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Cole Porter Paperback – December 5, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Porter risked his grandfather's ire--and the family fortune he controlled--by settling on a career in music, and while he earned early fame at Yale through his compositions, his first Broadway venture, See America First, was a humiliating fiasco. Homosexual in an era when it was flatly unacceptable, he would marry to retain respectability and forge a remarkable emotional (if completely platonic) relationship with wife Linda Lee Thomas--even while conducting a series of same-sex affairs that would prove frustratingly superficial. Near the height of his career, a horseback riding accident would leave him crippled and in physical agony for the rest of his life, and the pressures of pain and keeping up appearances would plunge him into fits of depression that seemed to border on the psychotic.Read more ›
graduated with a degree from Yale University. After a year of Law School at Harvard the travel loving Porter journeyed to Paris. He wed Linda Lee Thomas a wealthy woman several years his senior. Porter was gay and the marriage to Linda was sexless. The couple did love one another and Porter was never the same following Linda's death in 1954.
Porter wrote one fabulous musical after another for over 40 years. He lived in luxury with staff to attend his every need. He had a wide circle of friends from among the cultural and literary elite but was an aloof, fastidious, secretive man. Porter was a hard man to know and this biography is about as close as we will ever get to the inner core of the composer.
Porter was a genius in the witty line, the fetching tune and had the ability to make Broadway take notice during his fabulous career.
His life was placid but painful following his fall from a horse and the amputation of a leg. He was alcoholic and probably took durgs.
McBrien is an English professor who has written a well cratede book rich in anecdote. The book is well illustrated with photos from the Porter legacy. Several of Cole's famed lyrics are recorded to the delight of the reader.
With the new movie on Cole Porter this is a good supplement to the film. Well recommended.
Where Guralnick's bio is dense and chewy, William McBrien's treatment on the serious work of being Cole Porter is a melt-in-your-mouth delight. And not without sustenance. McBrien's business is to give analysis of Porter's lyrics through insights into the man's background, actions and relationships. And then comes a cornucopia of society gossip and backstage anecdotes. The juicy stories are not overdone, in fact I would have liked a few more as well as more pictures.
A nonchalant reference to a love letter to another man is McBrien's introduction of Cole Porter's homosexuality. I thought I missed an earlier more formal reference. From there it is treated no more nor less seriously than his marriage, wealth or manners--a major factor in his life that molded his work. Porter's crippling riding accident is handled in the same fashion-a clear report uncluttered by romance or irony.
"Cole Porter" shows that it is possible to write a critical biography that weighs less than a toddler and is a real pleasure to read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's the top! It's the Coliseum! I love his songs and I loved this book!Published 24 days ago by JoAnn Adams
Informative, and with different information than other Cole Porter books. Great detail on show production, and more on his wife than normally revealed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by GWTW46
Once again, this was for my wife, who is enchanted by Porter's music. Cheers, Mel GrievesonPublished 14 months ago by python26
The book was more a catalog of his works. You never really get to know Porter.Published 17 months ago by Angela
William McBrien's 2000 COLE PORTER: A BIOGRAPHY chronicles the tunesmith's life and times in theatre. When thinking about it, his endgame was better than his beginning. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Steven J. Torrey