Film & TV: Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2023, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

Performing with the best. 

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Eyman, Scott. Charlie Chaplin vs. America: When Art, Sex, and Politics Collided. S. & S. Oct. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9781982176358. $29.99. CD. FILM

Charlie Chaplin made some of film’s masterpieces but fell foul of U.S. politics during the Red-Scared post–World War II era owing to his liberal, internationalist views and his having never become a U.S. citizen. His sexual interest in young women was further used as a covert means of condemning his politics. Refused entry into the United States after a trip abroad, he lived his last years in Switzerland. Hollywood biography Eyman ( Pieces of My Heart) details his ordeal.

Fitzgerald, Melissa & Mary McCormack. What’s Next: A Backstage Pass to The West Wing, Its Cast and Crew, and Its Enduring Legacy of Service. Dutton. Oct. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780593184547.29. TV

Fitzgerald played Assistant Press Secretary Carol Fitzpatrick in all seven seasons of The West Wing, then left film to work for reform of the U.S. justice system, while McCormack played Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper on the show. Here they go backstage to explore the conception and production of the hit series.

Herzog, Werner. Every Man for Himself and God Against All: A Memoir. Penguin Pr. Oct. 2023. 368p. tr. from German by Michael Hofmann. ISBN 9780593490297. $30. MEMOIR/FILM 

Born in 1942 Munich and raised in Bavaria, internationally celebrated director Herzog has made more than 60 feature and documentary films, directed numerous operas, appeared as an actor, and exhibited an art installation at the 2012 Whitney Biennale. He became interested in film at age 15 and made his first film at age 19 (only two years after making his first phone call), and the rest is history. This life-and-work chronicle will likely be worthy of its own film.

Hirsch, Foster. Hollywood and the Movies of the Fifties: The Collapse of the Studio System, the Thrill of Cinerama, and the Invasion of the Ultimate Body Snatcher—Television. Knopf. Oct. 2023. 656p. ISBN 9780307958921. $40. FILM

Maybe the 1950s seem gray and conformist, but in Hollywood (Disney notwithstanding), it meant more upheaval than we ever knew: Cinerama, CinemaScope, and VistaVision emerged along with sagas and glittery musicals; anti-heroes, dance-in-the-street teens, socially relevant themes, and viscerally troubled characters hit the screen; and the studio system and the production code collapsed. Brooklyn College film professor Hirsch clues us in.

Singer, Matt. Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel & Ebert Changed Movies Forever. Putnam. Oct. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780593540152. $29. FILM

In 1975, Gene Siskel, the film critic for the Chicago Tribune, and Roger Ebert, newly awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times, met for the first time and gingerly agreed to work together on a film review show. An editor and film critic at, Singer follows the success of the project from the participants’ swords-crossed beginnings to close friendship and the triumph of their trademark “two thumbs up!” assessment.

Stamos, John. If You Would Have Told Me: A Memoir. Holt. Oct. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9781250890979. $29.99. CD/downloadable. MEMOIR/PERFORMING ARTS

A two-time Emmy Award–nominated television, film, and theater actor and producer who also toured and recorded with the Beach Boys for over 30 years, Stamos covers a life lived to the fullest in this memoir. With a 400,000-copy first printing.

Wasson, Sam. The Path to Paradise: Francis Ford Coppola, the Apocalypse and the Dream. Harper. Oct. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780063037847. $32.99. FILM

The author of several New York Times best-selling books on film (e.g., Fifth Avenue, Five A.M.), Wasson was given thoroughgoing access to legendary director Francis Ford Coppala’s archives and conducted hundreds of interviews with both Coppola and people who have worked closely with him. What results is a portrait not just of Coppola but of his production company, American Zoetrope, and the involvement of his entire family in this enterprise. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Winkler, Henry. Being Henry: The Fonz . . . and Beyond. Celadon: Macmillan. Oct. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781250888099. $30. CD/downloadable. MEMOIR/TV

For millions, Winkler will forever be the Fonz of the durable TV series Happy Days, but he’s worked steadily since those happy days, recently winning a Primetime Emmy Award and two Television Critics Choice Awards for his work on the HBO comedy series Barry. This memoir moves from his childhood struggles with dyslexia to his success in Hollywood to the joys of family life and sharing, all from an actor known as one of Hollywood’s nicest men. With a 600,000-copy first printing.

Zucker, David & others. Surely You Can’t Be Serious: The True Story of Airplane! St. Martin’s. Oct. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9781250289315. $35. Downloadable. FILM

Codirectors of the groundbreaking comedy film Airplane! Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker go behind the scenes to offer an oral history of the making of the film and explain what drew them to filmmaking generally and comedy in particular.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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