Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra” as Want to Read:
His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  1,199 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
This is the book Frank Sinatra failed to stop,  the unauthorized biography of one of the most  elusive public figures of our time. Celebrated  journalist Kitty Kelley spent three years researching  government documents (Mafia-related material, wiretaps  and secret testimony) and interviewing more than  800 people in Sinatra's life (family, colleagues,  law-enforcement offi ...more
Hardcover, 575 pages
Published September 1st 1986 by Bantam Books (first published 1983)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 27, 2012 Jeff rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Masochists
Recommended to Jeff by: Thankfully, no one
Shelves: non-fiction, music
I read it so you don’t have to.

Yeah, this is another celebrity behaving (very) badly biography. It seems that Kitty Kelley had an axe to grind when she wrote this book. There’s very little here that reflects on Sinatra in a positive light. It’s one unpleasant story after another about Sinatra acting horribly. The ironic thing is that Kelley’s flat, toneless style barely makes any of this even remotely compelling.

There is barely any discussion or scholarship about what Sinatra will ultimately b
Diane C.
Sep 22, 2010 Diane C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kitty Kelley is seen as a muckracker, trying to bring the mighty down to size and embarrass them. On the contrary.....after reading her books about Jackie O., Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan and the Bush family, I found a greater understanding of them as situated in the human condition we all share, no matter how much I might still disagree with their choices.
May 12, 2011 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's obvious why this biography (written while Sinatra was very much alive) is "unauthorized," as it dredges up memories that I'm sure Sinatra would have rather forgotten. Like his treatment of Lauren Bacall when they were engaged (seconded by Bacall herself in her own autobiography which is in itself a very good read). My idea of hell, would be to be engaged romantically with someone like Frank Sinatra--flakey, unreliable, immoral, adulterous, cruel and manipulative.

Musically? He was brilliant,
Kathie H
Aug 22, 2007 Kathie H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "Adults"
Although I adore Frank Sinatra's music, I felt physically ill reading about his life. This seems to be a meticulously researched book.
Jul 16, 2008 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suppose if you grew up with Sinatra, the way our parents did, a great deal of it would be familiar; as it is, I knew the broad outlines. Oddly, though, a reader unfamiliar with Sinatra could read this doorstop and come away with no idea of why the thug the book chronicles is of any interest at all. Kelly spends more time on the (mostly terrible) movies that Sinatra was in than on any aspect of his music-- and gives as much attention to tripe like "The Naked Runner" or "Von Ryan's Express" as t ...more
Karenbike Patterson
This is a very long and thoroughly researched book about Sinatra from before birth to his 70's. I would say that at least 80% of the book details what an absolutely ill tempered, immature, violent, and juvenile person he was. Of course, the book moves through his singing and acting career and the rise and fall of his relationships. There are brief stories of his trying to buy his way into people's good graces with expensive presents or paying for hospital bills. The book is true but very slanted ...more
Scott Holstad
Kitty Kelley apparently interviewed more than 800 people in researching and writing this book, and at times, it really shows. There's a lot of detail here. A lot of stories I had never heard before. That said, it seems Kelley really slants this book toward showing what a complete prick Sinatra was. I mean it was it’s one nasty story after another about Sinatra acting like a horrible thug.

The book starts with Sinatra's upbringing in Hoboken, NJ. In later years, he would talk about his rough child
Jan 15, 2014 Sasha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sinatra is easy target, since his short temper and hatred of journalists (no doubt, created from first-hand experiences) was well documented and world known. Like all of us, he probably had some positive and negative sides - Kelley however is not interested in anything positive and she weaves a portrait so unflattering that it makes one wonder why anybody ever liked this man in the first place. His life work - music - is described only trough financial perspective and influence this creates, whi ...more
Riana Elizabeth
This took me a loooooong time to finish (over a month). First off, if I had been paying attention (read this in ebook form), I probably wouldn't have started a 650 page biography while trying to complete GoodReads 2013 Reading Challenge. Second, while well-researched, Kitty Kelley's book doesn't flow well. Facts are laid out in a dry manner, and even salacious gossip reads as boring. Third, Kelley is writing with an obvious bias. Sinatra sued when he heard of Kelley's intent to write his biograp ...more
Apr 06, 2011 Wendy marked it as didn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Borrowed this e-book from the library and couldn't get all the way through it before it had to go back. Not sure I'll bother checking it out again, though, because I found even the first quarter of it (which takes us only up to about 1942) unsatisfying. I was hoping for meat, and got meringue.

Kitty Kelley may have interviewed more than 800 people who had known Frank over the years, but her lack of access to the man himself, his immediate family, and his intimate circle, is glaringly obvious, an
Rena Searles
What an incredible story! Always one of my favorite singers, I cringed while reading much of this. I will never see him in the same light after so many instances of psychotic behavior and how he and his camp 'spun' the media. It is hard to believe that he was able to get away with so much for so much of his life - and also very sad to think that he needed all that attention to feel important and powerful. Well researched by Kitty Kelley.
Jul 14, 2007 Mary! rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remember when Kitty Kelley was big in the 80's with these just side of completely trashy biographies? I picked up a copy of this at the thrift store for 30 cents, and it was worth that...but not much more than that. I liked it, but it was definitely the reading equivalent of watching Entertainment Tonight while reading People magazine.
There are descriptive biographies and then there are biographies that villifies and glorifies celebrities.
This is a flawfinding biography.
It is entertainig even though the tone is meanspirited. I have never thought Frank Sinatria was perfect but in this book it is all black. People are not all evil or good.
Aug 19, 2012 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazingly brave expose about Frank Sinatra's youth and adult life, beginning with his humble beginnings in Hoboken, NJ. This made Frank so irate it was thought he had a hit put out on Kelley. He hated her because of this book, but once again, her attention to detail, sources, and research were so impeccable a lawsuit couldn't even stand up in court. Amazing.
Apr 24, 2009 Jolynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Johnny Flora
Apr 08, 2011 Johnny Flora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How could I give anything else to a book that has a chapter devoted to my Uncle Joey D........I love everything by Frank recorded especially the Nelson Riddle recordings. I just had the pleasure of friending Nelson on Facebook, my all time favorite arranger....JJF
Dave Dunaway
Dec 04, 2012 Dave Dunaway rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written and eye opening about the man.
Ravis Harnell
Aug 07, 2010 Ravis Harnell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best unauthorized tell-all out there.
Jun 15, 2017 I.D. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This will forever tarnish your idea of the man as it is nothing but example after example of how awful he was as a person despite his amazing talent on the mic. You can't call this definitive because it virtually ignores talking about specific albums or performances other than just to mention a few but as a side to a more sycophantic biography this is essential. Nothing but dirt that you'll want to cleanse later by listening to his music. I wish there was an updated version covering up to his de ...more
Alice Harbin
A lengthy, thorough biography of Frankie, whom I never want to meet now. He was really a spoiled man who was never confronted with his own poor behavior. Possibly he was bipolar, but because he was so intimidating, well heeled, and had such status among the rich and famous, he was never forced to see his real self for all of it's weaknesses.
Gail Heaslet
Kitty Kelly knows how to dig for stories & dirt. This is a portrait of a very self-centered, self-important, above everyone else type of man. He comes off as more 'mobbed' up than the public ever knew. He ruled his friends like a king and they were his personal coterie of jesters. I was not overly fond of Frank when I started the book but came away with the impression that he is a first class jerk. Still, the background details are impressive for an author to have discovered and Miss Kelly d ...more
Jul 15, 2015 Christa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I mean, I'd never thought about what Frank Sinatra was like outside of his performances. APPARENTLY HE WAS AWFUL. I'm not sure if he was as terrible as this book portrayed him to be (he sued the author when he found out she was writing his ~unauthorized~ biography and while the suit was later dropped, I could understand if that swayed her to focus more on his negative points) or what, but MAN. I don't know that I can listen to his music the same way again.

From being a spoiled mama's boy as a chi
Helen Belova
Dec 01, 2012 Helen Belova rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm Russian and I has surprised by comments of people who write enthusiastically about this book. About Sinatra were written a lot of interesting, objective biographies. I have them for more than 30, but the most people adore this fabricated and libelous book. I think Americans should be ashamed to praise this book when you can read other books about Sinatra. Kitty Kelley is a very bad writer who no one read if she did not write about nasty things. Kelly did not speak with one friend or a close ...more
Oct 25, 2012 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
His Way
By Kitty Kelley

Publisher: Bantam Books
Published In: New York, NY
Date: 1986
Pgs: 575


Sinatra, the unauthorized biography of one of the most elusive public figures. An highly detailed anecdotal tour de force brought about through three years of research, government documents, government wiretaps and testimony, and interviews with 800 people in Sinatra’s life.

Biography, Music

Main Character:

Favorite Character:
Really don’t have a favorite character. Between the kowtowing
Kayla O'Regan
Jan 27, 2015 Kayla O'Regan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Kitty Kelley seems to have one goal in writing this book: Make it as interesting as possible, without much regard for actual fact. She certainly succeeds in this; watching a national icon turn into a volatile, careless, sketchy, gangster-loving monster and nothing more is interesting on the surface, but it failed to hold me for long. Even if he really was nothing more than a volatile, careless, sketchy, gangster-loving monster (and I don't believe that's all he was), why would I want to read a w ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a lifelong Sinatra fan (I can still see my parents dancing to his music at our neighborhood block parties!)and having read many other books on him, I looked forward to reading this book. Kitty Kelly focused on Frank's Mafia connections and bad temper throughout most of the book and seemed to relish any and all negative publicity that was published about him. While I assume the Mafia connections and bad temper rings true, there was much more to the man that could have been highlighted. After a ...more
Sara G
Dec 20, 2015 Sara G rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm conflicted on how to review this book. On one hand, it's obviously very well researched and goes into great detail on Mr. Sinatra's personal life. On the other hand, it was so LONG and tedious to read. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I was from my grandparents' generation and was more familiar with a lot of the famous names. My boyfriend stole a glance at a page of this one and said something to the extent of, "Damn, they're just name dropping everyone they can think of!" It was well w ...more
Don Halpert
Apr 19, 2015 Don Halpert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who was a child of the 50's or 60's will remember Frank Sinatra as a legend. His songs and his movies were very much a part of our lives. When I read this was the celebration of 100 years since his birth, I wanted to read more. Sinatra was enormously talented. A great singer and a great actor.
Kitty Kelley tells the whole story. Sinatra's association with both the Mafia and several Presidents. His threats and bullying. His enormous spitefulness and his vindictiveness.
Personally, he was no
Apr 23, 2016 TJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-researched and written, giving a full view of Sinatra's life up until the book was published. Unfortunately, it was obvious the author had an axe to grind with her subject. Kitty Kelley goes into painful detail to document all of the horrible actions Frank Sinatra did to members of the press. While I do not doubt the authenticity of her writing, Ms. Kelley certainly writes from a biased viewpoint, being a former journalist of the Washington Post (whose journalists appear in the book multipl ...more
I must admit, I am biased as I am a huge fan of Sinatra's music and the public persona from the 40s, 50s and 60s. While this was a good book to read, with awesome quotes and stories using a plethora of details that aren't common knowledge, the author definitely opted to spend more time on the negative aspects of Frank than the positive. I can see why Frank tried to sue her. Still, I am glad I read it. Even though I didn't like finding out some of the more harsh "truths" about an intriguing man I ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin'
  • Sinatra: The Life
  • Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the Last Great Show Biz Party
  • The Sinatra Files: The Secret FBI Dossier
  • A Simple Act of Murder: November 22, 1963
  • A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver
  • Why Sinatra Matters
  • Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books
  • Have Glove, Will Travel: Adventures of a Baseball Vagabond
  • Frank Sinatra: An American Legend
  • I Want to Tell You: My Response to Your Letters, Your Messages, Your Questions
  • Raging Heart
  • O.J. is Innocent and I Can Prove It
  • Eleanor
  • Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History
  • Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote
  • Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation
  • Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier
Kitty Kelley is an American investigative journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of celebrities and politicians. Described as a "poison pen" biographer, her profiles frequently contain unflattering personal anecdotes and details, and their accuracy is often questioned. Though many of her books have topped the best sellers list, Kelley's credibility and sources have ...more
More about Kitty Kelley...

Share This Book