Terry Teachout, Pops: A Life Of Louis Armstrong (Houghton Mifflin). Teachout is a consummate biographer. His books about H.L. Mencken and George Balanchine proved that. With Armstrong, he exceeds himself. Teachout combines the advantage of unique access to Armstrong’s archives with deep musical understanding and the gift of writing clearly about complex matters. He makes the reader understand that when the history is told and the analysis finished, there is just one real explanation of how a waif from the underside of life changed music forever: genius. Getting to that point, Teachout takes us on an unforgettable trip.