Books by Michael Shnayerson

BOOM by Michael Shnayerson
NONFICTION
Released: May 21, 2019

"In this rich, superbly nuanced history, Shnayerson fully demonstrates that he has his finger on the financial pulse of modern art."
An inside portrait of the movers and shakers of modern art. Read full book review >
MY SONG by Harry Belafonte
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 11, 2011

"Bracingly opinionated autobiography from an American original, still provocative in his ninth decade."
The noted entertainer and activist looks back over his tumultuous life. Read full book review >
COAL RIVER by Michael Shnayerson
NON-FICTION
Released: Jan. 15, 2008

"Considerable human interest in a well-explored story of strip mining."
An investigative reporter visits the beautiful Appalachian mountains—a little less beautiful than before—and reports just what King Coal has done in the name of energy and, of course, profit. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 3, 2002

"The present threat of biological terrorism makes this scientific page-turner especially timely."
Truly alarming report on the growing resistance of bacteria to once-effective antibiotics and the struggle of scientists to find new weapons against them. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

Allowed complete access to GM's top-secret electric-car project, Shnayerson tells the story of the assorted VPs and engineers as if this were a thriller. Vanity Fair contributing editor Shnayerson (Irwin Shaw, 1989) does a masterful job of presenting a seemingly hopeless situation: building a more energy-efficient mousetrap. Shnayerson's explanations of the technical terms are clear and concise, and his understanding of the machinations of the GM behemoth is remarkable. The book begins with Ken Baker, a GM exec who'd failed at one electric-car project already but was willing to try another. Baker, whose interaction with other managers provides a terrific bird's-eye view of GM, is a sweet, hard-working leader who battles his weight along with the strict hierarchy. Engineer Alan Cocconi, a shy, sardine-popping genius, headed the ``Sunraycer'' team in its quest to build a cleaner, cheaper car and created a teardrop-shaped design so streamlined it was able to cross Australia with the energy equivalent of five gallons of gas. GM head Roger Smith (unwilling star of the film Roger & Me) became enamored with their first prototype, hideously renamed Impact, and previewed it at a 1990 auto show. CARB, the California group that regulates car pollution, took note and immediately raised its emissions standards. Car makers spotted a trend as well; Ford began to test its own electric vehicle, the Ecostar. But industrywide problems with batteries were persistent and absurdly costly—estimates to develop a new type of battery ran as high as $1 billion—and GM itself faced a tumultuous financial situation. Shnayerson's account of what happens next—to big Ken Baker, to the Impact, and to GM— is fun and beautifully written. Although it's not clear whether the electric car is the real thing, this business adventure story has heroes, a villain or two, and genuine hope for the future. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >