"The Birth of Loud" by Ian S. Sport: R&R gear history book goes to 11

I totally dug this wonderful book of the early days of rock and roll [Amazon], featuring the creators of the music and the gear. Even if you already know some of the history of Leo Fender and Les Paul, you'll enjoy this imaginative retelling of how Stratocasters, Fender amps, and Gibson Les Paul guitars came to be. It's like you're right there at Leo's backyard cook out with Paul Bigsby and Les Paul sharing—and stealing!– the latest cool guitar innovations. Sure, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix are included, but it's the lore of the early days that really comes to life, like guitar slinger Dick Dale and his wild man, loud style that fried amps and shredded speakers. Just for him, Leo birthed 'The Showman,' the first powerful "stack" amplifier with special heavy-duty JBL speaker–and instantly lost the hearing in one ear while doing it. That's LOUD!  Even non-musicians will enjoy reading this lively tale of the rock-and-roll arms race.