Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Steve Fiffer  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: 1945 in Chicago, Illinois

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Fiffer lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Fiffer is a lawyer, journalist, and author. His personal essays and features have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, and the Midwesterner.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

A Season for Justice: The Life and Times of Civil Rights Lawyer Morris Dees
ISBN: 0671778757

Touchstone Books. 1992

The grandson of a Klansman, who engineered the landmark civil suit that bankrupted the Ku Klux Klan, recounts the story of his battles against racism in the New South

50 Ways to Help Your Community: A Handbook for Change
ISBN: 038547234X

Main Street Books. 1994

If you’re concerned about the future of our children, the quality of our schools, the safety of our neighborhoods, the homeless or hungry, battered women, abused children, the elderly, or the environment, 50 Ways to Help Your Community provides powerful examples and easy-to-follow instructions so you can make a difference in your community.


The people in this book are ordinary men, women, and youngsters who have started programs that you can become a part of, replicate, or adapt to your own community. Among those you will meet are:


-Brian Harries, a teenager who fosters racial understanding by pairing pen pals of various ethnicities
-Lou Ann Frees, a grandmother who enlists senior citizens to teach and nurture latchkey kids after school
-Bottomless Closet, a group of professional women who provide suitable clothing to job-ready women
-Pepper Provenzano, a modern-day Johnny Appleseed who organizes tree plantings in urban areas


Award-winning authors, Steve and Sharon Sloan Fiffer, have collected 50 stories that show how individuals, families, parent-teacher groups, students, service organizations, congregations, and corporations can turn their raw inspiration into action that will change the world—one community at a time.

Three Quarters, Two Dimes and a Nickel: A Memoir of Becoming Whole
ISBN: B000FC0VLG

Free Press. 1999

What would you do if you were seventeen years old and broke your neck? It's tough enough to stand on the verge of adulthood without the extra burden of not being able to stand at all. Steve Fiffer had his whole life ahead of him in December 1967 when he fractured his fifth cervical vertebra in a wrestling accident at school, shattering his dreams. The diagnosis was quadriplegia, and his parents were told that he would never walk again. Steve, however, was not content to accept such a fate. He had always been taught that he was a leader, not a follower, and he was not going to take this news lying down. Within five months he was out of the hospital, within seven he was on crutches, and within nine he was beginning his freshman year at Yale University. And most remarkable of all, he never lost his wisecracking sense of humor or his hunger for all that life has to offer.
Three Quarters, Two Dimes, and a Nickel is Steve Fiffer's story of his coming of age, and of how he created a normal life for himself despite his injury. Steve refused to be consumed or defined by his physical condition

he may not be a dollar bill, he explains, but he's still "three quarters, two dimes, and a nickel." His battle to come back from his injury casts into sharp relief the drama of becoming an adult and wrestling with issues of identity, relationships, and ambition. We join him around the dinner table as he rebuilds his once-distant relationship with his father and gains a new appreciation of their bond

we agonize with him as he tries to find true love (or at least lose his virginity) despite his self-consciousness about his physical awkwardness, and we join him at the Lawson YMCA in downtown Chicago, where he rebuilds his body under the watchful eye of the manic physical-fitness coach Dick Woit, a retired football star who puts Steve through a sort of boot camp to raise his sights even higher and propel him off his crutches for good. Part guru, part drill instructor, Woit helps Steve to develop the mental toughness to put the injury behind him and to embrace adulthood and all its responsibilities.
By turns poignant, darkly comic, and ultimately triumphant, Three Quarters, Two Dimes, and a Nickel is an affirmation of how the ordinary joys of life can win out even in extraordinary circumstances.

Tyrannosaurus Sue: The Extraordinary Saga of Largest, Most Fought Over T. Rex Ever Found
ISBN: 0716794624

W. H. Freeman. 2001

Over 65 million years ago in what is now South Dakota, a battle-scarred Tyrannosaurus rex matriarch―perhaps mortally wounded in a ferocious fight―fell into the riverbed and died. In 1990 her skeleton was found, virtually complete, in what many have called the most spectacular dinosaur fossil discovery to date.

And then another battle began - a "survival of the fittest" free-for-all involving commercial dinosaur hunters, gun-toting law officers, an ambitious federal prosecutor, a Native American tribe, jealous academics, an enterprising auction house, major museums, and corporate giants, all making their claim for the dinosaur named Sue. Before it was over, there would be claims and counterclaims

charges of checkbook-polluted science, criminal larceny, and vengeful prosecutions

and devastating prison terms. And the gavel would come down on the largest-ever ($8.36 million) auction price tag for a fossil, paid by Chicago's Field Museum, with help from Disney and McDonald's.

Capturing the whole range of characters and issues embroiled in the fight for Sue, author Steve Fiffer communicates both the excitement over Sue's discovery and the motivations, maneuverings, and absurdities of the various forces attempting to control her destiny.

THREE QUARTERS, TWO DIMES, AND A NICKEL: A MEMOIR OF BECOMING WHOLE
ISBN: 068485418X

Free Press. 1999

What would you do if you were seventeen years old and broke your neck? Steve Fiffer had his whole life ahead of him in December 1967 when he fractured his fifth cervical vertebra in a wrestling accident at school, shattering his dreams. The diagnosis was quadriplegia, and his parents were told that he would never walk again. Within five months he was out of the hospital, within seven he was on crutches, and within nine he was beginning his freshman year at Yale University. And most remarkable of all, he never lost his wisecracking sense of humor or his hunger for all that life has to offer.
Three Quarters, Two Dimes, and a Nickel is Steve Fiffer's story of his coming of age, and of how he created a normal life for himself despite his injury. We join him around the dinner table as he rebuilds his once distant relationship with his father and gains a new appreciation of their bond

we agonize with him as he tries to find true love (or at least lose his virginity) despite his self-consciousness about his physical awkwardness, and we join him at the Lawson YMCA in downtown Chicago, where he rebuilds his body under the watchful eye of the manic physical-fitness coach Dick Woit.

Tyrannosaurus Sue
ISBN: 1596005009

Brilliance Audio. 2004

In 1990, Peter Larson, with his team of commercial fossil hunters from the Black Hills Institute, discovered the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen in history. He dubbed it "Sue" after the field paleontologist who first saw it sticking out of a sandstone cliff on the ranch of Maurice Williams, a Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe member in South Dakota's badlands. Because the skelton was 90% complete, its study promised to yield up priceless information on the life and habits of the T Rex. Larson made out a check to Williams for $5,000 to purchase the bones, and planned to make Sue the centerpiece of a museum that he and his brother had dreamed for years of building. In 1992, however, federal agents raided the Institute and seized Sue, triggering the greatest custody battle in paleontological history. In the end, Sue would be auctioned off to Chicago's Field Museum. Tyrannosaurus Sue is the definitive insider's look at how this dramatic discovery, and the ensuing legal struggle, played out. Everyone from the Jurrasic Park crowd of dinosaur lovers to those who delight in a well-told, exciting true story will enjoy this audiobook.


Awards

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