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His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra

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This is the book Frank Sinatra failed to stop,  the unauthorized biography of one of the most  elusive public figures of our time. Celebrated  journalist Kitty Kelley spent three years researching  government documents (Mafia-related material, wiretaps  and secret testimony) and interviewing more than  800 people in Sinatra's life (family, colleagues,  law-enforcement offi This is the book Frank Sinatra failed to stop,  the unauthorized biography of one of the most  elusive public figures of our time. Celebrated  journalist Kitty Kelley spent three years researching  government documents (Mafia-related material, wiretaps  and secret testimony) and interviewing more than  800 people in Sinatra's life (family, colleagues,  law-enforcement officers, personal friends). Fully  documented, highly detailed and filled with  revealing anecdotes, here is the penetrating story of  the explosively controversial and undeniably  multi-talented legend who ruled the entertainment  industry for more than fifty  years.


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This is the book Frank Sinatra failed to stop,  the unauthorized biography of one of the most  elusive public figures of our time. Celebrated  journalist Kitty Kelley spent three years researching  government documents (Mafia-related material, wiretaps  and secret testimony) and interviewing more than  800 people in Sinatra's life (family, colleagues,  law-enforcement offi This is the book Frank Sinatra failed to stop,  the unauthorized biography of one of the most  elusive public figures of our time. Celebrated  journalist Kitty Kelley spent three years researching  government documents (Mafia-related material, wiretaps  and secret testimony) and interviewing more than  800 people in Sinatra's life (family, colleagues,  law-enforcement officers, personal friends). Fully  documented, highly detailed and filled with  revealing anecdotes, here is the penetrating story of  the explosively controversial and undeniably  multi-talented legend who ruled the entertainment  industry for more than fifty  years.

30 review for His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    I read it so you don’t have to. Yeah, this is another celebrity behaving (very) badly biography. It seems that Kitty Kelley had an axe to grind when she wrote this book. There’s very little here that reflects on Sinatra in a positive light. It’s one unpleasant story after another about Sinatra acting horribly. The ironic thing is that Kelley’s flat, toneless style barely makes any of this even remotely compelling. There is barely any discussion or scholarship about what Sinatra will ultimately I read it so you don’t have to. Yeah, this is another celebrity behaving (very) badly biography. It seems that Kitty Kelley had an axe to grind when she wrote this book. There’s very little here that reflects on Sinatra in a positive light. It’s one unpleasant story after another about Sinatra acting horribly. The ironic thing is that Kelley’s flat, toneless style barely makes any of this even remotely compelling. There is barely any discussion or scholarship about what Sinatra will ultimately be remembered for – his music. Sure, the man was guilty of misogyny, cruelty, arrogance, bullying, hanging out with mobsters, etc, but just about 99% of the musicians on my IPod are guilty of some offense. As proof, let’s shuffle away. Hector Berlioz – Opium addict and stalker Eric Clapton – slept with best friend’s wife Rod Stewart – recorded disco music The Partridge Family (how the hell did this get on my IPod!) – responsible for unleashing Danny Bonaduce on the world. Michael Jackson – where do I start? The Velvet Underground – I think Lou Reed killed a guy The Doors – Jim Morrison, hah! See? No mention in this book of In the Wee Small Hours, arguably one of the first “concept” albums, and a record that makes it on bucket lists of albums one must listen to before one dies. No mention of Sinatra and Sextet or Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely or any of his great albums. Just pages of about as much dirt as anyone would bother to want to read. The man was a horse's ass, but this book is relentless. On a positive note, I listened to plenty of Sinatra while reading this (to offset the negativity, I suppose) and I present a Sinatra top ten (an idea borrowed from Dan’s excellent review of Johnny Cash: The Life). 1. You Make Me Feel So Young – a highlight from the movie Elf. Elf is the default holiday movie at our household. The one that gets watched endlessly. We use lines from the movie as non-sequitors for the rest of the year. A Christmas gift that keeps on giving. 2. Fly Me to the Moon – an old friend wrote a play that featured this song. The play was terrible, but it was the first time I seriously listened to Sinatra. 3. Young-At-Heart - My son picked out Gold, a greatest hits album, from a bargain bin and said, “Dad, this is supposed to be good. You should buy it.” I did and have been slowly building a Sinatra collection ever since. This song closed out the movie, The Front, a movie about blacklisting, with Woody Allen. 4. Something – Sinatra rarely covered rock songs well. This one is no exception. He changes the lyrics “you stick around now, it may show” to “you stick around, Jack, she might show.” George Harrison liked the change so much he adapted them in his performance. 5. Something Stupid – Forced to play this on the clarinet, when I was in the 4th grade. Gah!! 6. I’ve Got You Under My Skin – the live, up tempo version. Run for cover. Run and hide. 7. Luck Be a Lady – Brando sang it in the Guys and Dolls movie. 8. New York, New York – Lived in NYC for awhile. Met my wife there. Song still gives me goose bumps. That said, it is not an endorsement of the schizo Martin Scorsese movie of the same name. 9. That’s Life – He really smokes this one. 10. High Hopes – Laverne and Shirley used to sing this one.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I love Frank Sinatra's music but I would never have wanted to meet him in real life. Frank Sinatra was a HORRIBLE PERSON! I think that Kitty Kelley perfectly described Sinatra when she stated that "Nothing less than adulation would suffice. Criticism of any kind produced attacks that were unsparing in acrimony and at their worst alarming irrational". Frank was a complicated man. Had he ever gone to a therapist for more than a few sessions, I wonder what his diagnosis would have been. Probably Bi I love Frank Sinatra's music but I would never have wanted to meet him in real life. Frank Sinatra was a HORRIBLE PERSON! I think that Kitty Kelley perfectly described Sinatra when she stated that "Nothing less than adulation would suffice. Criticism of any kind produced attacks that were unsparing in acrimony and at their worst alarming irrational". Frank was a complicated man. Had he ever gone to a therapist for more than a few sessions, I wonder what his diagnosis would have been. Probably Bi-Polar disorder given his wild mood swings. One second he's the life of the part then literally minutes later Frank would be either dangerously enraged or so depressed that friends feared he would harm himself. Frank was an intensely difficult person to be around. He was extremely verbally(and sometimes physically) abusive person. Frank Sinatra seems (to me) like he had extremely low self esteem and instead of looking within he lashed out at others. I know some of you will say But Erin, Kitty Kelley is legendarily known for making her subjects as unlikable as possible. How can you believe her? Because this ain't my first Sinatra bio. And in every single on of them he is portrayed the same way. Even people who knew and loved Frank though he kind of a DICK! His Way was a fascinating and complicated look at a fascinating and complicated man. I enjoyed this book even if sometimes I didn't enjoy the man about who the book is about. A must read for biography lovers and Sinatra fans.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    It's obvious why this biography (written while Sinatra was very much alive) is "unauthorized," as it dredges up memories that I'm sure Sinatra would have rather forgotten. Like his treatment of Lauren Bacall when they were engaged (seconded by Bacall herself in her own autobiography which is in itself a very good read). My idea of hell, would be to be engaged romantically with someone like Frank Sinatra--flakey, unreliable, immoral, adulterous, cruel and manipulative. Musically? He was brilliant, It's obvious why this biography (written while Sinatra was very much alive) is "unauthorized," as it dredges up memories that I'm sure Sinatra would have rather forgotten. Like his treatment of Lauren Bacall when they were engaged (seconded by Bacall herself in her own autobiography which is in itself a very good read). My idea of hell, would be to be engaged romantically with someone like Frank Sinatra--flakey, unreliable, immoral, adulterous, cruel and manipulative. Musically? He was brilliant, but as Kelley portrays him, in his personal life, he waffled from being a complete thug to a devoted father (at least to his daughter, Nancy). I think Kelley really researched this book well, though it's obvious, she could only interview distant friends, ex-friends. So in that regard, it's a bit biased. If you're looking for a discussion on his musicology, this isn't your book. If you wanting the dish, and how he tied into the mob, and his love affairs, then this is your go-to book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diane C.

    Kitty Kelley is seen as a muckracker, trying to bring the mighty down to size and embarrass them. On the contrary.....after reading her books about Jackie O., Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan and the Bush family, I found a greater understanding of them as situated in the human condition we all share, no matter how much I might still disagree with their choices.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Fan of Frank Sinatra? Do not - I repeat - DO NOT read this book! And don't read the rest of my review. I still love his music, but man was he... a piece of trash. Wait up, I am getting ahead of myself. Let's do this the proper way. THE BOOK IN ITSELF The writing style is so f*cking dry. It's facts, facts, quotes, pictures, facts, quotes. I mean, this might be my second or third biography, but this one was t-e-d-i-o-u-s to read. A real task, 0 fun, all the facts. It felts like I was studying! Whic Fan of Frank Sinatra? Do not - I repeat - DO NOT read this book! And don't read the rest of my review. I still love his music, but man was he... a piece of trash. Wait up, I am getting ahead of myself. Let's do this the proper way. THE BOOK IN ITSELF The writing style is so f*cking dry. It's facts, facts, quotes, pictures, facts, quotes. I mean, this might be my second or third biography, but this one was t-e-d-i-o-u-s to read. A real task, 0 fun, all the facts. It felts like I was studying! Which is not good. Reading one chapter left me absolutely exhausted, hence the two months time reading this. WHAT IS THE BOOK ABOUT The title is pretty self-explanatory, but it is an unauthorized biography about Frank Sinatra, legendary crooner and thief of hearts in the 40s, 50s, dare we say maybe even de 60s. If you don't know his music, you are seriously missing out! WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS BOOK I love his music, okay? My whole family loves his music! It has a richness we just don't find in music anymore. It's different, warm, and makes me want to drink whiskey while smoking a cigar. WHY I AM SHOOKETH I had this illusion in my mind, form listening to his songs, his ballads about love, devotion and love again, that Frank was such a nice, romantic dude! Okay, he had weird friends, like the mafia mobs, but we've all made questionable choices when it comes to some friendships. Frank was not exception, plus, it was the 50s! Give the dude some credit! At the most, I thought it was a little exciting that he had 'bad friends' that 'worked for the people' (as the mafia had been advertised by many movies). Turns out he was a 1) cheating husband, 2) violent (both physically and verbally) person - particularly towards his wives (he had 4 of them, the 3rd he married when he was 50, and she 19), and 3) he was a racist, mysoginistic a*s . Or, are you thinking, ''wasn't he friends with Samuel Davis Jr.?'' Yes, yes, that he was. He basically started Sam's career. Didn't keep Frank from calling him the 'N' word behind the scenes, though, while other people adverted their eyes in shame. Frank was also the kind of Dad to favor his first child. The other two could suck it up and cry in a corner for all he cared. In brief, he was a bully and that broke my heart. What Frank wanted, Frank got. And you did not want to be the person standing in his way - no matter if you were family, friend or foe. In fact, Frank had this tendency of being nicest to strangers. So... that says a lot about his character, eh? This book his about all of his success and his failures. Let me just say, it's called the 'unauthorized' biography because Frank tried to stop the publication of this book by suing the author. Before the book was even written. Like??? That's Frank in a nutshell. Don't get me wrong, he's had a difficult life - nothing went smoothly or easy. But that was all a consequence of his petty ego. He's made his bed, and made other people sleep in it. I feel like he thrived in the drama, in the violence, in the fake-ass Hollywood pride. He loved it. He loved being friends with *both* Presidents (many of them) and Mafia mobs. He had the most toxic relationships with everyone, and he was the most toxic person I've even read about. He got people fired from their jobs because..they were doing their jobs! But not the way Frank wanted to. A lot of people got laughed at, pushed over, a*s slapped, humiliated, punched, etc. by Frank Sinatra and his goons. It was never good enough. He sexually harassed women - and people let him do it because, well, it was Frank Sinatra so... But all of this really comes from two things: 1) he was an untreated bipolar, which lead to a lot of manic and depressed episodes in his life, he was a real mood swinger, 2) his mama raised him to be his mama's boy, and we all know how that goes. Was he just bad? No, nobody really is! He was extremely generous. He was indeed charming, he would've never made it this far if it wasn't the case. I want to make that clear. But he's not my kind of fellow. BASICALLY, I feel extremely relieved that I am finally done with this book. I need a break from the drama Frank brought in the past weeks. Am I glad I read it? Yeah, it was freaking interesting. Will I read it again? Never.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathie H

    Although I adore Frank Sinatra's music, I felt physically ill reading about his life. This seems to be a meticulously researched book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

    Sinatra is easy target, since his short temper and hatred of journalists (no doubt, created from first-hand experiences) was well documented and world known. Like all of us, he probably had some positive and negative sides - Kelley however is not interested in anything positive and she weaves a portrait so unflattering that it makes one wonder why anybody ever liked this man in the first place. His life work - music - is described only trough financial perspective and influence this creates, whi Sinatra is easy target, since his short temper and hatred of journalists (no doubt, created from first-hand experiences) was well documented and world known. Like all of us, he probably had some positive and negative sides - Kelley however is not interested in anything positive and she weaves a portrait so unflattering that it makes one wonder why anybody ever liked this man in the first place. His life work - music - is described only trough financial perspective and influence this creates, which of course shows author's tunnel vision - she went in for gossip, dirty secrets, nastiness and hidden portrait in the attic. Almost grudgingly she admits Sinatra also helped a lot of people along the way, but hey, this book is not about good Sinatra, next page she switches on another fight, insult and abuse. She can be very persuasive sometimes, when someone finally punches him and breaks his teeth, I almost cheered. It does not diminish my pleasure in his music, but once you read Kelley you never see her subject with same eyes. What Kitty Kelley does - and very successfully - is to fight against surreal celebrity cult that grows stronger every day in tabloid America. She uses all weapons in her disposal to throw mud on Icons lot of people actually worship simply because they are famous, there is a interesting psychological idea behind this and like it or not, there are those who actually believe that TV stardom (of any kind) will make them happy. Like all of us, Sinatra was a mortal who used the time given to cope with his share of troubles and Kelley surely focuses on troubles only.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Rich

    I have no problem with unauthorized biographies. It would be ridiculous to write about Sinatra without talking about his four marriages, mafia connections, political posturing, bodyguards, bad relations with the press, etc. BUT it is also equally absurd to say nothing about Songs For Swinging Lovers, "World on a String," "Under My Skin," "Witchcraft," etc., etc. But the author is clearly a gossip columnist and not a music writer. She doesn't even discuss the films much. No mention of Pal Joey or I have no problem with unauthorized biographies. It would be ridiculous to write about Sinatra without talking about his four marriages, mafia connections, political posturing, bodyguards, bad relations with the press, etc. BUT it is also equally absurd to say nothing about Songs For Swinging Lovers, "World on a String," "Under My Skin," "Witchcraft," etc., etc. But the author is clearly a gossip columnist and not a music writer. She doesn't even discuss the films much. No mention of Pal Joey or High Society. She has much more to say about his earnings. It's not all negative--she does make frequent reference to his humanitarian efforts. But you just can't write a book about an artist without reference to his strongest works of art.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karenbike Patterson

    This is a very long and thoroughly researched book about Sinatra from before birth to his 70's. I would say that at least 80% of the book details what an absolutely ill tempered, immature, violent, and juvenile person he was. Of course, the book moves through his singing and acting career and the rise and fall of his relationships. There are brief stories of his trying to buy his way into people's good graces with expensive presents or paying for hospital bills. The book is true but very slanted This is a very long and thoroughly researched book about Sinatra from before birth to his 70's. I would say that at least 80% of the book details what an absolutely ill tempered, immature, violent, and juvenile person he was. Of course, the book moves through his singing and acting career and the rise and fall of his relationships. There are brief stories of his trying to buy his way into people's good graces with expensive presents or paying for hospital bills. The book is true but very slanted toward the titillating. It's the first unauthorized book I've read and I can see why Kitty Kelly has the negative reputation she has. Reader beware.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kerstin

    There are descriptive biographies and then there are biographies that villifies and glorifies celebrities. This is a flawfinding biography. It is entertainig even though the tone is meanspirited. I have never thought Frank Sinatria was perfect but in this book it is all black. People are not all evil or good.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Amazingly brave expose about Frank Sinatra's youth and adult life, beginning with his humble beginnings in Hoboken, NJ. This made Frank so irate it was thought he had a hit put out on Kelley. He hated her because of this book, but once again, her attention to detail, sources, and research were so impeccable a lawsuit couldn't even stand up in court. Amazing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Scott Holstad

    Kitty Kelley apparently interviewed more than 800 people in researching and writing this book, and at times, it really shows. There's a lot of detail here. A lot of stories I had never heard before. That said, it seems Kelley really slants this book toward showing what a complete prick Sinatra was. I mean it was it’s one nasty story after another about Sinatra acting like a horrible thug. The book starts with Sinatra's upbringing in Hoboken, NJ. In later years, he would talk about his rough child Kitty Kelley apparently interviewed more than 800 people in researching and writing this book, and at times, it really shows. There's a lot of detail here. A lot of stories I had never heard before. That said, it seems Kelley really slants this book toward showing what a complete prick Sinatra was. I mean it was it’s one nasty story after another about Sinatra acting like a horrible thug. The book starts with Sinatra's upbringing in Hoboken, NJ. In later years, he would talk about his rough childhood, of running with the toughs of the neighborhood, but in truth his family was very well off, perhaps even rich, and he was a bit of a dandy running around with lots of fancy clothes and money to spend. His mom was the town abortionist! Sinatra's Italian roots are discussed in detail, so when he marries a nice Italian girl, it makes sense. At the time, his singing career was starting to take off, and he was a horrible husband, picking up girls left and right to have sex with as often as possible. He had several children with his first wife, Nancy, but ultimately the marriage didn't last, even though she spent her days pining for him, thinking he'd come back to her. He left her for the actress Ava Gardner, his one true love. They fought like crazy, but were passionate about each other. Ultimately, however, their marriage couldn't stand up to the craziness and it disintegrated, leaving Sinatra tortured for the rest of his life. He married a few more times after Ava, but kept pictures of her all over his house. His manager really arranged things so that Sinatra was promoted brilliantly, ultimately becoming the number one singer in America on the strength of the "bobby soxer" teenage girls who went absolutely nuts when they saw him, many even passing out at his concerts. It was weird to read about. A lot of the book deals with his relations with the Mafia. He was really drawn to the Mob, and became good friends with many important mobsters. Because of this, he was subpoenaed to testify before various committees and would outright lie about ever knowing any of them, even though there were countless eyewitnesses to them setting up singing deals for him, for their exchanging gifts, for all sorts of stuff. And Frank had the temper to beat all tempers! Wow, that was something to read about. He hated the press and would threaten them, even having some beaten up by his bodyguards. He hated a lot of people and would rip anyone who ever dared criticize him, especially in print. He held grudges for life, and was just a total dick. I hated him when I read this book, which is sad because I've enjoyed his music for so many years. He told raunchy jokes in his acts and would savage writers and others in these same acts. Frankly, I have no idea why so many people put up with his crap over the years. He turned from a Kennedy loving liberal to a Reagan loving conservative, and the author never really gives us a clear indication why. It just happened. His movies are also treated in the book, although perhaps more emphasis is put on his bad movies than his good ones. Whatever the case, he was a jerk to work with and wouldn't rehearse, if at all, more than once. Perhaps that's why he was so bad in so many movies.... He sued to have this book stopped from being published, but he lost, so I'd guess that much of what this book asserts is probably true. If so, Sinatra was the devil and I've lost all respect for him, which is a pity. Recommended if you want an interesting behind the scenes look at Sinatra.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    I suppose if you grew up with Sinatra, the way our parents did, a great deal of it would be familiar; as it is, I knew the broad outlines. Oddly, though, a reader unfamiliar with Sinatra could read this doorstop and come away with no idea of why the thug the book chronicles is of any interest at all. Kelly spends more time on the (mostly terrible) movies that Sinatra was in than on any aspect of his music-- and gives as much attention to tripe like "The Naked Runner" or "Von Ryan's Express" as t I suppose if you grew up with Sinatra, the way our parents did, a great deal of it would be familiar; as it is, I knew the broad outlines. Oddly, though, a reader unfamiliar with Sinatra could read this doorstop and come away with no idea of why the thug the book chronicles is of any interest at all. Kelly spends more time on the (mostly terrible) movies that Sinatra was in than on any aspect of his music-- and gives as much attention to tripe like "The Naked Runner" or "Von Ryan's Express" as to "High Society" or "Guys and Dolls" or "The Man With The Golden Arm". Even the treatment of "From Here To Eternity" focuses more on the gossip about how he got the part than on what made his performance notable. (She concludes that a important reason that so many Sinatra movies are terrible is that he didn't rehearse, and deliberately gave off-hand performances in order to deflect criticism. Maybe so, but this doesn't account for the poor script selection, or the fantastic performances he was capable of. He is great in "The Manchurian Candidate"-- why is he even doing "Robin and the Seven Hoods"?) I suppose we all know that Sinatra was capable of tremendous cruelty, and his antipathy towards the press and love of crude racist jokes is pretty well established. Kelley tries to balance this by documenting his philanthropy and his acts of generosity towards friends, but what we are left with is a picture of a man full of contradictions, rather than an understanding of why the man was like that. "expediency" seems to satisfy Kelley when it comes to answering why a Stevenson/Kennedy/Humphrey liberal became a fixture in the Reagan circle, (and an Agnew pal) but there must be more to it than that. Ultimately, though, it is the missing music that makes the book feel empty.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Riana Elizabeth

    This took me a loooooong time to finish (over a month). First off, if I had been paying attention (read this in ebook form), I probably wouldn't have started a 650 page biography while trying to complete GoodReads 2013 Reading Challenge. Second, while well-researched, Kitty Kelley's book doesn't flow well. Facts are laid out in a dry manner, and even salacious gossip reads as boring. Third, Kelley is writing with an obvious bias. Sinatra sued when he heard of Kelley's intent to write his biograp This took me a loooooong time to finish (over a month). First off, if I had been paying attention (read this in ebook form), I probably wouldn't have started a 650 page biography while trying to complete GoodReads 2013 Reading Challenge. Second, while well-researched, Kitty Kelley's book doesn't flow well. Facts are laid out in a dry manner, and even salacious gossip reads as boring. Third, Kelley is writing with an obvious bias. Sinatra sued when he heard of Kelley's intent to write his biography, saying he wanted his life story written by someone who actually knew him. Kittey, obviously, was able to write the book - but each anecdote seems flavored with malignancy. If you believe the book, Frank Sinatra was an utter bastard who should've been tarred, feathered, and driven out of any town he set foot in. Now, even in Hollywood, talent can only take you so far (after all, there are tons of talented kids waiting in the wings for their break). If Sinatra was so horrid, I'm sure one of the many intelligent, powerful people running tinseltown could've hurt his climb to the time. And he was constantly surrounded by friends and people who loved him & raved about him. Were they ALL just blind or hangers-on? Read this with a (large) grain of salt. Research (Interesting Sinatra, FBI, Kennedy, Reagan, & Rat Pack tidbets): 4 Ability to transition facts to anecdotal prose: 2 Objective biography (without bias): 1

  15. 5 out of 5

    I.D.

    This will forever tarnish your idea of the man as it is nothing but example after example of how awful he was as a person despite his amazing talent on the mic. You can't call this definitive because it virtually ignores talking about specific albums or performances other than just to mention a few but as a side to a more sycophantic biography this is essential. Nothing but dirt that you'll want to cleanse later by listening to his music. I wish there was an updated version covering up to his de This will forever tarnish your idea of the man as it is nothing but example after example of how awful he was as a person despite his amazing talent on the mic. You can't call this definitive because it virtually ignores talking about specific albums or performances other than just to mention a few but as a side to a more sycophantic biography this is essential. Nothing but dirt that you'll want to cleanse later by listening to his music. I wish there was an updated version covering up to his death because I'll bet it would have lots more dirt.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Johnny Flora

    How could I give anything else to a book that has a chapter devoted to my Uncle Joey D........I love everything by Frank recorded especially the Nelson Riddle recordings. I just had the pleasure of friending Nelson on Facebook, my all time favorite arranger....JJF

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ravis Harnell

    The best unauthorized tell-all out there.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dave Dunaway

    Well written and eye opening about the man.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shirley j Johansen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If only half of this is true he was not a nice person. But could not put it down.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aria

    Uncertain how many stars to award; 2-3. (I lean toward one, then toward the other.) I liked it well enough, for the most part. Some paragraphs I skipped b/c the info was going into detail I didn't need. Whole lists of names I skipped. Skipped a few pages toward the end where it turns into basically a transcript of testimony, no diff. from other forced testimonies provided in previous sections. A lot of this book I found to be hilarious. I mean, this is a whole pile of assholes in here. Full-on Uncertain how many stars to award; 2-3. (I lean toward one, then toward the other.) I liked it well enough, for the most part. Some paragraphs I skipped b/c the info was going into detail I didn't need. Whole lists of names I skipped. Skipped a few pages toward the end where it turns into basically a transcript of testimony, no diff. from other forced testimonies provided in previous sections. A lot of this book I found to be hilarious. I mean, this is a whole pile of assholes in here. Full-on petulant, temper-tantrum throwing, lying, whiny, assholes. Some, like Frank, are the kind to pick fights & let other people finish them. I don't know if there is still anyone walking around w/ the delusion that Frank was a nice guy; a real swell kind of chap. I certainly was under no such illusion when I started this, so I had no kind of bubble here to be burst. Regardless, I was still surprised at the extent to which these people not only behaved, but were allowed to behave by entire societies & countries. Frank basically wanted to be some of dictator of his own universe. I don't believe he was manic-depressive, either. I really think that's looking for excuses. Seems more that affluenza (read: spoiled asshole) was his affliction. What a freaking man-baby. His upbringing created an entitled mama's boy, & adult fame only served to over-inflate a fragile ego. These assholes are everywhere. Frank just had the insulation to prop his up. The research in here is well-done. There are references included, if anyone cared enough to track down & verify her info. I didn't, but I don't actually care, either. I already knew he was a prick. The level of racism & misogyny, the belittlement, the mistreatment of others...it's really something. He was one of those kind that doesn't do anything not in his own interest. Charity is almost always for public image, but that's an old play by celebrities. Smaller acts of unpublicized charity were so over the top they're more in line w/ the way he publicly over-spent & lavished gifts on pet people in order to cement his image as a big man, both to himself as well as to others. He seems a sociopath, but one w/ money, not smarts (& definitely not patience). (Also, I'm just wondering, these less public, supposedly private gifts to strangers.....if they were so benevolently & humbly given, how is it they were even known about in the 1st place? I don't buy it. Certainly not when viewed in light of everything else.) Anyway, I liked it, & I don't doubt at least most of it is accurate. However, it was a lot of info. to take in. I was never really bored, but I did sometimes question how it was that I wasn't farther along in the text, w/ all the reading I'd done. My version had small type, so that was some of it. I was most thoroughly amused in the 1st part of the book, b/c these people are nuts. Later, when it gets into his political butt-kissing, I was less interested. I'd mostly read a lot of that before in other texts about a lot of the same players that are also involved here. That's not the author's fault. It's just info. I already had. I still learned, though. I also had mad respect for Australia. I wished they'd have taken it further & forced him to his knees. He should have been kicked out of his hotel, & denied all transport or sustenance. (Walk, then swim, motherfucker, if you can't apologize. Hope you know which roadside plants are safe to eat.) Still, I think they're fabulous for standing up the entitled bully. Good for you, Australia. If only more of the world stood up to assholes, maybe we could have nice things one day. This is no small, light book. If you are down with that, then go ahead & give this a go. I don't recommend it for anyone that idolizes Frank & thinks he's a stand-up guy, though. The let-down would be severe, & painful. Most of the world, those who don't live under rocks, anyway, should be fine.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nada

    It's obvious that the author was aiming to embarrass or more appropriately to come back at Sinatra. I don't care much about Sinatra nor his artistry in total but the advertisement for this book promises more than it could deliver; it's bland with no sense of purpose other than the author's pleasure to demean her subject. Kelley clearly is selective regarding her information which made my experience feels like reading an extremely dull tabloid article.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Borrowed this e-book from the library and couldn't get all the way through it before it had to go back. Not sure I'll bother checking it out again, though, because I found even the first quarter of it (which takes us only up to about 1942) unsatisfying. I was hoping for meat, and got meringue. Kitty Kelley may have interviewed more than 800 people who had known Frank over the years, but her lack of access to the man himself, his immediate family, and his intimate circle, is glaringly obvious, an Borrowed this e-book from the library and couldn't get all the way through it before it had to go back. Not sure I'll bother checking it out again, though, because I found even the first quarter of it (which takes us only up to about 1942) unsatisfying. I was hoping for meat, and got meringue. Kitty Kelley may have interviewed more than 800 people who had known Frank over the years, but her lack of access to the man himself, his immediate family, and his intimate circle, is glaringly obvious, and thus the stories she tells feel like they've been heavily filtered and coloured by the teller, by the writer, and by time. I love biographies and autobiographies, but although this one was (apparently) meticulously researched, and I know it was a bestseller in its day, it feels irrelevant now that the subject is dead, and in the era of The Sopranos and Mafia Week on television. Bottom line? I just didn't find it nearly as interesting as I'd hoped.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara G

    I'm conflicted on how to review this book. On one hand, it's obviously very well researched and goes into great detail on Mr. Sinatra's personal life. On the other hand, it was so LONG and tedious to read. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I was from my grandparents' generation and was more familiar with a lot of the famous names. My boyfriend stole a glance at a page of this one and said something to the extent of, "Damn, they're just name dropping everyone they can think of!" It was well w I'm conflicted on how to review this book. On one hand, it's obviously very well researched and goes into great detail on Mr. Sinatra's personal life. On the other hand, it was so LONG and tedious to read. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I was from my grandparents' generation and was more familiar with a lot of the famous names. My boyfriend stole a glance at a page of this one and said something to the extent of, "Damn, they're just name dropping everyone they can think of!" It was well written and worth the read, especially for people who are interested in Sinatra's personal life. There's not a whole lot about his music here, aside from when he first got started, and details are sparse. I was left with the impression that the author enjoyed his artistic works and loathed him as a person, which is probably fair, based on the information given here.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Don Halpert

    Anyone who was a child of the 50's or 60's will remember Frank Sinatra as a legend. His songs and his movies were very much a part of our lives. When I read this was the celebration of 100 years since his birth, I wanted to read more. Sinatra was enormously talented. A great singer and a great actor. Kitty Kelley tells the whole story. Sinatra's association with both the Mafia and several Presidents. His threats and bullying. His enormous spitefulness and his vindictiveness. Personally, he was no Anyone who was a child of the 50's or 60's will remember Frank Sinatra as a legend. His songs and his movies were very much a part of our lives. When I read this was the celebration of 100 years since his birth, I wanted to read more. Sinatra was enormously talented. A great singer and a great actor. Kitty Kelley tells the whole story. Sinatra's association with both the Mafia and several Presidents. His threats and bullying. His enormous spitefulness and his vindictiveness. Personally, he was not a nice person. He treated his wives, lovers, friends, associates with disrespect. He treated the powerful, mafia and Presidents, with grovelling respect. This is the whole story. While I still love his music and his movies, I now know that is a thin veneer of the real man.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This is a very detailed book about the life of Frank Sinatra. You get "the good, the bad, and the ugly", with this one. There is much research about his mob connections. Frank could love you one minute and hate you the next and not talk to you for years afterward. He was brought up by a strong mother, Dolly, and a father who was mostly in the background. Frank never finished high school. His mother sacrificed, and made sure he had the best of everything, and helped him get into the music busines This is a very detailed book about the life of Frank Sinatra. You get "the good, the bad, and the ugly", with this one. There is much research about his mob connections. Frank could love you one minute and hate you the next and not talk to you for years afterward. He was brought up by a strong mother, Dolly, and a father who was mostly in the background. Frank never finished high school. His mother sacrificed, and made sure he had the best of everything, and helped him get into the music business. He had an amazing life, and I could really go back and read this book all over again. I had to gloss over all the mob names, because there were so many.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gary Turner

    I really enjoyed this book as i have every Kitty Kelley book i have read. As usual she goes deep into the life of Frank Sinatra. It is amazing how in our 'american society' we allow the rich to act like complete thieves and idiots and let them get by with it. Just as today not one damn wall-street thug or banker thug is in jail for stealing, yet one after another middle class persons are thrown out of their houses, some while they were serving their country in the military. One thing you can say I really enjoyed this book as i have every Kitty Kelley book i have read. As usual she goes deep into the life of Frank Sinatra. It is amazing how in our 'american society' we allow the rich to act like complete thieves and idiots and let them get by with it. Just as today not one damn wall-street thug or banker thug is in jail for stealing, yet one after another middle class persons are thrown out of their houses, some while they were serving their country in the military. One thing you can say about Frank, he knew who's arse to stick his head up.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Frank Sinatra lived a charmed life - no one was willing to call him on his ridiculous behavior out of fear, respect, confusion and ultimately horror. He berated people on a daily basis but shrouded himself in a philanthropic cast as if that made everything alright and gave him the right to treat his close associates like dirt. But they stayed. He wouldn't let any criticism go but thought it was perfectly okay to use his stage as a podium to call people names and insult them mercilessly. His voic Frank Sinatra lived a charmed life - no one was willing to call him on his ridiculous behavior out of fear, respect, confusion and ultimately horror. He berated people on a daily basis but shrouded himself in a philanthropic cast as if that made everything alright and gave him the right to treat his close associates like dirt. But they stayed. He wouldn't let any criticism go but thought it was perfectly okay to use his stage as a podium to call people names and insult them mercilessly. His voice may have been unique, but he had no soul.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rena Searles

    What an incredible story! Always one of my favorite singers, I cringed while reading much of this. I will never see him in the same light after so many instances of psychotic behavior and how he and his camp 'spun' the media. It is hard to believe that he was able to get away with so much for so much of his life - and also very sad to think that he needed all that attention to feel important and powerful. Well researched by Kitty Kelley.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Helga

    Having been exposed to Ol' Blue Eyes' music growing up, I am a confessed Sinatra fan. I never truly understood why, other than over his talent, Sinatra was such a charismatic and controversial figure. I've come across snippets of his life in various references but not until I've read this 'unauthorized ' book did I fully understand why his life has been, and is, the fascinating subject that it is. "My Way" now presents more meaning to me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary!

    Remember when Kitty Kelley was big in the 80's with these just side of completely trashy biographies? I picked up a copy of this at the thrift store for 30 cents, and it was worth that...but not much more than that. I liked it, but it was definitely the reading equivalent of watching Entertainment Tonight while reading People magazine.

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