Brill, Steven 1950-
BRILL, Steven 1950-
PERSONAL: Born 1950. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1972, J.D., 1975.
CAREER: Assistant to Mayor John Lindsay, New York, NY, 1972-73; contributing editor and columnist to New York magazine, 1974-76; Esquire magazine, New York, NY, law columnist and writer, 1977-79; American Lawyer magazine, New York, NY, founder and editor-in-chief, 1978-82; AM-LAW Publishing Corp., New York, NY, executive vice president, 1978-82; Courtroom TV Network, American Lawyer Media, L.P., president, chief executive officer, and editor in chief, 1982—; currently a columnist, Newsweek. Consultant to the Police Foundation, Washington, DC, 1975-77, and to the National Broadcasting Corp (NBC-TV). Founder, Brill's Content magazine, 1998-2001.
MEMBER: Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: John Hancock Award, 1976, for excellence in business journalism; National Magazine award for Essays and Criticism, 1983; National Magazine award, 1991.
Firearm Abuse: A Research and Policy Report, Police Foundation (Washington, DC), 1977.
The Teamsters, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1978.
(With others) Trial by Jury, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1989.
After: How America Confronted the September 12th Era, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Journalist and founder of such magazines as American Lawyer and Brill's Content, as well as Courtroom TV, Steven Brill is also the author of such books as The Teamsters and After: How America Confronted the September 12th Era. Before the former appeared in print, there was speculation that it provided the solution to Jimmy Hoffa's murder. Rumors circulated that Brill had a taped confession about the Hoffa murder—a charge that Brill flatly denied. Actually, Brill's reconstruction of the crime is similar to the one previously made by the FBI. Brill theorizes that the Mafia, alarmed by Hoffa's determination to resume leadership of the Teamsters, decided to end the labor leader's life. He asserts that Anthony Provenzano (Tony Pro) was involved in the killing, and charges that Provenzano received orders from Russell Bufalino, a New York mobster. One new piece of information in The Teamsters is its claim that Hoffa's body was destroyed at a refuse-disposal plant owned by two Detroit crime figures. Thus far, no witnesses have come forth to confirm Brill's suspicions. The book concerns more than just Hoffa, however; much of it chronicles the history of the union itself, so the issue concerning Hoffa's disappearance is just one of many in The Teamsters.
More recently, Brill received attention for his 2003 book, After, in which he details the events and experiences of several key players after the terrorism attacks of September 11, 2001. A lengthy work at over seven hundred pages, After impressed several critics with its extensive research, which covers everything from issues involving national security and the government's reaction to the events, to portrayals of some of the victims and leaders such as Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, and New York Senator Charles Schumer. The book, furthermore, reveals how in the panicked aftermath many mistakes were made, yet as National Review contributor Jay Nordlinger pointed out, Brill "is immensely understanding of the administration" and "has great sympathy for people who made mistakes." On the other hand, Nordlinger asserted that people who cooperated with Brill by granting interviews are portrayed in a much better light than those who did not: "Obviously, Steven Brill has favorites here, and non-favorites. Those who gave him access seem to have been rewarded; those who did not … were not. Tom Ridge is a white hat, and he deserves to be. But Tom DeLay—who did not cooperate with Brill—is a caricature."
A Publishers Weekly critic further noted that After is not well organized and, thus, can be overly long and "repetitive." Nevertheless, many reviewers of After appreciated the effort that went into it. The Publishers Weekly reviewer, for one, said that although "Brill is no prose stylist … [he] often displays formidable journalistic research, sharp reporting and lively characterization." Library Journal writer Karl Helicher called the book an "absorbing narrative of how Americans responded to personal, social, political, and economic upheavals." And Nordlinger concluded that "After is a good idea, a feat of reporting, and a public service."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Austin American-Statesman (Austin, TX), April 6, 2003, Steve Weinberg, "Scared New World," p. K5.
Book, May-June, 2003, Eric Wargo, review of After: How America Confronted the September 12 Era, p. 81.
Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY), May 14, 2003, Anthony Violanti, "Post 9/11 Examination Gets to the Heart of the Story," p. D1.
Business Insurance, May 26, 2003, Mark A. Hofmann, "Ambitious Effort Depicts 9/11 Aftermath," p. 9.
Library Journal, April 15, 2003, Karl Helicher, review of After, p. 106.
National Review, Jay Nordlinger, "After Care."
Newsweek, October 2, 1978.
New York Law Journal Magazine, June, 2003, Made-laine Miller, review of After, p. 46.
New York Observer, April 28, 2003, Chris Suellentrop, "Brill's Multi-Pronged Narrative Posits 9/11 Improved Our World," p. 21.
New York Times, June 29, 1978; April 3, 2003, Janet Maslin, "Tough Enough to Face a World Transformed," p.E10.
New York Times Book Review, April 20, 2003, Robert Stone, "The Survivors," p. 10.
Publishers Weekly, March 17, 2003, review of After, p. 65.
Mother Jones, http://www.motherjones.com/ (September-October, 1998), James Ledbetter, "The Mother Jones Interview: Steven Brill."
NOW with Bill Moyers, http://www.pbs.org/now/ (April 18, 2003), "Steven Brill Talks with Bill Moyers about Life after 9/12."*