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Sinatra: The Life [Hardcover]

Anthony Summers , Robbyn Swan
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 May 2005

Frank Sinatra said that, as a child, he heard ‘symphonies from the universe’ in his head. At twenty-five, he told a friend he planned to become ‘the best singer in the world’. Soon teenagers worldwide were behaving as though he were just that. He was ‘the Big Bang of popular music’, as U2’s Bono has put it, and he remained a towering figure for more than fifty astonishing years.

‘The day Frank Sinatra dies,’ an aficionado declared in the early nineties, ‘the 20th Century is over.’ It ended in 1998 by that reckoning, and six years after his death here is the landmark life story the legend deserves. Sinatra was much more than his music. He was a political maverick, lover of a multitude of women, prone to violence and – most controversially – linked to the Mafia. Renowned biographer Anthony Summers and co-author Robbyn Swan have worked for four years to track down the truth and unravel the mysteries. They deliver stark new facts on Sinatra’s tangled relationships with U.S. presidents, interview the women in his life, and get to the heartbreaking core of the tempestuous marriage to Ava Gardner. In a sensational breakthrough, they uncover the origins of the Mafia connection, and trace the course of a life lived dangerously.

Sinatra penetrates the private world the singer famously kept closed. It is packed with shocking revelations yet always remains compassionate and fair. This is the definitive book on a complex, flawed genius, from masters of the craft of biography.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (9 May 2005)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0385609248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385609241
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.4 x 5.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 565,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A compelling account of a tantalizing life...An instant bestseller.' -- Irish Times

'A mountain of information...Fascinating.' -- Los Angeles Times

'After reading this unsparing biography by a renowned investigative journalist, forgiveness comes hard...Good on the Mafia connections.' -- Daily Mail

'No stone astonishing job.' -- Irish Examiner

'Painstaking research ... Definitive biography.' -- [Belfast] Irish News

'Startling...sensational new information.' -- Irish Independent

Book Description

The first and last definitive, fully-documented,massively researched birth-to-death biography of Frank Sinatra by the bestselling author of File on the Tsar and Goddess:The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! 4 Nov 2005
By A Customer
Having read the George Jacobs book and being a fan of his music I bought this with some prior knowledge of Frank but the detail in this book was beyond anything I expected. His early days, the mob, the Kennedy's, Communism, Ava Gardner etc. are covered here with an objective view neither condemning nor condoning. Well researched and written, I couldn't put it down and I'd recommend it to anyone. It was a very good book.....
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and easy to read 4 April 2006
By A Customer
Though containing none of the controversial or explosive material often associated with Summers' books, this is one of the better biographies of Sinatra.
Much of it is taken from other published sources, which is slightly disappointing, but as a comprehensive and easy-to-read biography it has great merit. Certainly for anyone new to Sinatra's life this book will be informative and save many a pound on buying other, less thorough biographies of the man.
Summers remains on the whole neutral in this work, presenting fact, fiction and anecdote for the reader to interpret, but while leaving few dark areas unexplored he gives recognition to Sinatra's hard work and determination to get to the top and stay there.
A good one to have on the shelves for a well-rounded look at the life of this complex man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A book for people who don't like Sinatra 1 Aug 2013
Yes, this book is very well researched, fairly well written and very comprehensive about Sinatra's dark side but there is very little about his music and films. So the question that has to be asked is "Do the authors of the book even like Sinatra?" I would say no, I can't recall a single sentence that shows any passion for Sinatra's art. That's what rankles me about this obsession with Sinatra's evidently quite serious flaws. Sure, there are the Mafia connections, the womanising, the mistreatment of friends and colleagues, suicide attempts, heavy drinking, violent outbursts - all of this is shocking stuff, but for a true Sinatra fan, all of this pales into insignificance next to the sheer joy and beauty of his music. So ultimately, this is a very boring book because it fails to discuss Sinatra as a serious artist. I don't doubt any of the stories that paint Sinatra as a nasty piece of work, but that stuff is just not interesting compared to his creative work which in this book is almost entirely ignored. If you don't believe me, I had to check several times in the index to confirm that Gordon Jenkins, one of Sinatra's major collaborators and arrangers and so important in his artistry, is mentioned ONCE in this book. Yes, once. That is truly astonishing and unforgiveable for a book that unfortunately fails to display any interest in why it subject is so revered. (As a comparison, it's like having a book on Lennon that discusses his jealousy, drug addiction, nastiness, insecurity for 400 pages, then has one sentence on the whole of the Imagine album).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I read Anthony Summers' book 'File on the Tsar' many years ago and was impressed with the depth of research. I was similarly impressed with the depth of research involved with this biography of Frank Sinatra, unquestionably one of the greatest entertainers of all time. But I finished it feeling just a little let down; it incorporates a considerable amount of material, some old, some not so new, about Sinatra's already well documented connections with the Mafia. It is also unsparing in its description of Sintra the flawed human being. I just couldn't help feeling that it almost needed more material about Sinatra the artist, genius or not, to balance it up a little, or at least to round it off; certainly I finished it with the overriding impression that Sinatra was a thoroughly unpleasant character, and certainly not a sympathetic one.

On top of that is the book's deceptive size: the whole volume has a total of 573 numbered pages. The actual narrative, however, takes up only 389 of those pages; the remainder comprises extensive 'Notes and Sources' (and an index), plus acknowledgements.

So although I generally enjoyed it, if anyone were to ask me for my personal recommendation for the best Sinatra biography available, I would unhesitatingly say the (earlier) one by J. Randall Taraborrelli.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Having now read this book twice I am happy to say that Sinatra: The Life is an interesting, engaging and even-handed look at the life and work of arguably one of the most iconic entertainment figures of the twentieth century Francis Albert Sinatra.

The book takes us from Sinatra's birth in 1915 through his childhood, his career up's and down's and his later life and death. It discusses both his Music and Film careers in quite a lot of depth and details both the good, bad and medicore work he was involved with.

It also doesn't shy away from Sinatra's links to Organized Crime,his political dealings and his complicated and erratic personal life.

I like this book for many reasons, one is that the book is expansive and is a thorough glimpse through Sinatra's life and times. Secondly the book is an entertaining read with information gathered from hundred's of interview's from high profile names from Hollywood Star's, to local resident's of Sinatra's hometown of Hoboken New Jersey.

For me this is the defintive book on Frank Sinatra's life and work and I highly recommend this to anyone with just a passing interest in him and his music.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Another gift for mother from the master, she loved it and has passed round the family. Really good just as promised great delivery and service.
Published 5 months ago by Margaret Darbyshire
5.0 out of 5 stars Sinatra: The Life
This is a very good 'warts and all' book which tells of Sinatra's good points and bad points. I found it hard to put down once I had started.
Published 5 months ago by Betty Souter
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best
This is another book in the vein of the Kitty Kelly tome. Not really a balanced view and at odds with many respected books on Sinatra.
Published 5 months ago by P. Mellors
5.0 out of 5 stars sinatra
love this book, then i gave it to my mom to read, shes a big fan, great condition thank you.
Published 7 months ago by Anthony Knight
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
As ever, meticulously researched, not oplnlonated at all. Fascinating insight into an entertainment legend, who was always rumoured to have a dark side
Published 7 months ago by Nick Gee
5.0 out of 5 stars Great biography
This is the most deeply researched book on Sinatra I have had the pleasure of reading. Couldn't put it down.
Published 8 months ago by M. Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Sinatra biography
The item arrived promptly, but was not in a very good condition. It was fairly dirty, obviously read more than once, and quite tatty with some loose pages. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ms. Joan Bridgland
4.0 out of 5 stars A few observations and comments.
I liked this book because I am interested in Sinatra's life and work .It was easy reading and tells you what a
bitch of a woman Barbara was who took Sinatra for a run. Read more
Published 17 months ago by DEMETRIO INCHAUSTI
4.0 out of 5 stars The worst is yet to come!
Yes, it's a very good book. Thoroughly researched, well written, professionally sourced. But it comprehensively demolishes Sinatra the man in a way that leaves no room to hide. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Alex
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling story of a cowardly thug with a great talent
I was gripped throughout this book by the detailed descriptions of the life of this ultimately sad and immature man. Read more
Published on 29 July 2012 by Broga
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