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Quick, how many directors can you name who have pulled a 320-ton steamship over a mountain? Yes, that megalomaniacal masterpiece Fitzcarraldo is just further proof that Werner Herzog stands alone in the annals of filmmaking. And though this tireless artist is still regularly creating vital works, that 1982 film’s legendary production continues to fascinate like no other. Now you can learn all about it firsthand with Herzog’s new book, Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of “Fitzcarraldo,” a diary of his three-year journey in the Amazon to realize his outsize vision. Read more about the book, and Herzog, from the Los Angeles Times’s Lawrence Levi, who writes that Conquest “reveals him to be witty, compassionate, microscopically observant, and—your call—either maniacally determined or admirably persevering.” (And Janet Maslin just posted her review at theNew York Times, along with an excerpt from this “mesmerizingly bizarre account.”) And, of course, you can see for yourself the arduousness of the Fitzcarraldo shoot, as documented in Les Blank’s extraordinary Burden of Dreams.

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