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How the States Got Their Shapes

A New York Times Best Seller, How the States Got Their Shapes became a History Channel series by the same name, hosted by Brian Unger.


A woman whose life is largely lived on fiction moves into the house of a man who has jilted her but intrigues her, telling one and all she is his wife.  Upon discovering this, he – to win the affection of the woman he's loved since childhood – goes along with it, on the condition that they pretend the marriage is on the rocks.

How the States Got Their Shapes Too: The People Behind the Borderlines

No kid has ever been known to say, "When I grow up, I want to establish a state line!"  But many did -- some famous; most not -- but in each case part of a larger quest in their lives that intersected with history in a way that ended up as a lines on the American map.

Mating Dance of the Werewolf

A police officer, embarks on a passionate romance with a woman who is new to town. But her quest for authenticity (asking what would happen if we "let our insides out") unleashes feelings in him that he struggles to understand.  Particularly when she claims to be a werewolf.

American Panic: A History of Who Scares Us and Why

With chapters devoted to African Americans, Native Americans, Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Latinos, Chinese, Japanese, along with Communists, Capitalists, women, and a highly turbulent but largely forgotten panic over Freemasons, American Panic reveals striking similarities in these diverse episodes through primary documents in which statements from the past could easily be mistaken for statements today.



Direct from Death Row the Scottsboro Boys

The Scottsboro Boys have come from eternity to the theater we are in to reenact as "vaudeville" scenes the story of their convictions for gang rape, despite prima facie evidence of their innocence. The historical event was, in many ways, something of a vaudeville. But also, as revealed early on, the first four of the nine to get released (after seven years), appeared within a matter of weeks in a New York vaudeville show.

Vice Capades: Sex, Drugs and Bowling from the Pilgrims to the Present

While laws against nude dancing have become less restrictive, laws restricting sexual harassment have been enacted. While marijuana is no longer illegal everywhere, restrictive laws have been enacted against cigarettes. Vice Capades examines how the (not necessarily nefarious) powers-that-be in each era determine what is or is not deemed a vice.


"Stein formulates an astute, fascinating...treatise on why vices became such hot-button issues in past eras yet tend to normalize and often empower." -- Kirkus Reviews

At Long Last Leo

Leo has recently completed a 638-page manifesto on interconnectedness and harmony which he hopes will be the impetus for the next major social movement in the world. Arriving home to his family – his depressed mother, inept father, confused sister, introverted nephew and a neighbor who has (secretly) always been in love with him – Leo tries to test his principles on this group. The only problem is he can't get them to read the manifesto. Leo's visit does, however, bring change to the family.

Lyrical Works

Over the years, Mark Stein's lyrical works have appeared in Nimrod, Michigan Quarterly, Confrontation, Madison Review, Moment magazine, Exposition Review, Eclectica, Burningword Journal, and elsewhere.