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Frank: The Voice Hardcover – November 2, 2010
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
The biography unfolds and talks about Frank's young years of becoming a singer. It is filled with figures of the era - musicians, talent agents, gang members, struggling singers, song writers, and other figures fill the pages. The book teems with these figures as the 1930's and 1940's national politics made them popular. Frank would gravitate towards one figure, for example, Harry James, and then after he felt that he had nothing more to learn, he would choose another person, such as Benny Goodman. All around the talented performers were the temptations of beautiful women, drugs, and alcohol.
Frank vacillated between two types of women represented by his first wife, Nancy, and his second wife, Ava Gardner. While his first wife represented security and steadiness; Ava filled him with passion and obsession. These two women, along with his mother, allow the reader see why Frank was the sensitive, angry, rebellious, and haughty person that he came to be.
The author is also very good at describing how the music was made and how Frank made his unique songs. He describes Frank's watching and imitating other musicians to make his music better. Many times, the author will select a certain song and show how Frank and his orchestra got to its heart and made the song unforgettable.Read more ›
If you've read anything else on the Chairman of the Board -- and there's plenty out there -- forget it. This is it, king of the hill, A-No. 1, top of the heap.
Kaplan writes in a fluid, fun style, irreverent, sweet, sometimes vulgar -- much like its subject. Yes, you get all those naughty details about dalliances and "dames" (as Sinatra would have called them), but Kaplan doesn't forget that Sinatra was a singer, an artist, and the music is why he matters.
It stops in 1954, right after the "From Here to Eternity" triumph and Frankie's split with the stunning Ava Gardner. Here's hoping that means that part two isn't far behind.
Peter Guralnick gave Elvis his due in "Last Train to Memphis" and "Careless Love." Kaplan has done so here for Ol' Blue Eyes. This is the biography he deserves, a ring-a-ding-ding kind of gasser, as alive and kickin' as one of Sinatra's best singles.
If you love The Voice, don't miss this book.
Frank Sinatra was born to poor first generation Italian parents in December, 1915. His father Mannie was illiterate and worked as a city fireman. His mother Dolly was a brilliant woman who spoke several languages. Dolly was also a midwife, abortionist and dabbled in local politics. She was a tough mother of whom her only child Francis Albert was frightened.
Frank began singing in local clubs in New Jersey and New York marrying the lovely Nancy Barbato. Nancy would have one abortion. The family were Roman Catholic. Nancy was a charming, intelligent woman who was a faithful wife and mother to the children: Nancy, Frank and Tina.
Sinatra hit the jackpot when he moved from being a band singer with Harry James to the prestigious Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Dorsey was tough on Sinatra who soared to fame with several hits in the late 30s and early 40s. Sinatra was 4-F during the
war as the result of a perforated eardrum and emotional instability. Sinatra was called a draft dodger by G.I's and others but was loved by the female bobby soxers who attended his concerts in great numbers.
Kaplan has done his research and is quite adept at analyzing Sinatra's style and song choices. The book is detailed in its account of Sinatra's business dealings with his record companies most notably Columbia and Capitol. Sinatra was a genius as a singer hiring great arrangers such as Nelson Riddle to get the sound the singer most desired. Sinatra's early idol was Bing Crosby.
Sinatra was a complex man who was moody and mecurial. Among the traits evident in this over 700 pages tome:
a.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This review of Frank the Voice by James Kaplan focuses solely on the audiobook version. The audiobook is read by Andrew Shapiro. I use audiobooks for sleeping. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Stella
Excellent book. As a fan of Sinatra it made me appreciate his music CV even more.Published 18 days ago by Robert T. Hereford
Another superb Kaplan account of Sinatra's life (don't miss "The Chairman"). Superb but not overwhelming detail. I loved every single moment of reading it! Read morePublished 22 days ago by Coastal Shutterbug
Long but seems factual. Kept my interest until the very end. Great companion to book by Gardner. Will read second book.Published 1 month ago by Jeffrey Reiner
What an interesting story about such an intriguing character, Frank Sinatra. His love life consumes much of the book but, other than his magnificent voice, perhaps that's what... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lanny R. Julian
Book was good but it ends in 1953 most of it is his life with Ava but still a good 700 page readPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer