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on 3 December 2011
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. However, if you want to read a good book on the REAL Dean Martin, (funny stories and all) read Ricci Martin's or Deana (whiney) Martin's books which reveal their father to be a wonderful, caring LOVELY family man. Even after reading this book by Nick Tosches, Dean Martin still comes across as a very likeable person. In fact, having now read a few books on Dean Martin, I can honestly say he was one of the nicest men in showbusiness and there will never be anyone like him!!
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on 5 March 2014
DINO LIVING HIGH IN THE DIRTY BUSINESS OF WRITING INACCURATE BIOGRAPHIES!

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. He was also heartbroken over the loss of his son,Dean,Jnr,in 1987. He also cared about the rest of his family,and also his friends,such as fellow Rat Pack members,Sammy Davies,Jnr,Joey Bishop and Frank Sinatra.He also cared about total strangers:read Deana's book. According to Tosches Dean never gave any interviews. Not so. Dean gave several interviews to both magazines and television,and at least two or three interviews for BBC Television in the mid-1980s,one of which was turned in to a television programme!:Wine,Women And Song.You can watch several of these Dean Martin interviews on YouTube-the real Dean Martin is objectively reavealed! NOT the "Pseudo Dean Martin Fantasy Character" subjectvely and inaccurately conjured up by Tosches! Tosches says he wasn't in to politics.Not so,although he publicly supported Frank Sinatra's drive to get Kennedy elected,Dean actually voted for Nixon!
There are several more factual mistakes in this scurrilous book,which has a lot of swear words,which nearly all come from the author (not Dean,or Frank,or whoever),nearly all of which are totally unnessary.Some writers purposely write controversial and sensationalistic biographies to boost the sales of their books. And this book about Dino is almost certainly one of them! Thus Tosches subjectively portrays Dean as almost inhuman,an America with no high culture,an American public who were supposedley content with circuses and bread,etc, and a load of other nonsense,including the very misguided statement by that bloody fool T.S.Eliot,on the great and descriptive word "Television".Therefore,bearing in mind that this book mainly and deservedly received poor reviews when it was published,is objectively,for the most part a subjectively impressionistic, inacurrate,so-called "biography" of Dean Martin,a portrayal of the American culture (which objectively has an high culture,by the way) and the American entertainment industry -of course the dates,facts and numbers re the industry are accurate. Tosches also has an unpleasant off-handed attitude towards most,if not all, of the characters in the book,including at times,Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.Dino Living High In The Dirty Business Of Dreams,whose author,Nick Tosches,gets carried away with his own somewhat poetic-style of fantasy writing,is,in some respects, entertaining,but apart from the discography,etc,it is,for the most part, objectively a load of rubbish. And Dean Martin's family ought to sue Tosches for damages!
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on 13 February 2002
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). Think you may know all there is about Dean and the Rat Pack?, then think again after reading this book. Mr Sinatra, big chief with the Mafia? think again. Dean had just as much power if not more. It takes you right back to the very beginnings, through the adventures, the Rat Pack Years and towards his eventual reclusiveness. (Oh, did I forget about the broads and the booze!!!)
A real stunner of a story which you must read soon. Buy this book now.
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on 28 April 2009
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 book's "scorching" content is an image of a sad drunk who didn't care about himself or anyone else - no "living high" as far as I could tell.
Ridiculous prose, Italian words used without translation on every page and unwieldy sentences - almost every one with an extra bit inserted like this - make it hard work to follow what is going on in this book. The author has clearly done a lot of research, although very little of it includes actually speaking to people close to Dino, and he tries too hard to shove every last fact or vaguely related name-drop into the story. I kept reading in case the narrative suddenly started painting a personal picture of the man, but this never happened. I got a completely different picture of Dean from the mentions he got in George Jacob's memoir of life with Sinatra and I do wonder who knew him better? Not a nice read in either content or style.
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on 15 January 1999
Dino ? Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams
Nick Tosches
Dino is an extraordinary blend of cod-Chandler thriller and American social history. Tosches chronicles the rise of Dean Martin from gangster-ridden Steubenville to his heyday in gangster-ridden Vegas. The divorces, drinks, celebrity-roast shows of the 70s are all laid bare. Dino, a man seemingly unhindered by intellectual and emotional content, rode the showbiz rollercoaster with more concern for the glass in his hand than his friends, family or self-esteem. The book is as incisive a portrait of the struggle of Italian-Americans as it is of Dino‚s struggle to stay solvent or simply cling to the bar. A joy to read and a must for all lounge afficiandos.
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on 15 January 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! the reality was a far different story and one that should be read,

Criticism's here state that you don't see the man behind the facade, how can this be a criticism when it forms the whole backbone and fabric of the man, Dean Martin WAS an enigma, not to be catagorised or pidgeon holed, later books written by members of his own family bear this out, a very complex and introspective individual not renowned for showing emotion or weakness who was impossible to fully fathom, Tosches here take's the author common liberty when faced with the issue of frequently writing Dean's feelings from his own viewpoint, an often dangerous road to take but here you can't help but appreciate the author's obvious affinity with his subject and the book is all the more enjoyable for it,

So to anyone remotely interested in Dean's story or just in an intimate snapshot and peak into a showbiz world long gone, then do yourself a favour, buy the book, pour yourself a wee drinky, put your feet up and dive in baby.
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on 29 May 2009
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.

OK, we all know that the USA is Mafia Country but I would have liked to have seen a little more balance; there must be some decent people around surely? Tosches is very good in describing the early Italian community in Ohio and the wheeling and dealing that went on but I can't believe that that's the whole story.

The book, and indeed some review comments on the cover, suggest that Dean was a lightweight talent and that it's difficult now to remember what he was famous for. I think that is unfair. He WAS a great singer in his chosen style and area and a very good actor in many different roles. He was of that generation of American entertainers who exuded a relaxed aura that made people feel good at his shows.

This is a much different book to the usual light, slavish junk that masquerades as biography. Recommended, but remember it's strong and may not be for those who like their heroes in candyfloss.
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on 19 January 2011
This book is written with a style similar to a James Elroy novel, which means you need effort to extract the essence. You also need to understand the scattering of obscenities is part of the lifestyle rendering.
Very strong on research, particularly on the early life associates. It gives a very believable reading of a talented, handsome, affable man who suffered chronic and overwhelming ennui throughout his life. This was coupled with an inability to turn anything down as long as it did not confict with his sense of isolation. Anyone who got to know him to well was stealing his soul.
At the end of the book I felt I had a good understanding of Dean's character but little understanding of what made him so successful. Success must have been more than luck. especially for a man who it seemed did not like audiences but could not quite get round to telling them.
I would not have paid to see him sing and have only ever bought his music as part of mixed albums (with Sinatra and Davis), but his musical renditions have lasted and he must tie with Louis Armstrong for use of his songs in adverts and to set the scene in 50s & 60s based film and TV dramas.
The contrast with Sinatra is well brought out in character, though not in performance style.
You get the impression at a party Sinatra's accolytes would be in awe and some fear but Martin's would be having fun.
The contrast in singing styles one who at his best sounded like he meant it the other who always sounded like he did not care, is just about covered but Martin's fast wit is given little airing.
If you are looking for what made Martin a great performer you will not really be wiser. If you are interested in why Dean Martin's life was like it was, pretty good.
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on 9 June 2010
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. Dean Martin was a much better singer than Sinatra, i.m.h.o., and a decent actor, albeit one who made some dreadful movies. However, if Nick Tosches had emulated Dino and done half the amount of work he put into this book, it would have been much easier to read, in every sense. I learned more about Jerry Lewis than I ever wanted to know, and the liberal use of profanities sits oddly with the occasional quotation from Latin. Cut down by at least 25 % and heavily edited, this would have been a good read. As it is......... it's just not worth it.
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on 31 July 2014
good
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