rock, the cops who tried to keep order on the streets, and the hookers who turned tricks and slipped wallets from gullible tourists. Go beyond the enticing marquees promoting all-nude revues to discover how the Zone—in an era dogged by miserable economics— remained one of Boston’s most profitable neighborhoods.

With Inside the Combat Zone, Schorow examines the constitutional and societal issues that led Boston to engineer an audacious social experiment, heralded across the nation as the solution to the pornography epidemic. She introduces the players who made it all possible and the antics and tragedies that unfolded as a result of their decisions. The streets come alive through interviews with former city planners, strippers, and porn merchants. Some nostalgically recall the Combat Zone as a seductive adult playground where men and women alike found the freedom to express themselves; others remember it as a dangerous, crime-ridden neighborhood. Schorow deftly captures a moment in Boston’s history that helped shape the city today—and that will likely never be seen again.
Schorow is the author of a series of books on Boston history, including Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits, The Cocoanut Grove Fire, and The Crime of the Century: How the Brink’s Robbers Stole Millions and the Hearts of Boston. She has worked as an editor and reporter for the Boston Herald, the Associated Press, and numerous other publications.
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About Stephanie Schorow

An experienced freelance writer, journalist, author, teacher, clay artist, avid gardener and cat lover, I have lived in Boston since 1989.

I am the author, co-author or editor of seven nonfiction books, including: Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits, published by Union Park Press in 2012, and, with co-author Beverly Ford, The Boston Mob Guide: Hit Men, Hoodlums & Hideouts, published in December 2011, by the History Press.

I have also written books on the Boston Harbor Islands, Boston's fire history, the tragic Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire and the infamous Brink's robbery. For more on my books, see Works.

My book on the Brink's robbery is under option and currently being developed as a TV series.

I freelance on a variety of topics, from lifestyle and travel to health and medical technology. I write a Dining Out Column for the Boston Globe North section and "ghost blog" for professors in MIT's Sloan School. I served as the politics and society editor for The Conversation.com/US, a start-up news and commentary web site that matches academic rigor with journalistic flare. For samples of my recent freelance writers, see RECENT ARTICLES on the right.

I also teach journalism and professional writing at Regis College in Weston and community education courses on freelance writing and history writing.

See Biography for more information.

If you're looking for a dynamic speaker for your organization, group, library or club, please consider booking Stephanie Schorow


Speaking on Drinking Boston at the Old South Meeting House.
I have a become a much-sought-after speaker who spices her presentations with images, videos and artifacts. Here's what I can talk about:

Drinking Boston: A historical pub crawl through the taverns, speakeasies and nightclubs of Boston.
From the drama of the "Blue Blazer" to the mystery of the "Ward 8," Stephanie serves up a cocktail of pop culture, history and anecdotes. Couple this with dinner and drinks and you'll have event that will have people talking. The talk covers Boston's drinking history, beginning in the Colonial period and continuing through Prohibition and into Boston's craft cocktail scene.

The Tragedy of the Cocoanut Grove Fire
This 1942 nightclub fire killed nearly 500 people and burned through the heart of Boston. Stephanie recounts the events that led to the fire, its investigation and its enduring mysteries. New information continues to come forward and Stephanie brings the latest to life. She also leaves time for people to share their stories of the Grove, making for a moving, interactive event.

The Boston Mob Guide: Hit Men, Hoodlums and Hideouts
With partner-in-crime Beverly Ford, Stephanie takes a walk on Boston's wild side with the bady boys of the Hub. The gals trace the history of organized crime in Boston from its roots in the 1910s and 1920s to the latest on Whitey Bulger and his convictions. With compassion for victims as well as intriguing details on the mobsters, Bev and Stephanie paint an indelible portait of the murder and mayhem.

Fire! Boston Burning
Stephanie looks at the fires that have shaped Boston's history from the Colonial period to the arson rings of the 1970s and 1980s.

The Crime of the Century: The Brink's Job
In January of 1950, a band of misfit thieves broke into the Brink's armored car headquarters in Boston's North End and pulled off the largest robbery in U.S. history. The Crime of the Century went unsolved for six years and police only cracked the case when one of the robbers turned stool pigeon. Much of the money was never recovered. Stephanie uses historical images, FBI evidence, movie clips and humor to bring the story of the Brink's heist to life.

Girls Night Out -- 1891 Style
In July of 1891, four intrepid woman spent 10 days sojourning on Great Brewster Island in Boston Harbor. One kept a diary which provides a fascinating look into the lives of women in the 1890s as well as the history -- flora, fauna and bovine -- of the Harbor Islands. Stephanie plays detective, tracking elusive details from the illustrated diary and invites the audiences to be sleuths along with her.

To see videos of various presentations, go to the Works section of this Web site and click on one of the books listed. To schedule a lecture, please email me at sschorow (at) comcast (dot) net