Cover image for Why Sinatra matters
Title:
Why Sinatra matters
Author:
Hamill, Pete, 1935-
Personal Author:
Edition:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, Me. : Thorndike Press, 1999. c1998.
Physical Description:
212 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780786217533
Format :
Book

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Status
Central Library ML420.S565 H35 1998B Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print
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Kenmore Library ML420.S565 H35 1998B Adult Large Print Large Print
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Summary

Summary

In this unique tribute, veteran journalist and award winning author Pete Hamill remembers and pays tribute to the legacy of Frank Sinatra. Why Sinatra Matters draws on Hamill's years-long friendship with Sinatra; this is not an impersonal magazine issue full of photos or a quickie bio, but a personal, thoughtful testimony which is sure to pique interest.


Author Notes

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Irish immigrant parents in 1935, Pete Hamill attended Mexico City College, Pratt Institute, and The School of Visual Arts before starting a career in journalism. In 1960, Hamill accepted an entry-level job at the New York Post, becoming a columnist five years later. Hamill subsequently worked as a columnist for the New York Daily News and the Village Voice.

Later working as a contributing editor at Esquire, Hamill has written articles for the New York Times magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Vanity Fair, and Playboy magazine, among others. He is also an accomplished novelist, having written more than a dozen books, including his national best-selling memoir, A Drinking Life, and the novels Snow in August; Why Sinatra Matters; and Lost Cities, Vanished Friends.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A combination biography and cultural analysis by the author of A Drinking Life (1993). In Hamill's view, Frank Sinatra was important for two reasons. First, Sinatra represented the fulfillment of the American Dream. A first-generation Italian, young Sinatra experienced anti-immigrant biases firsthand. Yet for all its flaws, America still offered substantial opportunity, and by the time he was 15, Sinatra dreamed of singing professionally. Of course, he accomplished this and more, but throughout, Hamill asserts, Sinatra the superstar never forgot his humble roots. Second, Sinatra gave us a new sound, the "urban American voice." When Sinatra broke onto the scene in the early 1940s, the avuncular and soothing Bing Crosby was the singer. But Sinatra's songs were very different, edgier, more passionate, with a fair amount of swagger, yet always returning to what Hamill argues was Sinatra's central theme, loneliness. A heartfelt and intelligent tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes. --Brian McCombie


Publisher's Weekly Review

Like a musical Elements of Style, Hamill's slim meditation on Frank Sinatra is confident, smart and seamless. Since (and immediately before) Sinatra's death in May 1998, countless tributes have been made to the singer; Hamill (A Drinking Life) seems to be writing to set the record straight, for he knew Sinatra and, before that, knew the singer's music. But Hamill doesn't fawn over Sinatra the way other, younger writers have recently done. Rather, he elegantly tells the Sinatra story, dwelling on the singer's best recordings, dismissing "the Rat Pack, the swagger, the arrogance, the growing fortune, the courtiers," because in the end, he writes, they are "of little relevance." What matters, according to Hamill, is the music, chiefly that of Sinatra's early mature years, when the singer released his celebrated albums on the Capitol label. Where a starry-eyed author might vaguely praise these albums for their pathos and vulnerability, Hamill points out that, before the singer's Capitol comeback years, Sinatra's fans were almost exclusively young women. The stubborn, post-Ava Gardner heartache of Sinatra's later records, however, with their lack of self-pity, gained Sinatra a chiefly male audience. Of this, perhaps the singer's greatest musical period, Hamill writes that Sinatra "perfected the role of the Tender Tough Guy.... Before him, that archetype did not exist in American popular culture." That may be true, but Hamill sets his book apart from the many others about Old Blue Eyes by tempering intelligent superlatives with the retelling of touching, revelatory moments the two men shared. Hamill's is a definitive introduction to Sinatra's work. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

The barrage of recent Frank Sinatra books has resulted in his being the most written-about celebrity in the world after Monroe and Presley. Hamill's slim essay is distinguished from other recent works by its objective focus on the components of the late singer's enduring musical legacy. Veteran writer Hamill (e.g., A Drinking Life, LJ 1/94) is comfortable in the New York City milieu of late nights, saloons, and prizefighters, and he has captured the essence of Sinatra, who created something that was not there before he arrived: an urban American voice. The book's strength is its insight into and evocation of the Italian American immigrant experience that had such a strong influence on Sinatra. Minor weaknesses are an oversimplified examination of prejudice and an underdeveloped 1974 vignette about Ava Gardner that fails to make its point. Recommended for public and academic libraries.¬ĎBruce Henson, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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