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Sinatra: The Life

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  376 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Packed with revelations, this is the first complete account of a career built on raw talent, sheer willpower--and criminal connections. Anthony Summers--bestselling author of Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe--and Robbyn Swan unveil stunning new information about Sinatra’s links to the Mafia, his crowded love life and his tangled relationships with U.S. president ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Vintage (first published 2005)
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Paul Bryant
I Listen to Dead People

I grew up thinking Elvis was strictly for dead people and Frank, Bing and all of those guys were beyond dead, even zombies thought they were too dead. All those guys were The Enemy, but us young generation were off their radar, we were free of all of those crap songs for swinging misogynists. Then years later I discovered actual old music, by which I mean stuff from the 20s and 30s. It was a kind of revelation - pre-Beatles music could be great. Well, I was young, I had to
Nov 15, 2007 Joshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of The Voice
This book was very very dense. Dates, names, references that needed to be remembered were easily in every paragraph. It's a 400 page book with over 100 pages of sources after that. That is nuts. The author went to great lenghts to obtain first hand testimony in regards to every topic brought forth. As expected I learned so much abour Sinatra, but also about the Kennedy's, Marilyn Monroe, the mob, and old hollywood. I was never fascinated with Sinatra's mob connections, I could give a shit, what ...more
Nov 05, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this not only to be a fascinating biography on Frank Sinatra, but also a revealing look at some of the other famous lives that Frank assocated with: Ava Gardner, Jack Kennedy, and Marilyn Monroe. An amazing singing talent, Frank lived life excessively in terms of drink, women, and his mafia associations. This book reemphasizes to me that fame and money does not ensure happiness, in fact, it rarely brings happiness at all. Frank dated (and married) some of the most beautiful women of his ...more
Nathan Nipp
Jul 07, 2015 Nathan Nipp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've long been interested in Sinatra the artist and decided to pick this book up to learn more about the man behind one of the most famous voices of all time. Summers & Swan do an excellent job of chronicling the Chairman of the Board's big life, from his humble beginnings to his teen idol days and his 1950's resurgence as an older, more mature star. They devote considerable time to detailing Frank's long rumored(and long denied) connections to the Mafia.

One illuminating passage compares th
Apr 17, 2014 Troy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
In Sinatra: The Life, Summers and Swan have written an in-depth, comprehensive chronicle of the iconic celebrity; and in doing so enables the reader to obtain an understanding of Sinatra that goes far behind his long, successful career as a world-renowned singer and actor. In this book, the reader not only gets to learn about all of Sinatra's 'beauty marks' throughout his illustrious career, but about all of his 'warts' as well -- and there were many of them. It is these "warts' that show that S ...more
Joe Brown
As a survey of the entertainment industry in the 30s through the 60s, great.
As a look into the reach and influence of the mob in American culture, great.
As a look into the psyche and life of Sinatra, pretty good.
As a look into the music of Sinatra, terrible.
Miranda Boyer
Feb 01, 2016 Miranda Boyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Sinatra by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan

This biography qualifies for my 2016 reading challenge as the "book I own but never read." I've owned two copies of this book, hard back and audio, for many years now but I never 'found the time' to read either. I think in part because of the size, I knew it would be a large time commitment.

Let me start first by saying: It was worth every single minute, page, word committed.

The authors Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, thoroughly researched this book. It
Jo-Ann Murphy
Sep 10, 2013 Jo-Ann Murphy rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I wish the last thrity years of his life were as well documented as the first thirty in this book. The first part was very interesting and drew the reader into Sinatra's manic life. But as well told as the first part was, the second half was much less detailed and more or less skimmed the highlights. There is only about a paragraph on the loss of his mother. Surely, since she was a dominating force in his early life her loss created great emotional loss and conflict that impacted his subsequent ...more
Emlyn Lewis
1) lingers of track constantly, logging Sinatras co- workers, Friends & Family
2) This book would get away with it being so long if it dived into what Sinatra was going through emotionally. It focuses on historical dates & facts 99% more than the soul of the great Singer

1) Lots of details on dates & facts (if your a quiz junkie)
2) Has nice pictures as a good bio boo should
Apr 13, 2010 Evan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i loved this book it really shows how much frank went through to get where he did. he was in the mafia and was aressted, the mafia started vegas so that opened many doors for him. but all togather the book was amazing, i love how the author actually did alot of research on frank, and you can tell how hard he worked to put this book togather.frank sinatra truely went from the streets to the stage and that is what i titled my short story.i am very happy that after writing an essay about him in cla ...more
Nov 06, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly, the JFK mob era stuff is rather tedious. The first third, covering Frank's career in the 1940s is excellent. No attention whatsoever paid to his movie career.
Jan 28, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And what a freakin' life. Wow.
Excellent. Nicely told.
Chris Beal
Dec 11, 2015 Chris Beal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual, Summers has really done a thorough job of research as well as written in an entertaining style that also respects the intelligence of readers. My only criticism is its redundancy -- subjects that are covered in one chapter come up again later -- sometimes more than once.

The part about the role of Sinatra as a go-between for the Kennedys with the mob in getting votes for JFK is ground-breaking. And you will never look at JFK or that election the same again after you read it.
Ksenia Grekova
Feb 18, 2011 Ksenia Grekova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a little biased from the start by my love to Frank, i still have to admit that the book surprised me a lot. Clearly it's about the power. Power of money, love, music, fame, mafia, women, you name it…It fascinates that this century seems to be never repeated. The concentration of people, books, films, authors mentioned is astonishing. Whatever happened to Frank and whoever ever judged him, he will always be the legend, never defeated. If you need inspiration - grab the book!
Bradley Geiser
Aug 04, 2014 Bradley Geiser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
awesome book!
Nov 09, 2012 Marc94 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been a fan of Frank Sinatra's music for a long time, but I really didn't know much about him. I feel like this book gave me a sense of who he was. He sounds like he wasn't that fun to be around at times, but I still love his music, and feel like I appreciate it more. This book dragged a little bit at times though, and the style wasn't great, but it was fine.

I'd recommend this book for anyone that's interested in learning about Frank Sinatra's life.
Dec 26, 2009 Bart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Frank Sinatra had power and used it his way. He did some good things (charities, etc.) but also abused it. Anthony Summers does a nice job of covering Sinatra's life without getting bogged down in telling the story. Sinatra certainly had a full life and lots and lots of women. He makes Tiger Woods' stories look like child's play. He definitely lived a life.
Oct 12, 2012 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really READ this book past the fourth chapter- the author was very dry and factual.
I love autobiographies MUCH more because you can usually read the feeling in the stories- something I did NOT see in this book. Maybe someday I'll give it another chance and try actually reading it, but not anytime soon.
Kathleen Oles
Oct 27, 2012 Kathleen Oles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

A book of negativity that would have you believe Frank Sinatra had no redeeming virtues. It is really a "hit piece" with a focus on his relationship with the mob and very little on the music that made Sinatra the Entertainer of the Twentieth Century. Not enlightening, just nasty.
Orlando G.
Jan 25, 2009 Orlando G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The albums and songs exist as a window into the heart and soul of a man quite similar to my own.
This biography offers shading ... and in doing so, offers the reader a greater appreciation of "The Voice", "The Chairman Of The Board", "Ol' Blue Eyes" ... Frank Sinatra!!!
Dec 31, 2007 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOve Frank Sinatra. After reading this book, I was a little sad. He wasn't a very nice man. I've heard the story about him but thought people just didn't like him. Now I see him as the mobster he really was. I still like him but ......
Dec 19, 2009 Tree rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of information from mulitiple sources, but surprisingly light on "Rat Pack" info.

He had redeeming qualities and talent, but I had a hard time getting through this. I gave up caring about him with all the crap I learned.
Chris Rea
Jan 29, 2013 Chris Rea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exceptionally grounded and well researched. This is a portrait of a flawed, miserable and often mean man. He had more to regret in life than too be proud of. Much of the "carefree, good times" myths are dispelled in this book.
Katy Kavanagh
May 13, 2009 Katy Kavanagh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on books on tape and it was really very good! I had no idea that Frank Sinatra was such a rough and tumble guy as this. Definitely a good read!
Evett DiBianco
Feb 20, 2008 Evett DiBianco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: celebrity-status
The beginning of this book made me really hate Frank Sinatra, but by the end I wanted to hug him like he was my grandfather. Another celebrity must.
chris roeder
Jul 20, 2015 chris roeder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good listen learned a lot
Jan 13, 2009 Kristiana rated it liked it
Finished. What can I say? Although, I feel like the author got sort of negative towards the end. Come on, give the guy a break.
Jul 05, 2011 Dani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I LOVE Frank Sinatra and this was a page-turner despite a few dry, boring bits.
Anthony Schmitz
An eye opener if you never realized how thoroughly mobbed up Sinatra was.
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Anthony Summers is the bestselling author of eight nonfiction books. His investigative books include Not in Your Lifetime, the critically acclaimed book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy; Official & Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover; and most recently The Eleventh Day, on the 9/11 attacks—a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for History.
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