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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.

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.
Author(s): Bill Nichols

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.
Author(s): Sheila Curran Bernard

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.
Author(s): David E. Shi, Holly A. Mayer

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.
Author(s): Kelly Anderson, Martin Lucas

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.
Author(s): Anthony Q. Artis

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.
Author(s): Bricca ACE, Jacob

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.
Author(s): Barry Hampe

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.
Author(s): David E. Shi, Holly A. Mayer

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.
Author(s): Betsy A. McLane

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.
Author(s): Michael Rabiger

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.
Author(s): Colin G. Calloway

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.
Author(s): Jonathan Kahana, Charles Musser

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.
Author(s): Melvyn Dubofsky

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.
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 Library 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.

Beyond Bias: Conservative Media, Documentary Form, and the Politics of Hysteria

Author(s): Scott Krzych
ID: 2942132, Publisher: Oxford University Press, Year: 2021, Size: 15 Mb, Format: pdf

Interactive Documentary: Theory and Debate

Author(s): Kate Nash
ID: 3011727, Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2021, Size: 9 Mb, Format: pdf

A Companion to Documentary Film History

Author(s): Joshua Malitsky (editor)
ID: 3013304, Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell, Year: 2021, Size: 5 Mb, Format: pdf

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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