The Real Stories Behind this Year’s Oscar-Nominated Films

Books that bring you the true stories made famous in Hollywood

Several of this year’s Oscar-nominated films are based on the events of real larger-than-life people, yet they only skim the surface of the drama that transpired behind closed doors. The following books take you behind-the-scenes, revealing the true nitty-gritty details in the stories that inspired these acclaimed films.

If you’ve seen Selma
You’ll want to read Protests at Selma and Bearing the Cross by David Garrow

It’s been argued in publication such as The New York Times that the depiction of President Lyndon B. Johnson in Selma is something of a “historical crime.” Rather than the reluctant civil rights follower the movie makes him out to be, it is speculated that L.B.J. was actually allies with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., not his enemy.

Want the real story? In Protests at Selma and Bearing the Cross Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Garrow provides a detailed and intimate account of events leading up to and after the protests, and explores Martin Luther King Jr.’s strategies to achieve political change.


If you’ve seen Foxcatcher
You’ll want to read Du Pont Dynasty by Gerard Colby

Foxcatcher is only one tiny, maniacal sliver of the entire Du Pont family. While Foxcatcher focuses on the coaching aspirations and downward spiral into schizophrenia of John E. Du Pont, Colby’s Du Pont Dynasty delves even deeper into the insidious lives and dealings of the entire Du Pont clan. From war profiteering to the manufacturing of deadly gas and the cover-up of the poisoning of its own workers, the Du Pont name has been riddled in scandal for centuries. Yet, they remain a formidable influence that continues today.



If you’ve seen Whiplash…

You’ll want to read Making it in the Music Business by Lee Wilson

Whiplash is the story of a young student enduring emotional abuse from his prestigious music professor, thinking that this form of torture is his only path to becoming a great jazz drummer. In the ladder to success, obstacles come in many forms: agents, lawyers, management, and sometimes, your own mentors and band mates. Without clear terms and boundaries, the people closest to you can become your downfall. Making it in the Music Business is the crucial guide for anyone entering the music industry, ensuring that you don’t fall in your ascent into the limelight.



If you’ve seen American Sniper

You’ll want to read The Blood We Shed by William Christie

Similar to American Sniper, rather than glorifying killing overseas, The Blood We Shed is a realistic fictional account of life in the marines and the struggles and trauma of veterans returning home. Written by a former marine vet, it doesn’t glorify the call of duty, but offers a real look at the funny, the tragic, the good, and sometimes the embarrassing life these men choose to pursue. They go through training, deployment, and combat together, but it isn’t until they return home, victorious, that things get worse.

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