Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frank: The Voice Hardcover – November 2, 2010
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Peter Bogdanovich Reviews Frank: The Voice
Peter Bogdanovich is an acclaimed director, producer, writer, actor, film critic, and author. He has directed over 25 feature films, including international award winners The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc?, and Paper Moon. Read his review of Frank: The Voice:
There has never been a book of this kind or quality about Frank Sinatra. Like the formidable novelist he is, James Kaplan has somehow managed to get inside the man and the legend, to such a degree that you feel you are living Sinatra’s life with him, almost day by day. Yet it is the fastest read.
From his violent, deforming, traumatic birth, through his Hoboken childhood with a super-dominating mother and a weak father, through the heady, unprecedented bobby-sox years, his young marriage to the virtually saint-like Nancy, their three kids, his numerous--almost serial--infidelities, through the tumultuous affair with Ava Gardner--detailed as never before--through the much-frowned-on divorce, the suicide attempts, rivetingly onward through the near total collapse of his career, and right up through the miraculous comeback with the Oscar for From Here to Eternity,this book tells it all with the freshness of the first time, in the most engrossing and evocative prose. There is compassion and candor, and a profound sense of real lives being lived.
Sinatra the musician has never been taken as seriously or chronicled with such sensitivity and depth; it has never been as clear how very much the singer had to do with all aspects of his recordings and performances. This is a warts-and-all work, with a staggering amount of research to back everything up, revealing Nancy Sr. in all her grace, and Frank in all his moods, but it is never salacious or malicious, only honest, forthright and civilized. Nobody can be prepared for the life of a phenomenon--which Sinatra was--the first show business phenomenon of the 20th century, long before Elvis or the Beatles, and far more complicated and multi-layered. Being very human, Frank did the best he could with it all, and James Kaplan has done a magnificently resonant chronicle of the first half of an incredible journey. It leaves you hungering for the second volume!
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this riveting and fast-paced biography, Kaplan, coauthor with Jerry Lewis of Dean and Me, chronicles Sinatra's somewhat unlikely meteoric ascent to success, his failures, and his rebirth as a star of song and screen. With exhaustive, and sometimes exhausting, detail, Kaplan engagingly re-creates the young Sinatra's childhood in Hoboken, N.J., where young Frank was born, in 1915. By the time he was 12, Sinatra was singing for quarters on top of the piano in the bar in his father's tavern. At 21, Frankie joined a group that became known as the Hoboken Four, and everyone soon recognized Sinatra's great vocal gift. Kaplan expertly conducts us on a journey through Sinatra's early years with Tommy Dorsey and his long solo career; Sinatra's first marriage to Nancy Barbato and his more famous marriage to Ava Gardner; and through Sinatra's movie career and his rebirth in the early 1950s. Although Sinatra's career often faltered in the late 1940s, his partnership with Nelson Riddle and the release of the song "Young at Heart" in 1953 began Sinatra's comeback. Kaplan's enthralling tale of an American icon serves as an introduction of "old blue eyes" to a new generation of listeners while winning the hearts of Sinatra's diehard fans. (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
failure in both his profession and 2nd marriage, but overcame his
downs with an Oscar winning role in "From Here to Eternity."
This story of a musical genius with a series of struggles after
a great start. It shows his character including the warts, his
obsession with his 2nd wife (Ava Gardner) and, his devotion to his kids.
It is a long story (over 700 pages), and does not include his life beyond
his recovery after his winning the Oscar. I enjoyed my Kindle edition so
much, I ordered the book verision for my wife
by Nancy,' his first wife, and his triumph as an Oscar winning
performance in "From Here to Eternity."His legacy as a great voice
of the music of the 30s, 40s, and 50s has endured. This is a good read
from a well researched biography.,,
But the birth is important to this book for another reason: it gives form to author James Kaplan's unique plan.
Virtually everything that can be written about Sinatra has. So why another bio? Kaplan's twist is to focus on Sinatra's first 39 years: a sort of portrait of an artist as a young man, timed to close after his rise from the ashes of the first phase of his career. The Voice is a redemption story with Frank Sinatra in the lead.
Most of what people seem to remember about Sinatra is what happened long after his comeback, the Rat-pack era of the 60's and the Chairman of the Board of the 70's. But what Kaplan understands and was smart enough to put into written form is that the most interesting part of Sinatra's life was really that time from the early 40's to mid-50's: his rise as "The Voice", mobs of girls wetting their pants for him; his downfall in the late 40's and early 50's when his shady relationship with the mob, serial cheating on his wife, and a combustible second marriage to Ava Gardner--who was essentially a female version of Frank Sinatra-- soured him to the public; then the comeback: the dissolution of his marriage to Gardner, his Oscar-winning role in From Here To Eternity, and, most importantly, his renaissance at Capitol Records, where he did his most beloved and artistically vibrant work.
Kaplan gets special credit for showing us so much about Sinatra's volatile relationship to Gardner, and the often touching pain Sinatra experienced because of it, as well as the man's respect and hard work on his music. These are two important touchstones in Sinatra's life, (the other being his mother) Ava and the music, and Kaplan lays everything out for us, more than I've ever read before. When Ava and Frank are on the stage, or when Frank is at work in the studio, the book is nearly impossible to put down.
Kaplan's approach is also interesting in that he provides layer upon layer of witnesses to Sinatra's life, offering sometimes inconsistent and conflicting testimony, so that the reader is often left to divine the truth, something that frequently seems as elusive as the man under study. Yet this doesn't disappoint as one might expect, in fact it feels almost like a pleasant dissonance. I think this is because Kaplan still manages to nail Sinatra's essence, the contradictions: the man who could buy a friend a new house and also leave a pregnant wife at home while he cheated; the man who thought life's rules didn't apply to him, but could be also be paralyzed with self-doubt. Kaplan's Sinatra is the man most of us forget about--the human one-- so used to the caricature that came later. And this is the beauty of The Voice: by focusing on Sinatra's difficult fall and ultimate redemption, Kaplan turns the legend into a universal story; he shows us how Sinatra is just like us, while also showing us how he isn't anything like us at all. He presents a character that at times we'll like, and at other times we'll hate, but we'll always have empathy for.
Few people in 2012 realize how Sinatra was reviled and revered simultaneously throughout his career. Kaplan explains it thoroughly as well as Sinatra's climb to stardom, his fall. Alas, he ends with Sinatra winning his Academy Award.
Which brings up a question about Sinatra. Kaplan clearly states early and powerfully, that Sinatra was no street kid from Hoboken as he liked to portray himself. If anything, he was a mini Lord Fauntleroy, spoiled by a powerful (in many ways) mother. She instilled in him a feeling of entitlement that caused him great pain all throughout his life. Yet he felt he was Maggio, who was completely different. Kaplan talks about Sinatra's skills at deceiving others and himself to great effect. He ignores this point.
But it is a minor quibble. The last third of the book follows Sinatra's relationship to Ava Gardner, and it is fascinating throughout. You get an incredibly nuanced picture of Ava.
Please, a sequel, please. There is so much more I want to learn from Kaplan about Sinatra.