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"A revealing look at the man behind the legend that chronicles everything from dates with Jackie Kennedy to fights with Donald Trump."―Billboard
"The Way it Was is a name-dropper's delight, from backstage memories of Sinatra's aborted reunion tour with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. to falling out with Don Rickles....a nostalgia trip."―Tampa Bay Times
"Sinatra was mostly a private man having only a select few confidantes who knew anything about his personal life. Among them-his long time manager Eliot Weisman. In his book, The Way It Was: My Life With Frank Sinatra, Weisman tells all on the late legend's sad final days."―RadarOnline.com
I chose this read because I was always interested in his life and his music. I saw him years ago in Providence. I was much younger . He was great and the audience was yelling "We love you Frankie.. in the audience was Jackie Onassis. What a night that was. The book gives me more detail into his personal life and was very informative.
Well written in a casual style. I feel this book really gave a genuine idea as to what the man behind the celebrity was like. It also poignantly touches on the final days of the careers and lives of Sinatra and some of his associates, and is written in such a relate-able way. Personally there were quite a few stories I hadn't heard before, but some other fanatics claim they knew most of it already, so keep that in mind.
Great book and a real page turner! Eliot was there for Mr. S's final years and tells interesting and moving stories from those years. I have read many books on Mr. S including the books by Barbara and Tina and this one seems the most authentic. Barbara's book wasn't very good and Tina's book was very bitter. After reading Eliot's book, I have a lower opinion of Tina and Nancy. Very sad reading about their interest in their Dad's money but very little involvement in his life. They never saw him! Also, I couldn't understand why Barbara wouldn't let the doctors change Mr. S's anti depression medication. It just didn't make sense and wasn't right. Seemed like she wanted him medicated for some reason. Sad! Great book with lots of interesting Sinatra stories and also others that Eliot managed including Liza and Don Rickles. I highly recommend this great read!
This is an interesting read and, really, my only gripe is with the way it's been marketed. It's not really "candid" or "revealing" for a real Sinatra fan. Weisman obviously respected Sinatra and enjoyed working for him and that's fine - I'm actually happy about that. However, the stories he tells are nothing surprising or new to anyone who has read any of the dozens of other books about Frank. It's a good book and I enjoyed reading it but, if you're looking for dirt or big revelations, don't believe the blurbs and expect to get it here.
Weisman was Sinatra’s road manager and final manager for the last few years of his performing life. Sinatra was past his prime but still had the talent and the drive, and the psychological need, to perform. Weisman gave him the opportunity to continue performing in concerts after his former, longtime manager gave up. Because of this, Weisman’s story has a bittersweet edge to it. It’s interesting and describes the perils and rewards in booking and managing tours in the US, Europe and Asia, but it is still the story of a superlatively talented man battling old age and increasing dementia.
Weisman begins by giving some information about his early life and then more details about his experiences in the 70’s when he set up a theater in partnership with Mafia criminals. He’s a bit vague about whether or not he knew from the beginning just who he was dealing with, but he found out fast when he discovered that the profits being skimmed off and then he was arrested and indicted for fraud. He helped the prosecution to some extent in other to shorten his sentence but he never “ratted” on his former partners. One wonders if this is the reason Sinatra initially agreed to employ him...because he didn’t sell out his friends.
Weisman actually began working with Sinatra in the early 80’s as road manager and then as manager, evidently without Sinatra knowing that he had been his booking agent from the start. It gives the reader an idea about how dependent performers are on their managers, lawyers, accountants and agents without always realizing how they work together. It is evident that Sinatra came to trust Weisman, even making him co-executor of his will (no easy job considering the mutual animosity of Barbara Sinatra and the three Sinatra offspring) and Weisman respected, even loved, Sinatra. Weisman’s clients included Liza Minelli, Sammy Davis, Jr., Steve Lawrence and Eddie Gorme and this facilitated his planning the tours and concerts where they performed together. His last major accomplishment for Sinatra was bringing about the two Duets recordings, despite Sinatra’s initial worry, even fear, about going into a recording studio again.
This is not a “tell all” book although Weisman does include one negative experience with Donald Trump who wanted to renegotiate a contract for the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Trump’s comments about the recently deceased Davis was offensive to Weisman. He is generally complimentary about people and praises his client performers. He is also respectful of Barbara Sinatra although a few incidents make the reader wonder about her real intentions. For instance, Sinatra was a long time user of an anti-depressant that his doctors, including Dr. DeBakey, warned was deleterious to his overall health and could be a significant contributor to his forgetfulness and growing dementia. Everyone wanted him to stop the medication and go into a hospital where his withdrawal could be carefully monitored. DeBakey even offered him a floor in a hospital in Texas. Barbara said no because she was afraid of possible violence. Was this the real reason or did she want to be able to continue controlling him? The battle for his estate and wealth started several years before his real decline and his children and Barbara appear to have been greedy about who would get what, like arguing over the funeral meats before the king has even died. According to Weisman, Sinatra truly cared about Barbara and was very unhappy about the antagonism in his family but could do little about it except try to insure that no one would be hurt financially. Hence Weisman’s headaches as executor during the five years after Sinatra’s death before final pay outs were finalized.
Weisman has written an interesting account of his work with a complex man of outstanding talents. Fans should be grateful for this thoughtful book as well as the fact that Weisman worked so that Sinatra could have a few more years doing what he most loved, performing and singing before adoring audiences.