Offering an irreverent inside look at American entertainment, from the heyday of Hollywood and Las Vegas and the rise of television, this is a biography of Dean Martin. Born in Ohio, Dino Crocetti came up the hard way, pumping petrol, boxing, working in a steel mill and dealing craps in a local mob joint, before turning to singing. After two changes of name and a nose job, he rose to great heights of fame, wealth and power, and as his notoriety and fortune grew he withdrew more and more into the silence of seclusion. Eventually he ceased to perform. The book tells of Martin's rise to fame, and exposes the dark side of this success: the underworld secrets, the hidden regions of the American dream racket and the despair of a man driven into his own shadow. And along the way there are revelations about Sinatra, Monroe and the Hollywood/White House connection, and portraits of the Rat Pack, Jerry Lewis, and the mob's virtual invention of Las Vegas. The author's other books include "Hellfire", a biography of Jerry Lee Lewis.
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