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George Gershwin: His Life and Work

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  43 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
This comprehensive biography of George Gershwin (1898-1937) unravels the myths surrounding one of America's most celebrated composers and establishes the enduring value of his music. Gershwin created some of the most beloved music of the twentieth century and, along with Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, and Cole Porter, helped make the golden age of Broadway golden. Howard Poll ...more
Hardcover, 901 pages
Published January 15th 2007 by University of California Press (first published December 1st 2006)
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Marvin
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: For the rabid Gershwin fan only
Recommended to Marvin by: John's book club choice
Shelves: music, non-fiction
This book needs two ratings. For the inexhaustible academic work it is, it deserves five stars. Pollack does an amazing job in not only chronicling Gershwin's life but analyzing all of the composer's works. The biography is close to 900 pages with slightly less than 200 of that being notes and index. There is not one stone unturned in Gershwin's life and there is some fascinating information on the supporting cast, like James Reese Europe, Eubie Blake, Paul Whiteman etc, as well. These little si ...more
John
Aug 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read my first Gershwin biography when I was in my late teens.

I guess whenever you totally revere someone, there's always a risk of being a little disillusioned when you read an honest biography about them. I had always regarded Gershwin as someting of a superhuman being. After reading the book I realized that Gerswhin was a mere human who was in possession of super abilities and talents.

Reading this excellent biography reinforces the idea that Gershwin, while personally imperfect, wrote music
...more
Joel Fishbane
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
Howard Pollack's enormous biography of American composer George Gershwin and his work might be better termed an encyclopedia: it not only dives into the composer's life, but also lists the history of his numerous songs, compositions and shows, complete with synopses, cast lists and four whole chapters (nearly 100 pages) devoted to the monumental Porgy and Bess. Having read almost every Gershwin biography to date, I can attest that Mr. Pollack's is both the most exhaustive and the least readable. ...more
Bleak Mouse
Aug 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is more about the work than the life, which is something of a relief after reading so many salacious psychobiographies of important figures. The first two hundred pages are essential for Gershwin fans; the majority of the book is of interest only to the fanatically musical, and I advise browsing it for interesting anecdotal material.
Rosemary
Sep 07, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading about a composer whose music I love. My favorits of his are his short works and love songs, like "Someone to watch over me" and "Our love is here to stay." A lot of composers have short lives. Very strange.
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