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19 Reviews
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!
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...
Published on 4 Nov 2005

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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
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...
Published 12 months ago by Mr. J. H. Morris


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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 21 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Sinatra: The Life (Kindle Edition)
As ever, meticulously researched, not oplnlonated at all. Fascinating insight into an entertainment legend, who was always rumoured to have a dark side
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4.0 out of 5 stars A few observations and comments., 27 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Sinatra: The Life (Paperback)
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.
On page 53 there is a very erroneous information. It says Sinatra sang at the State Theater in Jersey City
in 1935 the sung "That old Black Magic:. This sung had not been composed yet until in 1942 by
Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer and was first heard in a Paramount Picture and sung by dick Powell and
also featuring Bing Crosby. the pictures name was Star Spangel Rhytm.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The worst is yet to come!, 5 Sep 2012
By 
Alex (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sinatra: The Life (Paperback)
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. It portrays him as a violent, selfish, sex-crazed alcoholic who is thoroughly in bed with the Mafia. To a significant extent, this is all undeniable. The question it left in my mind was whether the book's portrayal is accurate and he really was a monster, or whether he was a flawed human being with these characteristics but in a less extreme and slightly more forgivable and understandable way - which shade of grey is it? Is this book a bit one-sided, or was he really a terrifically nasty piece of work who had people severely beaten up and who sexually assaulted at least one woman and harassed others? I don't know. But this book has somewhat ruined Sinatra for me. I love his music, but I think it will be a long while before I can stomach listening to any of it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling story of a cowardly thug with a great talent, 29 July 2012
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This review is from: Sinatra: The Life (Paperback)
I was gripped throughout this book by the detailed descriptions of the life of this ultimately sad and immature man. The descriptions of his abuse of women whom he used by the score to satisfy his insatiable lust will make you cringe. He was similarly indifferent to the needs of those who worked for him and tossed them aside, even after many years, like so much garbage. He demanded unspecified loyalty and a retainer who inadvertently did not meet his unspoken requirements would be sacked. He saw himself as a macho man but his bullying ways, including the beating up of those who crossed him, required his paid henchmen to back him up. And yet this draft dodger was slavishly obsequious to the Kennedys who used and abused him as he did others.

He was incapable of sustaining a mature relationship with a woman and the pervading sorrow of his life was that he tried and failed many times to do so with Ava Gardner. He would sob with frustrated longing that he could not have Ava back but never saw that what he wanted was an ideal, a chimera and not a flesh and blood woman. The fact that she was also emotionally damaged made the task impossible.

It seems he really wanted to be a mafiosi and he admired them. They also terrified him when he failed to do what they asked. His relationships with mafia figures are described in detail and with astonishing knowledge. His consumption of hard liquor and cigarettes were legendary and physically damaging.

He was a major artist and he worked long and hard to perfect his artistry. His need for the adulation of his public was like a drug and he sought this long after his talent had eroded. He was also a man who was capable of many acts of exceptional generosity. These ranged from major projects in founding a hospital, helping disabled children to many small and intimate acts of personal kindness to many whom he knew who had fallen on hard times. These were often unpublicised, done personally and wholly admirable.

He worried about his lack of formal education and he read widely. What seemed to escape him were the realties of aging and mortality and he never came to terms with those. This is an enthralling story, brilliantly told and you do not have to be a Sinatra fan to be gripped by it. It is also an exposition of the vacuousness of a certain kind of showbiz celebrity where enough is never enough. And when the good times have gone the longing to have them back is itself a kind of emotional destruction.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect, 14 Mar 2012
This review is from: Sinatra: The Life (Hardcover)
This biography is extremely informative and well balanced. Sinatra was both saint and sinner and if you believe the anecdotal evidence he probably came as close as anyone could to being untouchable such was the power of the company he kept. The book's veracity is called into question however by a glaring error in chronology towards the end of Chapter 34 in which the writers' lump together celebrities who had had an impact on Sinatra who all died just two months before his 70th birthday in 1985. Considering there are numerous references during the early chapters to both Harry James and Bing Crosby it is inexplicable that these two gentlemen who died in 1983 and 1977 respectively should have been included. That this error was not corrected in subsequent prints is even stranger. Trivia maybe but still a good damn read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting, Well-Written, Well-Researched, "No Holds Barred" Biography Of Sinatra's Life!, 19 Nov 2011
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Bobbewig (New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sinatra: The Life (Paperback)
In Sinatra: The Life, Summers and Swan have written a in-depth, comprehensive chronicle of the iconic celebrity; and in doing so enables the reader to obtain an understanding of Sinatra that goes far behind his long, successful career as a world-renowned singer and actor. In this book, the reader not only gets to learn about all of Sinatra's 'beauty marks' throughout his illustrious career, but about all of his 'warts' as well -- and there were many of them. It is these "warts' that show that Sinatra had a dark side that goes against the grain of how many of Sinatra's long-time fans who wrote reviews of this book want to believe is true -- and, hence, contributes to the many 1 and 2 star ratings given to Sinatra:The Life.

Readers will get to see the side of Sinatra that is well-known to many of his fans; i.e., a man who was extremly loyal and generous to those he viewed as his friends (as long as he didn't feel they crossed him in the slightest way). In addition, they get to see the darker side of Sinatra, a side the authors pull no punches in enabling readers to learn about Sinatra's highly volatile (and often times violent) behavior, his self-serving nature, his sexual promiscuity, his being besot with insecurities, his suicide attempts, his political forays and, of course, his virtually career-long association with the Mob.

Needless to say, Sinatra was a very complex man and Summers and Swan wrote a very informative and interesting book that provides a well-balanced portrait of his life. I enjoyed Sinatra: The Life very much and recommend highly to anyone who wants to get to know the man in a way that they might not have known him before.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sinatra biography, 12 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Sinatra: The Life (Paperback)
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. Not what I had expected, but given the price, just about acceptable.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 18 Nov 2006
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Honesty (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sinatra: The Life (Paperback)
If you are an admirer of Frank Sinatra's supreme artistry, DO NOT read this book. It is both vitriolic and malicious. Most people would agree that Sinatra was no saint, but this aspect of his life is given total prominence throughout the book. Nowhere is any credit given for the good and generous things he did during his life. A man who gave so much pleasure to so many people through his music, who performed to world acclaim, and was at the top of his profession for more than 40 years deserves more credit and recognition than this poor attempt at a biography
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmn, 27 Feb 2007
This review is from: Sinatra: The Life (Paperback)
I am afraid that I didnt get to finish this book, I found it very hard going at times, mainly because the people mentioned in the book are sometimes referred to by their full names and later by their first names, which left me confused. I was really looking forward to reading this because he was a very interesting person, I found some of it interesting but mainly boring!
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