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Stephen Sondheim: A Life Paperback – October 4, 2011


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Stephen Sondheim: A Life + Art Isn't Easy: The Theater of Stephen Sondheim + How Sondheim Found His Sound
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A great read, magnificently reported and full of insights.” —USA Today

“An indispensable book.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Intriguing. . . . An evenhanded portrait of a sensitive but essentially solitary man.” —The New York Times
 
“Memorable. . . . Secrest’s biography of Sondheim brilliantly captures the uncertainties of a life in the theater.” —People 
 
“Even walking Sondheim encyclopedias will find news here. Secrest spent hours interviewing Sondheim, and he talked with unprecedented candor about his homosexuality, his unhappy childhood and his ‘snappish intolerance’ of others.” —Newsweek
 
“Admirable. . . . [Secrest] is clearly a tireless researcher and marathon interviewer. . . . Those with and those without a special interest in the musical theater are kept happy.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“Impressively researched, eminently readable. . . . [Secrest] does a remarkable job of integrating the life and the work. The result is a portrait of a brilliant, deeply sensitive man.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Definitive. . . . Secrest has connected Sondheim the human being with Sondheim the genius.” —Houston Chronicle
 
“Fascinating. . . . Secrest’s book on Sondheim is so fascinating that anyone can enjoy it.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“A must-read for anyone interested in the musical theater. . . . In Stephen Sondheim: A Life, Meryle Secrest sheds some light on the complex sensibility that grew out of a golden yet emotionally ragged childhood.” —New York
 
“What distinguishes Secrest’s work is her access to the very private, vulnerable and sometimes quite prickly composer himself, and through that, the first detailed study of his complex personal life.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“Meticulously researched. . . . A bonanza.” —The Denver Post
 
“Superb. . . . Garners our trust, seducing us into a delicious and uncommonly erudite show-biz read.” —Newsday
 
“A portrait of a complicated, contradictory and compelling artist. . . . Secrest does much to illuminate some of the darker corners of Sondheim’s life, as well as to describe his long years in the spotlight.” —The Miami Herald

About the Author

Meryle Secrest was born and educated in Bath, England, and lives in Washington, D.C. She is the author of ten biographies and is the recipient of the 2006 National Humanities Medal.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307946843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307946843
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Beezer on November 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would have liked to know this was a reissue. However, having missed it the first time around, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's not gossipy, but intimate and thorough about his early life and work. A "must read" for any Sondheim fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Thomson on November 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
enjoyed all the background information in the beginning of the book that was about his childhood ad how he was molded into who he is today. The end wasn't as good because it became an overview of the shows he had written rather than about his life, but the first half to two-thirds was excellent coverage of him growing up and seeing where he found success and challenge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By No snappy nickname on May 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Superb study, with excellent treatment and documentation of sources, that casts a great deal of light on Sondheim's work and is also instructive reading for people interested in topics such as the psychology of the very high IQ population and/or the life issues faced by children of unstable homes or narcissistic parents. Highly recommended. Stephen Citron's dual biography of Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber is an excellent companion piece from a more musicological rather than psychological standpoint.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Mr. Sondheim and his work. I had the privilege of seeing the original Company in 1971 and a revival in 2007. I have also seen a Little Night Music on Broadway and loved Sweeney Todd. He is a true genius who had a rather sad time of it with an unloving mother. The book is very well done and I will be starting his two "Hat" books which I own,very soon.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very interesting reading. I've read several books so far on Sondheim..one of which was on th making of Follies. I think this author took liberty with a heavy hand and repeated what the author wrote in the section of the book that discussed Follies. Other than that, I thought it was a very inciteful biography.
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