Recommend me some "behind the scenes" books

A while ago I was told that I should read the terribly interesting “The Late Shift” by Bill Carter. It’s a fascinating account of everything that happened in the decision to choose Jay Leno over David Letterman to succeed Carson. I thought this book was fantastically researched, well written, and interesting. I know he has a new book called “The War for Late Night” that’s about Leno/Conan and I have that on order to read but I want more.

What books does the dopernation recommend that also give me a cool behind the scenes look at something. I have heard rumors that there is on out there on ESPN, I think that would be hella interesting, but what else is there? It doesn’t necessarily have to be about TV but those seem to be the most out there. Thanks a bundle guys!

If you’re interested in politics, “All’s Fair In Love And War”, by James Carville and Mary Matalin, about the 1992 presidential election, is really good. I reread it every couple of years. They were each deeply involved in the campaigns of their particular guy, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, respectively, while at the same time dating each other.

I seem to remember enjoying this Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live when it came out.

Ooh! Ooh! If you are a member of the original Sesame Street generation, Sesame Street Unpaved is excellent.

Also, my previous recommendation: All’s Fair: Love, War and Running for President.

Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line, if you’re at all interested in factory/assembly line work, with some funny looks at management. It’s set in the 80’s, but I don’t think things have changed much.

I will second this one.

Oooo these are awesome! Keep them coming of you have any and haven’t posted yet feel free!

Also about the 1992 election, Mad As Hell: Revolt At The Ballot Box, by Jack Germond and Jules Whitcover. Covers some of the same ground as the Carville/Matalin book, but also has some insights into the Perot campaign from the inside (it was at least as subject to Perot’s whims as it seemed from the outside).

Sorry for the concentration on one election…it was the first election I voted in, so I tend to collect books about it.

He’s a bit overexposed now, but Anthony Bourdain’s ***Kitchen Confidential ***was, when first published, a very funny account of what life is really like in the kithcen of a top restaurant.

And while I usually consider Jay Mohr a real jerk, I liked his account of his own time on Saturday Night Live, which was entitled Gasping for Airtime.

I’ve read a few of these and they are fun and insightful. Please Kill Me: An Uncensored Oral History of Punk gets inside the NY punk scene before the word punk became a specific definition of a music genre.

Has anybody read that book about being a prison guard - Newjack?

I’ll also second Live From New York.

If you’re at all interested in the music of the Beatles, you may enjoy Here, There, and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles, by Geoff Emerick. It talks very little about the Beatles’ personal lives, and focuses heavily on what was involved with the sound mixing and editing. I found it fascinating.

Another in this line is Game Change, about the 2008 presidential campaigns. The book has been blasted by the right for not listing sources for much of the material, but it’s a very good read.

This book is great. I second it… or third it… or now… fourth it.

I also like Shatner’s book(s?) about his Star Trek life. He’s suprisingly honest at times.

Great idea for a thread, Sir T!

If you are a music fan of any kind, the Wilco/Jeff Tweedy bio “Learning How to Die” by Chicago Tribune music critic (and one half of the Sound Opinions team) Greg Ko is quite excellentt. Its really well written and also very thorough as far as interviewing lots of people from the band’s past, including Tweedy’s Uncle Tupelo bandmate Jay Farrar, which surprised me given the acrimony between the two former friends.

The reason i recommend it for this OP is that it was written while Wilco was recording “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and the firing of their lead guitartist, the late Jeff Bennett. Fascinating to see the inner workings of a band in turmoil, while also creating some of their greatest work.

ESPN: The Uncensored History is 10 years old, but it was an excellent read.

I’ll second Game Change and add The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History and The Accidental Billionaires (which was the basis for The Social Network).

I’m sure I’ll come up with more later, I love this kind of stuff (I’m almost finished with The War For Late Night).

Mick Foley’s autobiography has some fascinating behind the scenes stuff of pro wrestling

I love these kind of books, too, but more slanted toward the medical field, or science. Not so much with the politics. Keep the recommendations coming, I’m adding to my Amazon wishlist.

Locked in the Cabinet, Robert Reich’s book about his stint as Secretary of Labor under Clinton.

I also wholeheartedly recommend Angler by Barton Gellman, an eye-opening book about the scope and pervasiveness of Dick Cheney’s influence in the Bush Administration – Cheney himself has vouched for the book’s accuracy, and at times it is not at all a flattering portrait. (The scene with numerous administration officials literally rushing hellbent across town to keep a hospitalridden John Ashcroft from caving to Cheney’s pressure was the stuff of amazing drama.)

No matter how you feel about his politics, Charlton Heston’s The Actor’s Life: Journals 1956-1976 is a wonderful book about film-making and the actor’s craft.

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll Generation Saved Hollywood, by Peter Biskind. A must-read if you’re into American movies from the 1970s.

He also wrote Down and Dirty Pictures, which is about the indie film movement of the 1990s.