“The whole story, joyful and unflinching, of an astounding talent. This biography really has Hart.”
—Laurence Bergreen, author of As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin
and Columbus: The Four Voyages
“Sophisticated, engaging, elegant, and packed with absorbing detail, A Ship Without A Sail
is the definitive biography of Larry Hart for which all of us who love his work have been waiting. That Gary Marmorstein has captured the soaring highs and the crushing lows of that short, unhappy life so completely and so sympathetically is a truly remarkable—even enviable—achievement. And I speak of what I know.”
—Frederick Nolan, author of The Sound of Their Music: The Story of Rodgers & Hammerstein
and Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway
"Marmorstein brings to the task just the right precision instruments for dissecting Larry Hart -- panache, sympathy and smarts. The very title of his book goes to the heart of the tortured story he tells so well. . . . He knows the period and its players inside out and along the way offers wonderful cameos of many minor figures in the story..."
—J. D. McClatchy, The Wall Street Journal
“Readers will be grateful that Gary Marmorstein, who writes about film, theater and popular music, has resuscitated Hart, also known as Larry, in riveting detail in his A Ship Without a Sail: The Life of Lorenz Hart
.” (Sam Roberts The New York Times
“A deeply sympathetic biography of Lorenz Hart, the talented, troubled lyricist of film and Broadway fame. Marmorstein has done an enormous service for fans of stage and movie musicals of the early decades of the 20th century. . . . ‘Ev’rything I’ve got belongs to you,’ goes one Hart lyric that now, thanks to the author’s thorough, affectionate research, holds another, profoundly poignant meaning.”
"The lyricist who, with composer Richard Rodgers, penned 'Blue Moon,' 'The Lady Is a Tramp,' and other standards is a figure worthy of his own bittersweet songs in this graceful biography. . . . A vivid panorama of pre-WWII musical theater and the efflorescence of Jewish-American tune- and word-smithing that created it. Marmorstein’s take on his subject’s life feels like a Rodgers and Hart show, nicely balanced between exhilarating spectacle and pithy revelations of character."
"A fine new biography of Lorenz Hart by Gary Marmorstein, A Ship Without a Sail
, makes clear that Hart, over the years since his early death at age 48 in 1943, has been taken up by the very society he set out, in his lyrics, to unsettle." (David Hadju The New Republic
"Hart has his shining hour in a new biography. . . . It's the absorbing story of a sparkling but tormented artist and a rich slice of show business history. . . . A Ship Without a Sail
quotes liberally from Hart's lyrics, and Marmorstein's analysis is always interesting and often revelatory."
—John Fleming, Tampa Bay Tribune
"Brings a new dimension to so many familiar songs."
"Marmorstein bolsters the story of Hart's rocketlike career with a wealth of factual detail. . . . [Marmorstein's] biographer's sense, his dogged researches, and his fair-mindedness constantly lead him in good directions. His account of Rodgers's controversial involvement in Hart's business affairs at his death is the best-balanced I've encountered."
—Michael Feingold, the Village Voice