100 books like Pictures at a Revolution

By Mark Harris,

Here are 100 books that Pictures at a Revolution fans have personally recommended if you like Pictures at a Revolution. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Devil's Candy: The Anatomy of a Hollywood Fiasco

Ben Fritz Author Of The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies

From my list on behind the scenes in Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent most of my 20-year career as a professional journalist covering the entertainment industry, and I find it endlessly fascinating. As is probably true for you if you’re reading this, I love movies and TV shows. As a curious person, I always want to know why. Why did this movie get made at this time with these people? If you want to know the answer, you’ve got to understand the business. Hollywood is such an interesting business, full of big personalities trying to manage corporate pressure and creative egos and to balance their need to make a profit with their desire to make great art.

Ben's book list on behind the scenes in Hollywood

Ben Fritz Why did Ben love this book?

The perfect companion to Final Cut from a radically different perspective. Salamon is a journalist who was given extraordinary access by director Brian De Palma during the making of The Bonfire of the Vanities, which, like Heaven’s Gate, turned out to be an infamous flop.

Salamon was on set constantly and shows just how difficult it was for De Palma to manage a massive production and try to keep his vision intact; the difficulty of managing stars like Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, and Melanie Griffith; and the pressure studios put on filmmakers as budgets escalate and the desperation to release a hit skyrockets.

By Julie Salamon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Devil's Candy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Brian De Palma agreed to allow Julie Salamon unlimited access to the film production of Tom Wolfe's best-selling book The Bonfire of the Vanities , both director and journalist must have felt like they were on to something big. How could it lose? But instead Salamon got a front-row seat at the Hollywood disaster of the decade. She shadowed the film from its early stages through the last of the eviscerating reviews, and met everyone from the actors to the technicians to the studio executives. They'd all signed on for a blockbuster, but there was a sense of impending…


Book cover of The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood

Reid Mitenbuler Author Of Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation

From my list on Hollywood history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only am I fascinated by old Hollywood history, I’m also interested in the creative processes that produce great art. Everyone approaches their craft a little differently, and it’s always illuminating to discover how different people do what they do. In my own work, I like to explore how creative people come to their Eureka! moments, and hope that I’ll be able to learn something from their experiences.

Reid's book list on Hollywood history

Reid Mitenbuler Why did Reid love this book?

Sam Wasson is simply a good writer, crafting tight narratives that help this book read like a novel. The best part of this book is its examination of the creative process: in order for Chinatown to get made the way it did, a million (maybe two million) things needed to align in just the right way. The movie easily could have failed, but Wasson shows how the contributions of its many collaborators saved it.

By Sam Wasson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Big Goodbye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sight & Sound's #1 Film Book of 2020

Chinatown is the Holy Grail of 1970s cinema. Its ending is the most notorious in American film and its closing line of dialogue the most haunting. Here for the first time is the incredible true story of its making. In Sam Wasson's telling, it becomes the defining story of its most colorful characters. Here is Jack Nicholson at the height of his powers, embarking on his great, doomed love affair with Anjelica Huston. Here is director Roman Polanski, both predator and prey, haunted by the savage murder of his wife, returning to…


Book cover of Orson Welles's Last Movie: The Making of The Other Side of the Wind

Chris Nashawaty Author Of Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story

From my list on the making of a movie.

Why am I passionate about this?

Chris Nashawaty is a writer, editor and former Entertainment Weekly movie critic whose work regularly appears in Esquire, Vanity Fair, and Sports Illustrated. He is also the author of Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story and Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candystripe Nurses--Roger Corman: King of the B-Movie. He is currently working on a book about eight sci-fi movies from the summer of 1982 that changed Hollywood. He lives in Westport, Connecticut.

Chris' book list on the making of a movie

Chris Nashawaty Why did Chris love this book?

I’ve been a fan of Josh Karp’s for years. So much so, that at this point I just blindly trust his taste. If he thinks something is worth writing about, I tend to end up agreeing. In Orson Welles’ Last Movie, he puts on his private-eye hat and starts digging into the legendary Citizen Kane director’s unfinished final film, The Other Side of the Wind (it was completed after Karp’s book was published and aired on Netflix). Yes, the story is about an auteur’s quest to realize his vision against crushing odds, but it’s also about something much larger—a promising young genius who tragically flamed out too soon and battled with every last breath and cent to do what he was born to do. Parts of it almost read like a Shakespearian tragedy.

By Josh Karp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Orson Welles's Last Movie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Come Along...with Orson Welles as he returns to Hollywood in Summer 1970, to make an innovative comeback movie, The Other Side of the Wind, about a legendary director who wants to make an innovative comeback movie. Watch...Welles attempt to create a Citizen Kane-like masterpiece that will restore his career. See...Welles at his most Wellesian: clever, crazed; masterful, maniacal; kind, cruel; enlightened, enraged; in command and out of control. Costarring John Huston...the hard-drinking, cigar-smoking adventurer and filmmaker who portrays Jake Hannaford, the hard-drinking, cigar-smoking adventurer and filmmaker at the center of the film. Running Time: A two-hour movie...about a single day...that…


Book cover of The Jaws Log

Carleton Eastlake Author Of Monkey Business

From my list on what Hollywood is really like.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been a Hollywood writer for thirty years, and now written a novel that although satirical still accurately describes the creation of a TV series, I’ve long been amazed at how many Hollywood stories – including films made in Hollywood – offer fantasies that have even less to do with the reality of love and work in film and television than Game of Thrones does with the real Middle Ages. I’ve written fantasy myself, but for people fascinated by Hollywood, or who want to work in film and TV, there’s a reason too to read books that capture the reality, especially when like the books listed here, they do so astonishingly well.

Carleton's book list on what Hollywood is really like

Carleton Eastlake Why did Carleton love this book?

In my book club I’m known as Second Carl, since Carl Gottlieb has been a member far longer than I. In fact, I was still a lawyer in Washington, D.C. secretly dreaming about Hollywood but never suspecting I’d someday myself work on a Spielberg TV series, when I read this short, fast, now revered account of the filming of Spielberg’s breakout film. It proved to be a deeply accurate and comprehensive description – and warning – about what life and work on location and in Hollywood itself would be like. It’s also so engagingly readable and relevant, a Broadway musical based on the book is in tryouts as I write these words.

By Carl Gottlieb,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Jaws Log as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of 3 Oscars [registered] and the highest grossing film of its time, "Jaws" was a phenomenon, and this is the only book on how 26-year-old Steven Spielberg transformed Peter Benchley's best-selling novel into the classic film it became. Hired by Spielberg as a screenwriter to work with him on the set while the movie was being made, Carl Gottlieb, and actor and writer, was there throughout the production that starred Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss. After filming was over, with Spielberg's cooperation, Gottlieb chronicled the extraordinary year-long adventure in "The Jaws Log", which was first published in…


Book cover of The Moon's a Balloon

Reid Mitenbuler Author Of Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation

From my list on Hollywood history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only am I fascinated by old Hollywood history, I’m also interested in the creative processes that produce great art. Everyone approaches their craft a little differently, and it’s always illuminating to discover how different people do what they do. In my own work, I like to explore how creative people come to their Eureka! moments, and hope that I’ll be able to learn something from their experiences.

Reid's book list on Hollywood history

Reid Mitenbuler Why did Reid love this book?

This book opens with an absolutely breathtaking passage, one of my favorite openings in any book ever. One imagines Niven narrating his memoir poolside, gripping a cigarette and a martini in the same fist, his pince-nez mustache dancing up and down while he describes, in sordid detail, old-school Hollywood at its most louche. If you want a book that brings alive the atmosphere of a bygone era, this is it.

By David Niven,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moon's a Balloon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

David Niven is remembered as one of Britain's best-loved actors. The archetypal English gentleman, he starred in over ninety films. He is equally remembered as the author of this classic autobiography. In his first volume, he remembers his childhood and school days, his time at Sandhurst and his early army service. He recalls America during the prohibition era and days in Hollywood before the Second World War. Of the war itself, he tells of family life back in Britain and his time on the front line in France and Germany. THE MOON'S A BALLOON is a wonderful record of a…


Book cover of An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood

Elyce Helford Author Of What Price Hollywood?: Gender and Sex in the Films of George Cukor

From my list on classic Hollywood from a scholar and fan of film.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a film fan and scholar who has a joyful yet complex relationship with Hollywood. I have basked in the classics of Hollywood’s Golden Age (1930s-1950s) from my teen years on, including the musical delights of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the screwball comedies of Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, the magnificent Universal monsters, and the deliciously dark creativity of film noir. Reading about the history of Hollywood has helped me enjoy this pastime even more, learning everything from economics and politics to method and form. The more I know, the richer grows my interest in both the past and present of that unique institution we call Hollywood.

Elyce's book list on classic Hollywood from a scholar and fan of film

Elyce Helford Why did Elyce love this book?

Gabler offers a detailed and persuasive history of Hollywood’s first producers, all immigrant Jewish Americans seeking to achieve the American dream.

This handful of men started in New York as peddlers or small business owners and then moved west to build their own film empires. No one saw motion pictures as more than a superficial pastime, but it seemed a good business opportunity. Unfortunately, Thomas Edison owned the rights and patents that kept Jewish entrepreneurs from accessing New York, so the immigrants went west.

MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and Universal: these were their kingdoms and are still the names we know today as the major Hollywood studios. Meet the remarkable (and sometimes horrible) men who built this world and learn about their lives and ambitions in Gabler’s engaging book.

By Neal Gabler,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked An Empire of Their Own as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A provocative, original, and richly entertaining group biography of the Jewish immigrants who were the moving forces behind the creation of America's motion picture industry.
 
The names Harry Cohn, William Fox, Carl Laemmle, Louis B. Mayer, Jack and Harry Warner, and Adolph Zucker are giants in the history of contemporary Hollywood, outsiders who dared to invent their own vision of the American Dream.  Even to this day, the American values defined largely by the movies of these émigrés endure in American cinema and culture. Who these men were, how they came to dominate Hollywood, and what they gained and lost…


Book cover of We'll Always Have Casablanca: The Legend and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most Beloved Film

Bob Whalen Author Of Casablanca's Conscience

From my list on books about the best movies (for movie fans).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian, with a special interest in the 20th century. I’ve written about Freud’s Vienna, the aftermath of the First World War, strikes in the 1920s and 1930s in America’s cotton South, the plot to assassinate Hitler, and the notorious 1940s gangsters nicknamed “Murder, Inc.”. What intrigues me about the 20th century are the era’s underlying values and the shocking and violent collisions among them. In Casablanca’s Conscience, I use the great film as a lens with which to take another look at the tumultuous times just a generation ago.

Bob's book list on books about the best movies (for movie fans)

Bob Whalen Why did Bob love this book?

Isenberg has explored all the Hollywood archives and has produced a delightful and fascinating story of the actors, the director and producer, the writers, and all the technicians who created the film. A splendid guide to Casablanca and a great example of an in-depth, how-it-was-made history of a single film. 

By Noah Isenberg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We'll Always Have Casablanca as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Casablanca is "not one movie," Umberto Eco once quipped; "it is 'movies.'" Film historian Noah Isenberg's We'll Always Have Casablanca offers a rich account of the film's origins, the myths and realities behind its production, and the reasons it remains so revered today, over seventy-five years after its premiere.


Book cover of The White Album

Sherry Marie Gallagher Author Of Boulder Blues: A Tale of the Colorado Counterculture

From my list on reliving the American countercultural experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a degreed socio-linguist and international educator, my novel writing has been immersed in the human experience that began early on as a teen musician immersed naively in a non-mainstream world of creatives and cons, when the word 'counterculture' was perceived more as a renaissance than the drug-laden world of darker gatherings that it later came to be known as. Boulder Blues is a work of fiction drawn from both fantasy and personal exposure. From there I went on to teach in American alternative education and later at university with a focus on rhetoric and forensic writing. My draw to other cultures and their perspectives moved me to go on to teach internationally.

Sherry's book list on reliving the American countercultural experience

Sherry Marie Gallagher Why did Sherry love this book?

Coining an era of "sorry stuff of troubled times," The New Yorker calls this autobiography of journalist/fiction writer Didion’s a timely and elegant collection. Yet, it could also be seen as a culmination of depressing flashbacks to a scarier time of a seedier side of the ‘60s - ‘70s, when broken taboos of post-WWII boomers led to not only drug-induced spirituality and experimentation, but also depraved moralities and violent behaviours. The author relives personal experiences of friendships with others once close to key figures who had near escapes from encounters with the likes of the Manson Family and Black Panthers.

By Joan Didion,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The White Album as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joan Didion's hugely influential collection of essays which defines, for many, the America which rose from the ashes of the Sixties.

We tell ourselves stories in order to live. The princess is caged in the consulate. The man with the candy will lead the children into the sea.

In this now legendary journey into the hinterland of the American psyche, Didion searches for stories as the Sixties implode. She waits for Jim Morrison to show up, visits the Black Panthers in prison, parties with Janis Joplin and buys dresses with Charles Manson's girls. She and her reader emerge, cauterized, from…


Book cover of Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman

Jon Lewis Author Of Road Trip to Nowhere: Hollywood Encounters the Counterculture

From my list on 1960s Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about post-WWII American film for over thirty years now, with a particular passion for (behind the scenes) Hollywood history. Road Trip to Nowhere follows up on a new sort of movie industry history I introduced in my 2017 book on 1950s Los Angeles, Hard-Boiled Hollywood. Both books focus on actors, writers, producers, and directors who don’t quite make it—aspirants and would-be players kicked to the side of the road, so to speak, and others who for reasons we may or may not understand just walked away from the modern American dream life of stardom and celebrity. 

Jon's book list on 1960s Hollywood

Jon Lewis Why did Jon love this book?

Unique among those in Hollywood who dove head first into the American counterculture, Jane Fonda proved too committed to dismiss as a dilettante, too persistent to just fade away, too formidable for the FBI to destroy. Bosworth, a veteran Hollywood biographer (she has written books on Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando as well) uniquely understands political celebrity; she’s never dismissive, but she’s not so easy on her subject either. Because she knows better: Bosworth’s father was the Hollywood 10 attorney Bart Crum. Bosworth surely understands the risks involved in Left-wing celebrity.

By Patricia Bosworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jane Fonda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As actress, activist, businesswoman, wife, and mother, Jane Fonda has pushed herself to the limit, attempting to please all, excel in every arena, be everything. We've read her version of her controversial life, yet nothing can prepare us for this genuinely revelatory account of Jane's engrossing, sometimes shocking journey. Supplemented by the psychiatric records of her suicidal, bipolar mother, Fonda's FBI file, and interviews with her intimates, this perceptive portrait strips away hype and the subject's own mythmaking. Patricia Bosworth shows us what a toll Jane's quest to excel (and please her demanding father, Henry) exacted and sheds light on…


Book cover of The Family: The Story of Charles Manson's Dune Buggy Attack Battalion

Richard Boch Author Of The Mudd Club

From my list on music, mayhem, drugs, and sex.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a Brooklyn kid who grew up on Long Island. I started hitting the bars and clubs in NYC when I was still a teenager. I found my way to CBGB in 1975, moved to Bleecker St in 1976, and in a right place/right time moment I found myself working the Mudd Club door in early 1979. That moment was a life changer. The Mudd Club book tells the story.

Richard's book list on music, mayhem, drugs, and sex

Richard Boch Why did Richard love this book?

The best book written about 1960’s Pop-Culture madness and mayhem. As founding member of The Fugs and a unique literary voice, Ed Sanders tells this tale brilliantly. The warning signs, the goosebumps, and knowing when it’s time to stop are all there in The Family.

By Ed Sanders,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

extremely rare,very good condition


5 book lists we think you will like!

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