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I grew up on top 40 radio, hearing "Strangers in the Night" way too many times. (Sinatra was also sick of it.) The great 2015 HBO documentary "Sinatra: All or Nothing at All" led me to learn more about the man, who along with the microphone, has had the greatest influence on popular singing in the past century. If you've let Sinatra's sometimes ugly personal life interfere with appreciating his oeuvre, this is an easy introduction to Sinatra's innovations and the best of his recordings. Lehman is the series editor of "Best American Poetry," so this book is also elegantly written and organized.— From Carla's Picks
In celebration of his one-hundredth birthday, a charming, irresistibly readable, and handsomely packaged look back at the life and times of the greatest entertainer in American history, Frank Sinatra.
Sinatra’s Century is an irresistible collection of one-hundred short reflections on the man, his music, and his larger-than-life story, by a lifetime fan who also happens to be one of the poetry world’s most prominent voices. David Lehman uses each of these short pieces to look back on a single facet of the entertainer’s story—from his childhood in Hoboken, to his emergence as “The Voice” in the 1940s, to the wild professional (and romantic) fluctuations that followed. Lehman offers new insights and revisits familiar stories—Sinatra’s dramatic love affairs with some of the most beautiful stars in Hollywood, including Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Ava Gardner; his fall from grace in the late 1940s and resurrection during the “Capitol Years” of the 1950s; his bonds with the rest of the Rat Pack; and his long tenure as the Chairman of the Board, viewed as the eminence grise of popular music inspiring generations of artists, from Bobby Darin to Bono to Bob Dylan.
Brimming with Lehman’s own lifelong affection for Sinatra, the book includes lists of unforgettable performances; engaging insight on what made Sinatra the model of American machismo—and the epitome of romance; and clear-eyed assessments of the foibles that impacted his life and work. Warm and enlightening, Sinatra’s Century is full-throated appreciation of Sinatra for every fan.
David Lehman is the founder and longtime editor of the Best American Poetry series and the editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry. He is the author of several volumes of poetry and cultural criticism, including A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, which won ASCAP'S Deems Taylor Award; The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets; and Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul De Man. A core faculty member of the graduate writing program at the New School, he lives in New York City and Ithaca, New York.