100 books like The Making of the Wizard of Oz

By Aljean Harmetz,

Here are 100 books that The Making of the Wizard of Oz fans have personally recommended if you like The Making of the Wizard of Oz. 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 Majestic Hollywood: The Greatest Films of 1939

Thomas S. Hischak Author Of 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

From my list on 1939 Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing books about film, theatre, and popular music since 1991 but my love of old movies goes back much further. Before VCRs, DVDs, and streaming, one could only catch these old films on television (often cut to allow for commercial time) or revival houses. Today even the more obscure movies from 1939 are attainable. Writing 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year gave me the opportunity to revisit dozens of old favorites and to see the many also-rans of that remarkable year.

Thomas' book list on 1939 Hollywood

Thomas S. Hischak Why did Thomas love this book?

It might seem presumptuous to call 50 films from 1939 "classics" but I agree with Vieira that these 50 movies deserve that distinction. This book is filled with all the pertinent information, fun facts, and great visuals. Movie stills, behind-the-scenes candid photos, portraits, and poster art make this a memorable volume to treasure. I particularly like the attention Vieira gives to the many outstanding movie directors working in 1939.

By Mark A. Vieira,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

1939 was a watershed year. The Great Depression was barely over economics, politics, and culture braced for war. There was a lull before the storm and Hollywood, as if expecting to be judged by posterity, produced a portfolio of masterpieces. No year before or since has yielded so many beloved works of cinematic art: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Gunga Din, Only Angels Have Wings, Destry Rides Again, Beau Geste, Wuthering Heights, The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, Ninotchka, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Dark Victory, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Women , and of course, Gone With the Wind . Majestic…


Book cover of 1939: The Making of Six Great Films from Hollywood's Greatest Year

Thomas S. Hischak Author Of 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

From my list on 1939 Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing books about film, theatre, and popular music since 1991 but my love of old movies goes back much further. Before VCRs, DVDs, and streaming, one could only catch these old films on television (often cut to allow for commercial time) or revival houses. Today even the more obscure movies from 1939 are attainable. Writing 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year gave me the opportunity to revisit dozens of old favorites and to see the many also-rans of that remarkable year.

Thomas' book list on 1939 Hollywood

Thomas S. Hischak Why did Thomas love this book?

Because this book concentrates on only six 1939 movies – Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stagecoach, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Adams is able to go into much more detail about the making of each film and the critical reaction each received. I'd be hard-pressed to pick only six movies from that eventful year and movie fans will disagree with Vieira's choices somewhere down the line. But once you get past that, this book is filled with important information and plenty of trivial details that it is a great read.

By Charles F. Adams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1939 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Film critics and historians are virtually unanimous in considering 1939 the greatest year in the history of motion pictures. This one year produced many of the greatest films of all time, including “Gone with the Wind,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and marketed the height of the careers of such legendary stars as Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, and Judy Garland.   To commemorate the 75th anniversary of this amazing year in Hollywood history, “1939: The Making of Six Great Films from Hollywood’s Greatest Year” profiles of six of the greatest films of the year:…


Book cover of Hollywood's Golden Year, 1939: A Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration

Thomas S. Hischak Author Of 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

From my list on 1939 Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing books about film, theatre, and popular music since 1991 but my love of old movies goes back much further. Before VCRs, DVDs, and streaming, one could only catch these old films on television (often cut to allow for commercial time) or revival houses. Today even the more obscure movies from 1939 are attainable. Writing 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year gave me the opportunity to revisit dozens of old favorites and to see the many also-rans of that remarkable year.

Thomas' book list on 1939 Hollywood

Thomas S. Hischak Why did Thomas love this book?

Ted Sennett is one of the most prolific and widely-read writers about Hollywood and this book on 1939 is one of his very best works. It is filled (one might even say, stuffed) with behind-the-scenes stories. The writing is sometimes critical and analytical rather than gushing as in some of Sennett's many coffee table books. He concentrates on only seventeen 1939 movies so one doesn't get a full picture of that amazing year of movies. It's good to see some lesser-known classics like Midnight and Angels Have Wings included in the seventeen.

By Ted Sennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hollywood's Golden Year, 1939 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book on the famous year 1939 an epic year for great classic films.


Book cover of The Making of Gone with the Wind

Thomas S. Hischak Author Of 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

From my list on 1939 Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing books about film, theatre, and popular music since 1991 but my love of old movies goes back much further. Before VCRs, DVDs, and streaming, one could only catch these old films on television (often cut to allow for commercial time) or revival houses. Today even the more obscure movies from 1939 are attainable. Writing 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year gave me the opportunity to revisit dozens of old favorites and to see the many also-rans of that remarkable year.

Thomas' book list on 1939 Hollywood

Thomas S. Hischak Why did Thomas love this book?

This book grew out of a 2014 exhibition to mark the 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind. The exhibition included rarely-seen material from the archives of producer David O. Selznick and his business partner John Hay “Jock” Whitney. So even if you've read one of the handful of previous books about the making of this movie classic there is much here that is new. The behind-the-scenes deals, battles with the censors, and the controversies surrounding the film are all covered in this fascinating book.

By Steve Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of Gone with the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gone With The Wind is one of the most popular movies of all time. To commemorate its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2014, The Making of Gone With The Wind presents more than 600 items from the archives of David O. Selznick, the film's producer, and his business partner John Hay "Jock" Whitney, which are housed at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. These rarely seen materials, which are also being featured in a major 2014 exhibition at the Ransom Center, offer fans and film historians alike a must-have behind-the-camera view of the production of this classic.…


Book cover of Shakespeare on Silent Film: An Excellent Dumb Discourse

Sally Barnden Author Of Still Shakespeare and the Photography of Performance

From my list on Shakespeare’s plays and the visual arts.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I studied Shakespeare’s works as an undergraduate, I became intrigued by the questions of why and how we got to the point where Shakespeare’s name is recognised all over the world, his plays are quoted in everyday conversation, and his works are central to every English Literature course. I’ve pursued these questions in my academic research, where I look at the history of Shakespeare in performance, but also at how these performances are remembered in souvenirs, pictures, and objects. 

Sally's book list on Shakespeare’s plays and the visual arts

Sally Barnden Why did Sally love this book?

Today, one of the most prominent visual media in which Shakespeare’s plays are recreated is cinema. Judith Buchanan’s work exposes the role of Shakespeare in building intellectual credibility for the early film industry and addresses the paradox of adapting plays celebrated for their language in a medium with no spoken words. She shows how early films were shaped by the visual conventions of the Victorian stage and by popular technologies such as the magic lantern. The book demonstrates some of the techniques used by silent films to remake familiar images and adapt Shakespeare’s long speeches to visual storytelling. 

By Judith Buchanan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shakespeare on Silent Film as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Several hundred films based on Shakespearean material were made in cinema's 'silent' era. What economic and cultural ambitions combined in order to make Shakespeare such attractive source material for the film industry? What were the characteristic approaches of particular production companies and of particular national film industries? How were silent Shakespeare films marketed, distributed, exhibited and received? Through a series of close readings, and drawing upon a wealth of primary research, this engaging account tells an evolving story that both illuminates silent Shakespeare films already known, and brings into critical circulation other films not yet commercially available and therefore little…


Book cover of Ben-Hur: The Original Blockbuster

Martin M. Winkler Author Of Arminius the Liberator: Myth and Ideology

From my list on ideological and popular uses of ancient Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Classics at George Mason University. I learned about ancient Romans and Greeks in my native Germany, when I attended a humanist high school, possibly the oldest in the country. (It was founded during the reign of Charlemagne, as the eastern half of the Roman Empire was still flourishing.) My mother once informed me that I betrayed my passion for stories long before I could read because I enthusiastically used to tear pages out of books. In my teens I became fascinated with stories told in moving images. I have been a bibliophile and, em, cinemaniac ever since and have pursued both my obsessions in my publications.

Martin's book list on ideological and popular uses of ancient Rome

Martin M. Winkler Why did Martin love this book?

Solomon’s gargantuan tome is a labor of love, offering a comprehensive tribute to General Lew Wallace’s epic historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, from 1880.

Solomon traces its genesis, composition (during which Wallace, previously not a devout believer, saw the light), publication, and sensational worldwide impact in all manner of modern media, which even included Ben-His and Ben-Hers towels.

After stage adaptations with thrilling on-stage chariot races, the cinema took over. The appropriately big MGM production of 1959 can boast what was for decades believed to be the most spectacular action sequence ever filmed. In a nod to contemporary politics, an Arab sheik puts a Star of David on Ben-Hur just before the race. And the film’s Romans closely resemble Nazis—not for the first or last time.

By Jon Solomon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ben-Hur as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ben-Hur was the first literary blockbuster to generate multiple and hugely profitable adaptations, highlighted by the 1959 film that won a record-setting 11 Oscars. General Lew Wallace's book was spun off into dozens of popular publications and media productions, becoming a veritable commercial brand name that earned tens of millions of dollars.

Ben-Hur: The Original Blockbuster surveys the Ben-Hur phenomenon's unprecedented range and extraordinary endurance: various editions, spin-off publications, stage productions, movies, comic books, radio plays, and retail products were successfully marketed and sold from the 1880s and throughout the twentieth century. Today Ben-Hur Live is touring Europe and Asia,…


Book cover of Misery

J.J. Cagney Author Of A Pilgrimage to Death

From my list on mystery for Agatha Christie readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started reading mysteries in elementary school: Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and Stephen King fed my thirst for story, puzzles, and the “super-psychological.” There’s so much about the mind we don’t understand—including our relationships with animals (like an octopus detective)—or the bond between twins (like the one in my Cici series). When I worked with Irene Webb as an associate literary agent in the 2000s, my fascination with the written word and “super-psychological” blossomed. I enjoy connecting motivations, secrets, and passions into a tapestry of humanity. At their core, stories teach us how to be more human, and I want to be part of that lesson. Please enjoy this book list I’ve curated for you.

J.J.'s book list on mystery for Agatha Christie readers

J.J. Cagney Why did J.J. love this book?

I realize this book isn’t one of King’s supernatural thrillers like Kujo or The Shining, both of which petrified my middle-school self into turning the pages late, late into the night. But Misery is the best of King’s work because this “super-psychological” thriller pits two antithetical forces against one another.

The police interview setup seems a straightforward approach to story-telling, but it turns into a deeply emotion, personal journey for Paul, the book’s hero. We learn in subsequent pages that Paul’s “number one fan,” Annie Wilkes, refuses to allow Paul to continue on a journey of self-aggrandizement...to the point she’s willing to brutalize and imprison him…all while claiming to love his mind. Paul’s imagination becomes his only viable tool to escape Annie’s machinations.

Misery is powerful, brilliant work and the reason I now write mysteries and thrillers.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Misery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the exciting build-up to publication of Stephen King's new mainstream novel, LISEY'S STORY, enjoy this world-famous classic novel on audio.


Book cover of Platoon

Michael Prime Author Of Kristoff Kent: NYC Psycho

From my list on book to movie adaptations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always enjoyed reading the books from which movies are derived from or from which are written after the movie is released, and add more in-depth analysis to the characters and story. Mostly though, I’ve seen the movie first, then read the book. The book almost always has more information about the characters, their reactions, emotions, and feelings. Sometimes, as in the case of Rounders by Kevin Canty, you find out where and what the main character is up to after the end credits roll. Book versus movie: Which is better? It’s a debate that will be here till the end of time. 

Michael's book list on book to movie adaptations

Michael Prime Why did Michael love this book?

The book (which came out after a few months of the movie), is written by military veteran Dale E. Dye, who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War.

The book takes the reader from the beginnings of a 'wet behind the ears' (Chris Taylor) Private entering Vietnam, and ending with an 'almost' seasoned veteran. The descriptions Dye gives of the scenery, the men, the voices, being in the brush or jungle, truly is remarkable.

When I read this, I felt like I could literally see everything Chris Taylor did through his own eyes. There's a lot more depth to the characters than in the movie. I feel this is one of the most underrated books among readers because most do not know it even exists. The book gives you a greater understanding of why Sgt. Barnes is the man he is, from his background and his thoughts.

If you…

By Dale A. Dye,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

250 p. pages. 17 x 11 cm. Broché.  traduit de l'américain par France-Marie Watkins


Book cover of The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook

Paul Kidby Author Of Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium

From my list on beautiful draughtmanship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a self-taught artist and sometimes a sculptor. I'm best known for illustrating the Discworld novels of Sir Terry Pratchett which I have been working on for almost 30 years. Not having had formal training, looking at the work of other artists was an important part of my learning. I have a large collection of art books and have been inspired by all sorts of creatives ranging from Leonardo Da Vinci to Jamie Hewlett. I'm often drawn to draughts-people who have a scientific approach to their work and limited use of colour. If I can’t escape to a gallery for inspiration I can always turn to the pages of a book.

Paul's book list on beautiful draughtmanship

Paul Kidby Why did Paul love this book?

My sister read the Lord of the Rings trilogy to me when I was a kid while we were on holiday in Scotland and it was hugely inspiring. Growing up I thought I would like to illustrate the books - until Alan Lee did it so perfectly. No one can better his interpretation, as Peter Jackson will agree. His delicate pencil work and subtle use of colour have always, for me, set the bar for illustration. A highlight of my career has been having my own work exhibited alongside his.

By Alan Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alan Lee, the Oscar-winning conceptual designer for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, discusses his approach to depicting Tolkien’s imaginary world. The book presents more than 150 of Lee’s celebrated illustrations to show how his imagery for both the illustrated Lord of the Rings and the films progressed from concept to finished art. In addition, the book contains 20 full-color plates and numerous examples of the conceptual art produced for Peter Jackson’s film adaptation.

The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook provides a wealth of background information and will be of interest to those who know and love Tolkien’s work,…


Book cover of A New and Glorious Life

Stephanie Harrison Author Of Adaptations: From Short Story to Big Screen: 35 Great Stories That Have Inspired Great Films

From my list on stories that have been adapted again and again.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid, I looked forward to Fridays. Not just because it was the end of a school week, but because that’s when the TV Guide arrived with the morning newspaper. While I ate my cereal, I’d circle the movies I wanted to watch the following week. If they were late-late movies, I’d set my alarm and get up and watch them alone in the living room (with the sound turned way down). I was also an avid reader, and it wasn’t long before I started pairing my reading and my viewing. I still do that, with a special interest in short stories and their film adaptations. 

Stephanie's book list on stories that have been adapted again and again

Stephanie Harrison Why did Stephanie love this book?

Part of the allure of Chekhov’s story is the unanswered question, Will they, or won’t they? The answer, I think, may depend on where you are in your own life when you read it. Michelle Herman’s novella, “A New and Glorious Life,” reworks and expands the story, letting you linger a while longer with the lovers before they part. I think this gives them a better chance, but who knows? Joyce Carol Oates also reimagined this story in her collection Marriages and Infidelities. Vintage Oates, it reads like a fever dream.

The first film adaptation, The Lady with the Dog, made under the Soviet censor’s watchful eye, is an almost literal translation of the story. Dark Eyes, a later Soviet-Italian coproduction, stars Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni and strays pretty far from the source.

By Michelle Herman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A New and Glorious Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Reading Michelle Herman's new collection is like eating Godiva chocolates, something so exquisitely enjoyable you can't get enough of it. How often,in this day and age, does one get to read a love story which is also a literary gem? These novellas are the stuff of classics."
--Marly Swick

"These novellas have a psychological depth and acute worldliness one associates with continental fiction. Michelle Herman's sympathies bridge generations and genders; her intelligence conveys both the lovingness and coldness of the way we live now. Her work is a sophisticated pleasure."
--Philip Lopate

"These three novellas are three gems, each with…


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