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His Way: An Unauthorized Biography Of Frank Sinatra Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1987

3.6 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Biographer Kelley thrives on exposé. Perhaps for doubters, this audio transfers her source notes (18 dense back-of-the-book pages) to the end of each chapter, which slows the listener, as do transcripts of the pop singer evading lawyers about the Mafia. Otherwise, the narrative flows well. Kelley (The Royals) excels in anecdotes and colorful characters, ranging from Mother Dolly, a swearing midwife-abortionist, and Sinatra's four distinct wives to film and music luminaries. Only Peter Lawford of his "rat pack" buddies reveals much. Sinatra worshipers will recoil from the book's concentration on claimed faults: violence over trivia; abuse of reporters; gangland links; bedroom excesses; reckless spending; gambling; etc. Some observers do praise his good qualities though, and Anna Fields deserves credit for her untiring reading. His Way will entertain fans of the big band era who like facts mixed with scandals. Recommended with qualification for popular biography collections. —Gordon Blackwell, Eastchester, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The most eye-opening celebrity biography of our  time." -William Safire, The New York  Times

"A  compelling page-turner...Kitty Kelley's book has made all  future Sinatra biographies virtually redundant."  --Los Angeles Herald-Examiner
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (September 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553265156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553265156
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.4 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,077,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
One would not expect a Kitty Kelley book about Frank Sinatra to have any great profundity, but *His Way* stands as a major cultural and social document of our times. Sinatra is one of the most-worshipped gods of our age. His life story shows all over again how much misery goes into "lifestyles of the rich and famous," and how much corruption comes out. Sinatra's origins were unromantic. His mother was a neighborhood abortionist. This was an albatross around young Frank's neck. Symbolic of our age, he grew up to personify the "good life" -- the suave, wealthy, hyper-romantic, carefree, yet blues-ridden one -- in his art, while his life embodied many kinds of evil. His mafia connections are well known and, like other unpleasant details of his legend, the book removes all doubt as to their authenticity. The most remarkable thing about *His Way* is in fact the superb job Kelley does of writing and documenting it. She researches and writes like a seasoned college professor. Like most muckrakers Kelley's truthfulness has been called into question, but the book seems entirely trustworthy, especially at a time so many entertainment deities are revealing themselves as tragically flawed or worse. Sinatra, the king of musical romance, bullied, used, and abused women, including his gentle wife Mia Farrow. The worlds of entertainment, crime and politics came together when Frank and company helped get JFK elected President. Frank was supposedly king of the heap himself, but displayed a pitifully boyish awe toward his fellow rake Kennedy, even after he himself helped to "create" Kennedy as president. *His Way* is a chronicle of an egomaniac who knew no restraints. He cause endless harm to others, then wrote them a check to cover their suffering.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to admit, I had high hopes for this book. However, in terms of getting a picture of the true Frank Sinatra ... I still say the best book on the market is 'My Life With Mr. S' by George Jacobs, who was Sinatra's valet. Despite Jacobs' 'man crush' on his boss, I'd rather have one concrete story about Old Blue Eyes from start to finish. Ms. Kelly's book is a huge hodgepodge collection of interviews of which she uses one or two lines from. Some of the bigger players in Sinatra's life get more than a couple lines such as Peter Lawford who really lays into Sinatra. Others, such as former friends, crushes and jilted lovers get one or two lines to emphasize an assertion made by Kelly and then poof ... they are gone from the book.

While many say this book paints Sinatra in a bad light, I think Sinatra actually is the one who paints Sinatra in a bad light. Selfish, egotistical, childish and nasty are pretty much the adjectives just about anyone who actually knew Mr. Sinatra would first use to describe him. I don't think Sinatra needed Ms. Kelly's help to make him look bad. However, I think Kelly focuses on some of the more sensationalistic stories, etc. given that she is essentially one of the best paid tabloid writers in the game. She does work very hard to piece together hundreds of stories and sources to give us an insight into Sinatra's private life. Almost too many. At the point I got about 300 pages into the book and realized I was less than halfway done, I wished she had left out about 25% of the ho hum stories.

I believed the information about Sinatra's childhood much less than I believed the more substantiated stories of his later career, outbursts, tantrums, etc. It seems a lot of the stories from his youth were collected 50+ years later AFTER he had become a legend.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a lengthy look at the shadows in Sinatra's personality, and is not the one to read if you are interested in how he developed his approach to singing so well. Frank appears to have been a victim of what we now call bipolar disorder, back in the days when no effective medications existed for it except alcohol and nicotine. He sank into scary depressions, and soared into wild bouts of manic activity, exhibited both grandiosity and generosity in excess, supported violence against his enemies and often uncritical acceptance of his friends. He grew up with a passive dad and a forceful but not likable mom, was a spoiled child who sometimes was a victim of discrimination due to his Italian heritage, and developed such an intense drive to be successful that he frequently drove away the people who might have been best for him. Upon finishing this gossipy yet apparently truthful biography, I didn't want Frank as a friend, but I didn't give away any of my dozen CD's, either. Sometimes one has to divorce the artist from the person in order to remain a fan.
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By A Customer on August 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is very readable. Pick it up at any page and go. A lot of Sinatras wild exploits are written about. Many are of a negative nature (as many interesting wild exploits are), but there are many references supporting them.
The long length of this book, combined with its interesting items, and its ease of reading, make this book great.
Truth or not? Who knows to what degree. Certainly there have been enough well documented incidents with Sinatra that the content of this book is not unreasonable to believe.
It does focus on his behavior, and life, more than his actual music activities. If that makes this book "tabloid" then fine, it also makes it interesting and readable.
For in depth Sinatra music related biographical information, there must be a better book than this.
This book is great if you are intersted in the wild exploits of his life. And oh they were wild.
The book keeps moving. Its fast (though long). Nothing in the book is uninteresting.
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