Goal Dust: An Autobiography, by Woody Strode and Sam Young (Madison Books, $18.95). A football player at UCLA in the 1930s with Jackie Robinson and Kenny Washington, Woody Strode went on to star in such films as "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "Spartacus." While never as famous as, say Sidney Poitier or Harry Belafonte, Strode enjoyed stardom in Italy, and his roles -- among them the title role John Ford's "Sergeant Rutledge" (1960) -- included many where depictions of blacks were remarkably rounded for the times.
Supreme Faith: Someday We'll Be Together, by Mary Wilson and Patricia Romanowski (HarperCollins, $19.95). The sequel to Mary Wilson's first book, Dreamgirl, Supreme Faith begins in 1970 with the departure of Diana Ross from the group to pursue a solo career. The group continued for another seven years, until Wilson decided to go off on her own. Though Wilson tells us that "the Supremes' story was a beautiful fairy tale and a dream come true," neither dreams nor fairy tales are always pleasant: Her new book covers her marriage to an abusive husband and paints Ross as a puzzling and quixotic figure.
Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirsts, and Madness, Or, My Life as a Fabulous Ronette, by Ronnie Spector (Harmony, $19.95). They looked like tough girls from New York's meanest streets, but the Ronettes were just nice kids from Spanish Harlem who liked to sing. Signed to the Colpix label, they put out a few records and did radio shows with disc jockey Murray the K (but every morning they still had to get up early to go to school). Real success came after the group signed with the legendary producer Phil Spector, but once Ronnie married the eccentric, reclusive Spector, she found herself trapped in his California mansion. The book features a foreword by Cher and an introduction by Billy Joel.
Jimi Hendrix: Inside the Experience, by Mitch Mitchell with John Platt (Harmony Books, $27.50). Aging children of the '60s may be forgiven for confronting this book with equal amounts of nostalgia and shock. On the one hand, Mitch Mitchell, the drummer for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, gives rock's seminal guitarist the star treatment he has always deserved. The book is gorgeous, profusely illustrated with photographs, reproductions of posters and album covers, and co-author John Platt provides the narrative history of the group, while Mitchell supplies first-person commentary. On the other hand, the book reminds us how much older we all are and how long ago that time was -- Hendrix died in 1970, only four years after the Experience released its first record.
The Motown Album: The Sound of Young America by Ben Fong-Torres (St. Martin's/Sarah Lazin, $50). This treasure trove of photographs manages to recapture the spirit of Motown Records, which began in a small Detroit frame house -- once called Hitsville USA, it is now the Motown Historical Museum -- and is now a multi-media Los Angeles conglomerate. The Motown Album begins with record-company founder Berry Gordy's decision to stop leasing his records to other companies and, with an $800 loan from his parents, to distribute them himself. All the artists and groups that made Motown great are here -- the Supremes, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson with and without the Miracles, Marvin
Medium Cool: The Movies of the 1960s, by Ethan Mordden (Knopf, $24.95). Ethan Mordden frames his analysis of '60s movies with "Psycho" (1960) and "The Wild Bunch" (1969), both scandalously lewd and violent films for their time. It was a decade in which the studio system breathed its last, in which the patriotic and family-oriented pieties of Hollywood's Golden Age were laid to rest, in which a new breed of star rose in the firmament (Steve McQueen, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Julie Christie, Warren Beatty), in which the director was frequently able to cop equal billing with the stars ("High Maestros" is Mordden's term for these new royals, the likes of Hitchcock, Peckinpah, Penn, Bergman, Antonioni, Visconti and Lester) -- and, as witness the two framing films, a decade in which new explicitness about sex and violence brought movies more into line with reality than ever before.