Burning Up the Air

By Steve Elman and Alan Tolz (Commonwealth Editions, 352 pages, $27.95)

Long before Imus and Carr, there was Jerry Williams, a talk-radio pioneer who took aim at the Hub’s politicians and the outrages they trafficked in. This bio (the authors are both former producers for Williams, who died in 2003) makes like quality radio: no cheap superficiality, or lingering on any one point. Fast-paced and crisply written, it succeeds at placing Williams’s rise and fall in vivid historical context. As the host would have wanted, there’s no dead air in this show.