“Selective, idiosyncratic and short. Some of the observations are familiar, but the best make fresh comparisons and connections. And Lehman is strong on the way Sinatra’s music continues to wend its way through the culture.” (Ben Yagoda, New York Times Book Review)
“David Lehman gives us a more nuanced study —Sinatra’s Century. The book hits all the highlights –and dim days– of Sinatra’s career, starting with his days as a big-band singer who blossomed into an idol for teenage girls. Let this book cast its spell.” (Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“Lehman, an established poet, widens the frame of reference, thereby expanding the emotional resonance of the songs…Lehman tells us what those facts mean.” (Sibbie O'Sullivan, Washington Post)
“Like Wallace Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” Sinatra’s Century offers multiple views of a subject that fascinates its author. His accomplishment is in not just telling Sinatra’s story, but in describing the man’s effect on all of us, then and now.” (Tom Toce, Los Angeles Review of Books)
“I would particularly recommend Sinatra’s Century, a wonderful new book by the poet, editor, and essayist David Lehman. The book is at once short, fun to dip in and out of, full of quirky yet thoughtful lists of best albums and songs, with a poet’s appreciation of Sinatra’s craft.” (Ken Tucker, Yahoo TV)
“Mr. Lehman holds the reader by ferreting out of the voluminous files lots of choice quotes and anecdotes that reanimate Sinatra’s gamy lost world.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Threaded through David Lehman’s 100 notes are captivating observations, histories, insights and reflections likely to serve as interesting dinner party conversations.” (Beverly Hills Courrier)
“A poet and critic by trade, Lehman has composed a paean that devotes as much space to Sinatra’s personality as to his singing…Well-written and unfailingly pleasing to read.” (Commentary)
From the Back Cover
Sinatra’s Century is an irresistible collection of one hundred short reflections on the man, his music, and his larger-than-life story by a lifetime fan who also happens to be one of the most prominent voices in contemporary American poetry. David Lehman uses each of these short pieces to look back on a single facet of the entertainer’s story—from his childhood in Hoboken to his emergence as “the Voice” in the 1940s to the wild professional and romantic fluctuations that followed.
Lehman offers new insights and energizes familiar stories—Sinatra’s dramatic love affairs with some of the most beautiful stars in Hollywood, including Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Ava Gardner; his fall from grace in the late 1940s and resurrection during the “Capitol Years” of the 1950s; his bonds with the rest of the Rat Pack; and his long tenure as the Chairman of the Board, the indomitable elder statesman of popular music inspiring generations of artists.
Warm and enlightening, Sinatra’s Century is a full-throated appreciation of Sinatra for the twenty-first-century fan.