William Knoedelseder Books In Order

Non-Fiction Books In Publication Order

  1. Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia (1993)
  2. In Eddie’s Name: One Family’s Triumph Over Tragedy (1999)
  3. I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era (2009)
  4. Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America’s Kings of Beer (2012)
  5. Fins: Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors, and the Glory Days of Detroit (2018)

Non-Fiction Book Covers

William Knoedelseder Books Overview

Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia

An expose a7 of the role of organized crime in the music industry focuses on MCA Records, a powerful corporation with ties to the Mob and political influence to spare.Tour.

In Eddie’s Name: One Family’s Triumph Over Tragedy

The brutal murder of a teenager and his family’s heroic struggle to transcend it On November 11, 1994, a Philadelphia teenager named Eddie Polec was brutally beaten and left to die on the front steps of his own church by a gang of teenagers from a neighboring suburb. Unfortunately, the tragedy didn’t stop there. Within days of Eddie’s death, it was disclosed that dozens of frantic 911 calls by bystanders had gone unanswered during a crucial forty minutes when Eddie was still alive and might have been saved. Written with the full cooperation of the Polecs, In Eddie’s Name tells of the extraordinary way in which a seemingly ordinary family grappled with a nightmare come true. Rather than seek revenge or sue the city for millions, as seems almost de rigueur for victims’ families, the Polecs responded with grace and courage. They sidestepped efforts to exploit the tragedy or to embroil themselves in the politics of a divided, angry city and instead undertook, as a more fitting tribute to a beloved son’s memory, to bring about an overhaul of Philadelphia’s fatally flawed 911 system. This rare story of decent people who became victims of fate and chose to respond like heroes is a heartbreaker and will be an inspiration to readers of all ages. 8 Pages of Black and White Photographs Bryn Freedman and William Knoedelseder are journalists who covered the Polec case from the outset. Managing editor and vice president respectively of news at USA Broadcasting in Los Angeles, they are married to each other.

I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era

Letterman, Leno, Robin Williams, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Garry Shandling, and many other soon to be stars were once young, broke, and funny in 1970s L.A. They were also friends…
until one event changed everything.

I’m Dying Up Here chronicles the collective coming of age of the standup comedians who defined American humor during the past three decades. Born early in the Baby Boom, they grew up watching The Tonight Show, went to school during Viet Nam and Watergate, migrated en masse to Los Angeles in the mid 1970s and created an artistic community unlike any before or since. They were arguably the funniest people of their generation, living in a late night world of sex, drugs, dreams and laughter. For one brief shining moment, standup comics were as revered as rock stars. It was Comedy Camelot but, of course, it couldn’t last. In the late 1970s William Knoedelseder was a cub reporter assigned to cover the burgeoning local comedy scene for the Los Angeles Times. He wrote the first major newspaper profiles of Leno, Letterman, Andy Kaufman, and others. He got to know many of them well. And so he covered the scene too when the comedians who were not paid for performing at the career making or breaking venue called The Comedy Store tried to change an exploitative system and incidentally tore apart their own close knit community.

Now Knoedelseder has gone back to interview the major participants to tell the whole story of that golden age and of the strike that ended it. Full of revealing portraits of many of the best known comedic talents of our age, I’m Dying Up Here is also a poignant tale of the price of success and the terrible cost of failure professional and moral.

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