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Best Documentary Books You Must Read

Looking for the best Documentary books? Browse our list to find excellent book recommendations on the subject.

1. A Documentary History of the United States (Revised and Updated) (2018)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadAccompanied by interpretations of their significance by noted historian Richard D. Heffner and journalist Alexander Heffner, this book includes important documents such as:  •  The complete text of the Declaration of Independence  •  The complete Constitution of the United States  •  The Monroe Doctrine  •  The Emancipation Proclamation  •  Woodrow Wilson’s War Message to Congress  •  Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms”…
Author(s): Richard D. Heffner, Alexander B. Heffner

2. Introduction to Documentary, Third Edition (2017)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadThe third edition of Bill Nichols’s best-selling text provides an up-to-date introduction to the most important issues in documentary history and criticism. A new chapter, “I Want to Make a Documentary: Where Do I Start?” guides readers through the steps of planning and preproduction and includes an example of a project proposal for a film that went on to win awards at major festivals. Designed for students in any field that makes use of visual evidence and persuasive strategies, Introduction to Documentary identifies the genre’s distinguishing qualities and teaches the viewer how to read documentary film. Each chapter…
Author(s): Bill Nichols

3. Documentary Storytelling (2015)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadDocumentary Storytelling has reached filmmakers and filmgoers worldwide with its unique focus on the key ingredient for success in the growing global documentary marketplace: storytelling. This practical guide reveals how today’s top filmmakers bring the tools of narrative cinema to the world of nonfiction film and video without sacrificing the rigor and truthfulness that give documentaries their power. The book offers practical advice for producers, directors, editors, cinematographers, writers and others seeking to make ethical and effective films that merge…
Author(s): Sheila Curran Bernard

4. For The Record: A Documentary History (Seventh Edition) (Vol. Volume 2) (2019)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadFor the Record features 264 primary-source selections―both textual and visual―drawn from a broad range of government documents, newspapers, speeches, letters, and novels. In the Seventh Edition, timely new selections on immigration allow students to better understand the issues of today. For The Record remains an incredible value as a stand-alone and is also the perfect companion reader for the America family of books by co-editor David E. Shi. #119,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #2390 in U.S. State & Local History #429 in United States History (Books) Would you like…
Author(s): David E. Shi, Holly A. Mayer

5. Documentary Voice & Vision: A Creative Approach to Non-Fiction Media Production (2016)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadLearn the creative and technical essentials of documentary filmmaking with Documentary Voice & Vision. This comprehensive work combines clear, up-to-date technical information, production techniques and gear descriptions with an understanding of how technical choices can create meaning and serve a director’s creative vision. Drawing on the authors’ years of experience as documentary filmmakers, and on interviews with a range of working professionals in the field, the book offers concrete and thoughtful guidance through all stages of production, from finding and researching ideas to production, editing and…
Author(s): Kelly Anderson, Martin Lucas

6. The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide: A Down & Dirty DV Production (2014)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadTo anyone who wants to make a doc but doesn’t have a lot of time, money, or experience, Anthony Artis says: “It’s time to get down and dirty!”―a filmmaking mentality that teaches you how to be creative with your resources and do more with less. Written by a guerrilla filmmaker for guerrilla filmmakers, this all new edition of a bestselling classic doesn’t just tell you, it shows you how to make your projects better, faster, and cheaper and has been updated to include: Hustle up a winning documentary crew and choose the right equipment for the job. Learn to shoot more polished, professional-looking…
Author(s): Anthony Q. Artis

7. Documentary Editing: Principles & Practice (2017)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadDocumentary Editing offers clear and detailed strategies for tackling every stage of the documentary editing process, from organizing raw footage and building select reels to fine cutting and final export. Written by a Sundance award- winning documentary editor with a dozen features to his credit and containing examples from over 100 films, this book presents a step-by-step guide for how to turn seemingly shapeless footage into focused scenes, and how to craft a structure for a documentary of any length. The book contains insights and examples from seven of America’s top documentary editors, including Geoffrey Richman (The Cove, Sicko),…
Author(s): Bricca ACE, Jacob

8. Making Documentary Films and Videos: A Practical Guide to Planning, Filming, and Editing Documentaries (2007)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadThe second edition of Making Documentary Films and Videos fully updates the popular guidebook that has given readers around the world the knowledge and confidence to produce their first documentary film. It traces two main approaches―recording behavior and re-creating past events―and shows you how to be successful at each. Covering all the steps from concept to completion, with chapters on visual evidence; documentary ethics; writing for documentaries; budgeting; assembling a crew; film and sound recording; casting and directing actors and nonactors; and editing for the audience, this book can help you successfully bring to…
Author(s): Barry Hampe

9. For The Record: A Documentary History (Seventh Edition) (Vol. Volume 1) (2019)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadFor the Record features 264 primary-source selections―both textual and visual―drawn from a broad range of government documents, newspapers, speeches, letters, and novels. In the Seventh Edition, timely new selections on immigration allow students to better understand the issues of today. For The Record remains an incredible value as a stand-alone and is also the perfect companion reader for the America family of books by co-editor David E. Shi. #297,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #6904 in U.S. State & Local History #1443 in United States History…
Author(s): David E. Shi, Holly A. Mayer

10. A New History of Documentary Film: Second Edition (2012)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadA New History of Documentary Film, Second Edition offers a much-needed resource, considering the very rapid changes taking place within documentary media. Building upon the best-selling 2005 edition, Betsy McLane keeps the same chronological examination, factual reliability, ease of use and accessible prose style as before, while also weaving three new threads – Experimental Documentary, Visual Anthropology and Environmental/Nature Films – into the discussion. She provides emphasis on archival and preservation history, present practices, and future needs for documentaries. Along with…
Author(s): Betsy A. McLane

11. Directing the Documentary (2014)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadDirecting the Documentary, Sixth Edition is the definitive book on the form, offering time-tested principles to help you master the craft. Ideal for documentary courses as well as aspiring and established documentary filmmakers, this book has it all, with in-depth lessons and insider perspectives on every aspect of preproduction, production, and postproduction. Focusing on the hands-on work needed to make your concept a reality, this new edition covers it all, from the fundamental to advanced elements of directing and more. It includes dozens of projects, practical exercises, and thought-provoking…
Author(s): Michael Rabiger

12. First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History (2018)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadExpertly authored by Colin G. Calloway, First Peoples has been praised for its inclusion of Native American sources and Calloway’s concerted effort to weave Native perspectives throughout the narrative. Emphasizing the importance of primary sources, each chapter includes a document project and picture essay organized around important themes in the chapter. This distinctive approach continues to make First Peoples the bestselling and most highly acclaimed text for the American Indian history survey.Achieve Read & Practice is now available in dedicated version for this title. Students get…
Author(s): Colin G. Calloway

13. The Documentary Film Reader: History, Theory, Criticism (2016)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadBringing together an expansive range of writing by scholars, critics, historians, and filmmakers, The Documentary Film Reader presents an international perspective on the most significant developments and debates from several decades of critical writing about documentary. Each of the book’s seven sections covers a distinct period in the history of documentary, collecting both contemporary and retrospective views of filmmaking in the era. And each section is prefaced by an introductory essay that explains its design and provides critical context. Painstakingly…
Author(s): Jonathan Kahana, Charles Musser

14. American Labor: A Documentary Collection (2005)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadThis comprehensive compilation of documents integrates institutional labor history (movements and trade unions) with aspects of social and cultural history. It charts changes in trade union and managerial practices and integrates the economics and politi #824,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #1378 in Political Economy #846 in Labor & Industrial Relations (Books) #849 in Labor & Industrial Economic Relations (Books) Would you like to ?If you are a seller for this product, would you like to ?…
Author(s): Melvyn Dubofsky

15. For the Record: A Documentary History of America (Sixth Edition) (Vol. 1) (2016)

Best Documentary Books You Must ReadThe most extensive and varied collection of primary sources available.For the Record: A Documentary History features nearly 250 primary source selections, both textual and visual, drawn from a broad range of government documents, newspapers, speeches, letters, novels, and images. A revised table of contents reflects the structure, organization, and emphasis on the culture of daily life found within America: A Narrative History, Tenth Edition, for which editor David Shi also serves as the author. The Sixth Edition’s selections are heavily informed by instructor feedback, resulting in a text rich with…
Author(s): David E. Shi, Holly A. Mayer

Best Documentary Books You Must Read

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some documentary books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Digital Media and Documentary: Antipodean Approaches

Author(s): Adrian Miles (eds.)
Publisher: Palgrave Pivot, Year: 2018, Size: 1 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2179682

Food and eating in America : a documentary reader

Author(s): Giesen, James C.; Simon, Bryant
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Year: 2018, Size: 16 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2226134

Environmental Justice in Postwar America: A Documentary Reader

Author(s): Christopher W Wells
Publisher: University of Washington Press, Year: 2018, Size: 49 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2245366

The Arab-Israeli Conflict: An Introduction and Documentary Reader, 2nd Edition

Author(s): Gregory S Mahler; Alden R W Mahler
Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2018, Size: 9 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2276652

Modern Slavery: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Author(s): Laura J. Lederer
Publisher: Praeger, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2309197

Cognitive Theory and Documentary Film

Author(s): Catalin Brylla, Mette Kramer
Publisher: Springer International Publishing;Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2018, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2310701

Performing Place in French and Italian Queer Documentary Film: Space and Proust's Lieu Factice

Author(s): Oliver Brett
Publisher: Springer International Publishing;Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2018, Size: 4 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2311614

Critical Distance in Documentary Media

Author(s): Gerda Cammaer, Blake Fitzpatrick, Bruno Lessard
Publisher: Springer International Publishing,Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2018, Size: 6 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2311628

Afghanistan War: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Author(s): Ryan Wadle
Publisher: Greenwood, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2341466

Yes, Lord, I Know the Road: A Documentary History of African Americans in South Carolina, 1526-2008

Author(s): J. Brent Morris
Publisher: University of South Carolina Press, Year: 2017, Size: 14 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 1692914

Please note that this booklist is not absolute. Some books are truly chart-busters according to Chicago Tribune, others are written by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant links you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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