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Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams [Hardcover]

Nick Tosches
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Nov 1992
This biography of the 'fifties superstar Dean Martin takes an irreverent inside look at American entertainment from the 1930s to the 1980s. It examines the underworld secrets, the hidden regions of the American dream racket and the despair of a man driven into his own shadow by fame. There is also material on Sinatra, Monroe, Jerry Lewis, and the Hollywood / White House connection. By the author of "Hellfire", a biography of Jerry Lee Lewis.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd (9 Nov 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0436532026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0436532023
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.8 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,861,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Tosches was born (1949) in Newark, New Jersey, and raised by wolves from the other side. Through nepotism he became a barroom porter at the age of fourteen. Casting this career to the wind in his quest for creative fulfillment, he became a paste-up artist for the Lovable Underwear Company in New York City. On January 12, 1972, he went to lunch and never came back, drifting south to Florida, where, among other things, he worked as a snake-hunter for the Miami Serpentarium. After being bit on the shin one morning, he decided to forsake all further employment, and thus became a writer of poetry and prose.

Critical Acclaim for Nick Tosches:

"...'In the Hand of Dante can be classified as a work of mystery or crime, but the paths to and from its core mystery are far from predictable...'..." - Ian Penman, Guardian Unlimited

"...[Tosches] combines the starkness of Jim Thompson and the grittiness of Charles Bukowski with a highly literate sensibility...Mr. Tosches's powerful writing is often beautiful...." - Wall Street Journal

"...Few writers would even think of this kind of book, much less attempt to write it. And somehow, the sheer audaciousness of Tosches' writing not only blasts through our resistance to suspend disbelief but it also makes most other fiction seem phony by comparison...Tosches is ready to take his place at the front of the class in contemporary American literature...an inspired piece of fiction...." - San Francisco Chronicle

"...A splendid, passionate mess, with a moral fervor far exceeding most novels of better grooming...." - Will Blythe, New York Times

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Cinzia
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book fairly interesting but felt that the author was reluctant to use the many good tales of Dean Martin's generosity but decided instead to concentrate on all the negativity and even filled up with pages and pages of mafia information, which could have been about 10 pages less! This book is written part factual, part fantasy, which really spoils the book. If it had been written as factual rather than adding imaginary thoughts of how Dean Martin spoke and how he viewed the world, I would have enjoyed this book more. This author never even interviewed or even met Dean Martin yet he imagined he knew what he was thinking?! The bad language and the profanities were totally unnecessary as they weren't quotes from Dean Martin himself, but just the indulgence of the author, which was unnecessary and irrelevant to the book. He also added many Italian words but sometimes forgot to translate, which was incomplete. Also, he added his own opinions at times showing contempt for his subject, not the makings of a good journalist, I'm afraid. At times, the hatred for Frank Sinatra was also very evident. Towards the end of the book, it felt as if the author had given up on his subject and had lost interest finishing the book with Italian prose (without translation). On the whole, Dean Martin doesn't come out of this book too badly as there are many quotes from various people who worked with him and said they found him to be very professional and a wonderfully, warm and generous person without ego (this was often repeated by many people). There are notes at the back of the book with sources of information, a discography, movie section and index which show the depth of research made by the author, which I did find useful and interesting. Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Hey Pally! How long I been on?" 15 Jan 2007
In comparison with many other celebrities there hav'nt been a great deal of books published about Dean Martin, when you consider the dozens of books written about Dean's sometime stage partner, a little known gent by the name of Frank Sinatra, then it has to be asked why the same attention is not directed Dean's way,

Well I suppose you could say that Dino didn't attract the same kind of attention that usually came Frank's way, or you could say that Dino just wasn't as popular OR you could just say that after the publication of "Dino" by Nick Tosches, that there really wasn't anything else anyone could add,

A truly excellent book covering Dean's life from scrappy childhood through the early lean years, an extensive look at one of the most energetic, frenetic and ultimately combustible partnerships in the history of showbusiness as a decade of Martin and Lewis proved,continuing on through the Vegas and summit years, with the 'other' partnership of Sinatra, Martin and Davis Jnr hitting the heights, a focus on Dean's incredibly popular TV show in the 60's and the final wind down to retirement, the book, being penned in '92 falls short of Dean's death by a few years, though in no way suffers because of it, everything of importance that was acheived by this unique artist is suitably covered,

Over 400 pages are given to Dean's story followed by a listing of movies, tv app's, and music, invaluble to the completists among us, Tosches style is infectious, you are drawn into Dean's world and the event's surrounding it, you hear the crowds, smell the atmosphere, feel the triumphs and the heartbreaks that made up the man's years, the image of the funloving, hard drinking, don't give a **** ladies man, was in many respects just that, an image!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

As a Dean Martin Filmography and Discography (with dates of actual recording sessions,record numbers,etc)and not just details of the contents of albums and records,etc,it's a very good referance book - the biblography and source material referance section is also informative and interesting.
Dean Martin,besides being one of the most handsome men,who was the archetypal tall,dark,handsome,romantic leading man in films and television,etc,was a highly talented singer,actor,comedian,and an all round entertainer who had great charisma.Other objective facts were that he had an amusing "cool,happy-go-lucky,boozing and smoking,wine,women and song" image that the general public rightly loved.And at least some of this image was not just a publicity gimmick,but was a genuine ingredient of his personality - you saw some of this on his television shows when he was being his self. There have been several excellent and accurate biographies on Dean Martin,such as those by Arthur Marx and Michael Freedland and Deana Martin -Dean-Dino's daughter.
And then along comes this so-called biography DINO by this Nick Tosches guy,which objectively reads more like a half fantasy novel and half biography,a large part of which is subjectively written by the author who assumes, inacurrately,the thoughts of Dean Martin.Tosches expects us to believe that Dean Martin was a man who did not give a damn about anything - on the contray for one thing,Dean was most upset about his career after he had the bust-up with Jerry Lewis. Dean was almost down and out,and so was his marriage to Jeanne - he was in tears over both his marriage and career,but both of these were rebuilt.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 28 days ago by William Finch
4.0 out of 5 stars Good on character poor on career analysis.
This book is written with a style similar to a James Elroy novel, which means you need effort to extract the essence. Read more
Published on 19 Jan 2011 by Tysonbob
1.0 out of 5 stars Living High and Over-Writing Like Mad
Anyone who produces a book with 23 pp of notes, 46 pp of "sources", 23pp of discography, and a 23 page index, seriously misses the point. Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2010 by Ms. Fiona Allen
4.0 out of 5 stars An Eye-Opening Read
The foul language that peppers this book prevents me from giving it 5 stars but it is nevertheless a great read and a real eye-opener into the US entertainment industry. Read more
Published on 29 May 2009 by N. Hawkes
1.0 out of 5 stars warning - contains spoilers!
If you hold Dean Martin in any regard as a performer, then avoid this book. I wanted to read about Dean Martin's life, but now wish I hadn't bothered, as all I've taken from the... Read more
Published on 28 April 2009 by wiggypig
5.0 out of 5 stars VIVA LAS DINO!
Absolutely fantastic! A must read book for everyone who has heard of Dean Martin (and let's face it there can't be many people who haven't). Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2002 by Paula Lees
5.0 out of 5 stars The drinks, the broads, the celebrity roasts!!!
Dino ? Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams
Nick Tosches
Dino is an extraordinary blend of cod-Chandler thriller and American social history. Read more
Published on 15 Jan 1999
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