1973: Rock at the Crossroads by Andrew Grant JacksonWelcome to...1973, the year that ushered in a sea change for many of rock music's biggest acts, heralded the arrival of new talents, and saw the rising popularity of genre offshoots including punk, reggae, hip hop, funk, disco, and outlaw country.
Why you might like it: Andrew Grant Jackson's engaging season-by-season chronicle reveals how a transformative moment in music reflected the social and cultural developments of a fractured era.
Book buzz: 1973 is the follow-up to Jackson's 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music.
Switched on Pop : How Popular Music Works & Why It Matters
by Nate Sloan
Switched on Pop is the book based on the eponymous podcast that has been hailed by NPR, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and Entertainment Weekly for its witty and accessible analysis of Top 40 hits. Through close studies of sixteen modern classics, musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding shift pop from the background to the foreground, illuminating the essential musical concepts behind two decades of chart-topping songs.
Disney's Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World by Richard SnowWhat it is: a lively, well-researched chronicle of the development of Disneyland, the iconic California amusement park that opened in 1955.
Read it for: profiles of the workers who tirelessly helped make the park a reality, like former United States Navy admiral and submarine designer Joe Fowler, who built the Mark Twain Riverboat.
Try this next: David Koenig's Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World offers an immersive behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Disney's east coast park.
Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark HarrisStarring: directors Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston, George Stevens, and William Wyler, who put their talents to use during World War II by creating military training films, propaganda, and documentaries.
Read it for: a perceptive look at how the war impacted their lives and careers -- particularly Stevens, whose experiences filming the horrors of Dachau informed his directing of 1959's The Diary of Anne Frank.
Media buzz: Five Came Back is the basis for the Emmy Award-winning Netflix docuseries of the same name narrated by Meryl Streep.
We'll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most... by Noah IsenbergWhat it is: a page-turning chronicle of the production of 1942 classic Casablanca, chock-full of fascinating behind-the-scenes tidbits; a nostalgic celebration of the film's enduring legacy.
Did you know? Dooley Wilson, the actor who portrayed pianist Sam, didn't know how to play the piano; many of the film's supporting cast were real-life European refugees who can be seen during the emotional "La Marseillaise" scene.
Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood by Karina LongworthWhat it's about: how eccentric businessman and aviator Howard Hughes became a successful film producer, often at the expense of the actresses he sought to employ -- and control.
Why you should read it: Rife with sobering parallels to the #MeToo movement, Seduction illuminates the long and troubling history of Hollywood power players' exploitation of women.
Author alert: Film historian Karina Longworth is the creator and host of the popular classic Hollywood podcast You Must Remember This.
Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American... by Anne Helen PetersenWhat it is: a thoughtful re-appraisal of some of Hollywood's earliest scandals that reveals how public perception of stars' off-screen misdeeds reflected the tensions surrounding evolving social norms.
Topics include: Fatty Arbuckle's rape case; the smear campaign that derailed "It Girl" Clara Bow's career; Mae West's arrest for indecency; Rudolph Valentino's "slave bracelet."
Reviewers say: "brisk and lively" (Library Journal).
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