Feature

Also of interest ... cultural heroes

<em>The Beckham Experiment</em> by Grant Wahl; <em>How the Beatles Destroyed</em><strong> </strong><em>Rock &rsquo;n&rsquo; Roll</em><strong> </strong>by Elijah Wald; <em&gt

The Beckham Experiment
by Grant Wahl
(Crown, $25)
Worlds collided when international superstar David Beckham signed a lucrative deal two years ago to play for Los Angeles’ pro soccer team, said Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times. Though Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl has a tendency to overwrite, his “superb reportorial strengths come to the fore” as he details the clash between global celebrity culture and “the blue-collar ambience of American soccer.” Wahl is “at his very best when he allows his love of the game” to shine through.

How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ’n’ Roll
by Elijah Wald
(Oxford, $25)
Forget the title, said Jeff Simon in The Buffalo News. Yes, Elijah Wald’s “brilliant and provocative” new book takes a shot at the Beatles for steering rock into the studio and away from its danceable, race-melding roots. But Wald’s real contribution comes from his willingness to reconsider Guy Lombardo, Paul Whiteman, and scores of other unloved pre-rock artists who also shaped music’s 20th-century story. This is “the most challenging and head-clearing history of American popular music to be published in decades.”

Stormy Weather
by James Gavin
(Atria, $27)
At 92, screen siren Lena Horne “remains for many a totem of grace, beauty, and pride,” said Renée Graham in The Boston Globe. But the Brooklyn-born singer and actress suffered countless slights throughout her long career and “never forgave those whose racism barred her from greater professional heights.” In James Gavin’s “deftly researched” biography, the woman we get to know is “certainly more human” than her handlers allowed her to be. But she’s too embittered to be “necessarily likable.”

Camus: A Romance
by Elizabeth Hawes
(Grove, $25)
“In many ways,” Albert Camus remains “the perfect literary crush,” said Sam Anderson in New York. As Elizabeth Hawes’ new “memoir of literary obsession” reminds us, the Algerian-born Nobel winner “looked like Humphrey Bogart, suffered nobly all his life from TB, and died young in a car crash.” Yearning to know him, Hawes digs up much humanizing trivia and “transfers a few degrees of her obsessive fever to the reader.” Did you know that the author of The Stranger loved ping-pong and had a cat named Cigarette?

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