lowest Frank: sale 2021 The Voice online

lowest Frank: sale 2021 The Voice online

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Product Description

Frank Sinatra was the best-known entertainer of the twentieth century—infinitely charismatic, lionized and notorious in equal measure. But despite his mammoth fame, Sinatra the man has remained an enigma.  Now James Kaplan brings deeper insight than ever before to the complex psyche and turbulent life behind that incomparable voice, from Sinatra’s humble beginning in Hoboken to his fall from grace and Oscar-winning return in From Here to Eternity. Here at last is the biographer who makes the reader feel what it was really like to be Frank Sinatraas man, as musician, as tortured genius.

Review

“A biography that reads like a novel. . . . Kaplan does a nimble, brightly evocative job of tracing the development of Sinatra’s art, and his remarkable rise and fall and rise again.” —Michiko Kakutani, “Top 10 Books of 2010,” The New York Times 
  
“Fascinating, superbly written. . . . Whatever you think of Ol’ Blue Eyes, he led an incredible life, and his adventures make great reading. This book is biography at its best.” — The Dallas Morning News 
 
“Marvelously thoughtful. . . . A propulsive narrative that never flags.” — Los Angeles Times
 
“Jim Kaplan’s great gift is his own voice, in peak form—stylish, seductive, and richly resonant—that stands up to Sinatra’s powerful baritone. This is a perceptive, passionate biography.”  —Bob Spitz, author of The Beatles
 
“Just when you think you know all the stories . . . along comes James Kaplan’s Frank to tell us more. . . . Sinatra lovers will be enthralled.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“[Readers] will be carried along by the undeniable pleasure of reading Kaplan’s page-after-page-turner, dense with details of long-forgotten trysts and tiffs, career and emotional highs and lows, movie- and record-business shenanigans. . . . A classic.” — San Francisco Chronicle 
 
“Monumental. . . . Nobody has spun the old yarns with the raconteur’s touch and attitude that Mr. Kaplan brings to the job. . . . Illuminates the incredible-but-true origins of a 20th-century phenomenon.” —The Wall Street Journal
 
“Riveting. . . . The book does music history a huge favor by reminding us that from his days with Tommy Dorsey to the twilight of his Columbia years, Sinatra was a singularly incandescent vocal phenomenon.” —Stephen Holden, The New York Times
 
 “This is biography at its very best—the story of a fascinating character brought to life as never before through superb writing, impeccable research and penetrating insight.  It is a terrific book.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals
 
“With its neat dramatic arc, Frank: The Voice could be the template for the ultimate Sinatra biopic.” — Newsday
 
“The answer to ‘what is there left to say about Sinatra’ is staggeringly answered in James Kaplan’s new book. This story has never been told with such incisiveness, care, research and respect. With so many new revelations, you might never really know who Frank Sinatra is until you read this book.” —Michael Feinstein
 
“Kaplan is skilled at painting a scene, and he turns readers into ‘flies on the wall.’ . . . The music comes alive.” — The Seattle Times
 
 “James Kaplan succeeds not just in bringing Frank Sinatra alive in all his complexity, but in revealing in detail how he consciously, deliberately, and painstakingly transformed himself into a triumphantly successful entertainer and a national icon.” —Michael Korda, author of Ike
 
“A very enjoyable book that will surely enthrall Sinatra’s most serious fans. But it will also attract a whole new generation who will understand how the man who drove Bobbysoxers to the heights of emotional intensity became the sound that most likely will be considered the most important marker for the postwar era and the beginnings of the pop music phenomenon.” —Bookreporter.com
 
“Sinatra was to 20th Century stagecraft what Churchill was to statecraft: the towering presence of the age. In this lyrical narrative, suffused with a mastery of popular culture, Frank is back—this time as a major figure in American history.” —Jonathan Alter, author of The Promise: President Obama, Year One   
 
“At every step of the journey, Kaplan does a good job of capturing what he feels is Sinatra’s fragile ego, contradictory impulses, and—when possible—separating fact from fiction.” — The Christian Science Monitor
 
 “At long last, we have a biography of Sinatra worthy of the man . . . a pop innovator whose influence remains incalculable, whose art remains undiminished. James Kaplan tells this story with the authority of a writer who inhabits his subject from deep inside. The pages fly by on the wings of song.” —Gary Giddins, author of Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams and Warning Shadows

About the Author

James Kaplan has been writing about people and ideas in business and popular culture, as well as notable fiction (The Best American Short Stories), for more than three decades. His essays and reviews, as well as more than a hundred major profiles, have appeared in many magazines, including The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and New York. His novels include Pearl’s Progress and Two Guys from Verona, New York Times Notable Book for 1998. His nonfiction works include The Airport, You Cannot Be Serious (coauthored with John McEnroe), Dean & Me: A Love Story (with Jerry Lewis), and the first volume of his definitive biography of Frank Sinatra, Frank: The Voice. He lives in Westchester, New York, with his wife and three sons.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

A raw December Sunday afternoon in 1915, a day more like the old century than the new among the wood-frame tenements and horse-shit- flecked cobblestones of Hoboken''s Little Italy, a.k.a. Guinea Town. The air smells of coal smoke and imminent snow. The kitchen of the cold-water flat on Monroe Street is full of women, all gathered around a table, all shouting at once. On the table lies a copper- haired girl, just nineteen, hugely pregnant. She moans hoarsely: the labor has stalled. The midwife wipes the poor girl''s brow and motions with her other hand. A doctor is sent for. Ten long minutes later he arrives, removes his overcoat, and with a stern look around the room- he is the lone male present-opens his black bag. From the shining metallic array inside he removes his dreaded obstetric forceps, a medieval-looking instrument, and grips the baby with it, pulling hard from the mother''s womb, in the violent process fearfully tearing the left side of the child''s face and neck, as well as its left ear.

The doctor cuts the cord and lays the infant-a boy, huge and blue and bleeding from his wounds, and apparently dead-by the kitchen sink, quickly shifting his efforts to saving the nearly unconscious mother''s life. The women lean in, mopping the mother''s pallid face, shouting advice in Italian. One at the back of the scrum-perhaps the mother''s mother, perhaps someone else-looks at the inert baby and takes pity. She picks it up, runs some ice-cold water from the sink over it, and slaps its back. It starts, snuffles, and begins to howl.

Mother and child both survived, but neither ever forgot the brutality of that December day. Frank Sinatra bore the scars of his birth, both physical and psychological, to the end of his years. A bear-rug- cherubic baby picture shot a few weeks after he was born was purposely taken from his right side, since the wounds on the left side of his face and neck were still angry-looking. Throughout Sinatra''s vastly documented life, he would rarely-especially if he had anything to do with it-be photographed from his left. One scar, hard to disguise (though frequently airbrushed), ran diagonally from the lower-left corner of his mouth to his jawline. His ear on that side had a bifurcated lobe-the classic cauliflower-but that was the least of it: the delicate ridges and planes of his left outer ear were mashed, giving the appearance, in early pictures, of an apricot run over by a steamroller. The only connection between the sonic world and the external auditory meatus-the ear hole-was a vertical slit. Later plastic surgery would correct the problem to some extent.

That wasn''t all. In childhood, a mastoid operation would leave a thick ridge of scar tissue on his neck behind the ear''s base. A severe case of cystic acne in adolescence compounded his sense of disfigurement: as an adult, he would apply Max Factor pancake makeup to his face and neck every morning and again after each of the several showers he took daily.

Sinatra later told his daughter Nancy that when he was eleven, after some playmates began to call him "Scarface," he went to the house of the physician who had delivered him, determined to give the good doctor a good beating. Fortunately, the doctor wasn''t home. Even when he was in his early forties, on top of the world and in the midst of an artistic outpouring unparalleled in the history of popular music, the birth trauma-and his mother-were very much on Sinatra''s mind. Once, in a moment of extraordinary emotional nakedness, the singer opened up very briefly to a lover. "They weren''t thinking about me," he said bitterly. "They were just thinking about my mother. They just kind of ripped me out and tossed me aside."

He was talking to Peggy Connelly, a young singer whom he met in 1955 and who, for almost three years at the apex of his career, would be as close to him as it was possible for anyone to be. The scene was Madrid, in the spring of 1956: Sinatra was in Spain shooting a movie he had little taste for. One night in a small nightclub, as he and the twenty-four-year-old Connelly sat in the dark at the edge of the dance floor, she caressed his left cheek, but when her fingertips touched his ear, he flinched. She asked him what was wrong, and he admitted he was sensitive about his deformity.

"I really don''t think I had ever noticed it, truly," Connelly said many years later. "This was early on in our relationship." Sinatra then went on to spill out the whole story of his birth: his great weight (thirteen and a half pounds), the ripping forceps, the way he''d essentially been left for dead. "There was no outburst of emotion," Connelly recalled. "There was [instead] an obvious lingering bitterness about what he felt had been a stupid neglect of his infant self to concentrate only on [his] mother, intimating that he was sort of ''ripped from her entrails'' and tossed aside; otherwise his torn ear might have been tended to."

In the years immediately following the harrowing birth of her only child, Dolly Sinatra seems to have compensated in her own way: she became a midwife and sometime abortionist. For the latter activity she got a nickname ("Hatpin Dolly") and a criminal record. And while she sometimes refused to accept payment for terminating pregnancies, she could afford the generosity: her legitimate business of midwifery, at $50 per procedure, a substantial sum at the time, helped support her family in handsome fashion. Strikingly, two of her arrests, one in late 1937 and one in February 1939 (just three weeks after her son''s wedding), neatly bracketed Frank Sinatra''s own two arrests, in November and December 1938, for the then-criminal offenses of (in the first case) seduction and (in the second) adultery. Also remarkable is that all these Sinatra arrests were sex related-and that none of them would have occurred today.

What was happening in this family? To begin to answer the question, we have to cast ourselves back into the knockabout Italian streets of Hoboken in the 1920s and 1930s-and into the thoroughly unpsychological household of Dolly and Marty Sinatra. But while it''s easy to wonder what effect growing up in such a household could have had on an exquisitely sensitive genius (which Frank Sinatra indisputably was), we must also remember that he was cut from the same cloth as his parents-especially his mother, a woman he seems to have hated and loved, avoided and sought out, in equal measures, throughout his life; a woman whose personality was uncomfortably similar to his own.

The first mystery is what brought two such disparate characters as Natalina Garaventa and Anthony Martin Sinatra together in the first place. Dolly (she acquired the nickname as a little girl, for being so pretty) was, even as a very young woman, loud, relentlessly foulmouthed, brilliant (she had a natural facility for languages), and toweringly ambitious. So-to what kind of star did she imagine she was hitching her wagon when she went after (for she must have been the aggressor in the relationship) Marty Sinatra?

For he was a lug: a sweet lug, maybe, but a lug nevertheless. Short, with an obstinate-looking underbite and an early-receding hairline. A fair bantamweight prizefighter (he billed himself as Marty O''Brien, because of the anti-Italian prejudice of the times), frequently unemployed, who sometimes moonlighted as a chauffeur to make ends meet. A little man who had his arms covered in tattoos to try to look tough. Asthmatic; illiterate all his life. And exceedingly stingy with words. In his sixties, Frank Sinatra recalled listening to his parents through the bedroom wall. "Sometimes I''d be lying awake in the dark and I''d hear them talking," he said. "Or rather, I''d hear her talking and him listening. Mostly it was politics or some worthless neighbor. I remember her ranting about how Sacco and Vanzetti were framed. Because they were Italians. Which was probably true. All I''d hear from my father was like a grunt_._._._He''d just say, Eh. Eh."

It''s difficult to extract much personality from the few stories told about the elder Sinatra. He seems to have had a wry and quiet sense of humor, and photographs of him as a young man appear to bear this out-it''s a sweet, though dim, face. Nancy Sinatra, in Frank Sinatra, My Father, tries to paint her grandfather as a lovable practical joker: There was the time Marty gave a pal a laxative and spread glue on the outhouse toilet seat. And then there was Marty''s revenge on a deadbeat barkeep who tried to pay off a debt to him with a sick horse instead of cash: her grandfather, Nancy says, walked the horse to the saloon in the middle of the night and shot it dead in the doorway, leaving the carcass as a discouragement to business.

Rough humor! The joke has a Sicilian tinge to it, and Sicily is where Marty came from, in 1903, aged nine, when he landed at Ellis Island with his mother and two little sisters to join his father, Francesco Sinatra, who-in the common practice of the day-had arrived in America three years earlier to establish himself.

Dolly Garaventa''s people were from the north of Italy, near Genoa. And the ancient, deeply held social prejudice on the part of northern Italians toward southerners makes it doubly difficult to imagine what was on her mind when, at sixteen, she set her cap for the eighteen- year-old Marty. Was it irresistible attraction? Or adolescent rebellion-the chance to stick it to her parents, the lure of the bad boy? It''s said that little Dolly (she was under five feet, and just ninety pounds) used to disguise herself as a boy to sneak into Marty''s prizefights, her strawberry blond hair stuffed into a newsboy cap, a cigar stuck in her mouth: a sweet story, with a ring of truth about it, bespeaking her willfulness, her force. And her originality.

Against her family''s outcry (and probably at her urging), the two eloped, ages seventeen and nineteen, and were married at the Jersey City city hall on Valentine''s Day (a holiday that would loom large at two junctures in Frank Sinatra''s first marriage) 1913. On the marriage certificate, Marty gave his occupation as athlete. In truth, he only ate regularly because his parents owned a grocery store. Soon the couple made it up with her parents, got remarried in the church, and set up housekeeping in the cold-water flat at 415 Monroe Street.

Every family is a mystery, but some are more mysterious than others. After Dolly and Marty Sinatra''s only child was born, theirs was a centrifugal household. Family lore says that the birth rendered Dolly unable to have more children, but it seems equally likely she simply decided-she was a decider-she didn''t want to go through that again. Besides, she had many other fish to fry. Her skill with Italian dialects and her fluency in English led her to become a facilitator for new immigrants who had court business, such as trying to get citizenship papers. Her appearances in court brought her to the attention of local Democratic politicians-the Irish bosses of Hoboken- who, impressed by the force of her personality and her connection with the community, saw in her a natural ward leader. Soon she was getting out votes, petitioning city hall (as part of a demonstration for suffrage in 1919, she chained herself to the building''s fence), campaigning for candidates, collecting favors. All the while roaming the streets of Hoboken with her black midwife''s bag.

It all meant she simply wasn''t at home very much. In any case, home wasn''t the place for Dolly: she was out, not in; she had the politician''s temperament-restless, energetic, unreflective. And she had unique ideas about child rearing. Of course, to present-day sensibilities filled with the art and science of what we now call parenting, child rearing in the early twentieth century has a distinctly primitive look to it. Poor and lower-middle-class families were large, and with the parents either working or simply exhausted, the older children-or the streets-frequently raised the young.

Neither was an option for Frank Sinatra. As an only child in Hoboken in the 1920s and 1930s, he was an anomaly. His mother paid him both too much attention and too little. Having wanted a girl, she dressed him in pink baby clothes. Once he was walking, there were Little Lord Fauntleroy outfits.

He was the apple of his parents'' eye and their ball and chain. Dolly had babies or votes to deliver; Marty had things to do. Italian men left the house whether they were employed or not, if only to sit somewhere and sip a beverage with pals. Late in the second decade of the twentieth century, Dolly borrowed money from her family, and she and Marty bought a bar, on the corner of Jefferson and Fourth, which they called Marty O''Brien''s. While they ran the place, little Frankie was looked after by his grandmother or a cousin or, most regularly, a nice Jewish neighbor named Mrs. Golden. She taught him Yiddish.

When Dolly was with her son, she alternately coddled him-beautiful clothes continued to be a theme-and abused him. In those days it was known as discipline. The child was spirited, and so was the mother. It''s a miracle the child kept his spirit. Dolly once pushed her son down a flight of stairs, knocking him unconscious. She playfully ducked his head under the ocean waves, terrifying him (remarkably, he became an expert swimmer). And most regularly, she hit him with a stick. It was a small bat, actually, something like a policeman''s nightstick: it was kept behind the bar at Marty O''Brien''s.

"When I would get out of hand," Sinatra told Pete Hamill, "she would give me a rap with that little club; then she''d hug me to her breast."

"She was a pisser," he recollected to Shirley MacLaine. "She scared the shit outta me. Never knew what she''d hate that I''d do."

If the primary intimacy was up for grabs, so was every subsequent relationship: Sinatra would feel ambivalent about women until the end of his days. He would show every lover something of what Dolly had shown him.

It seems straight out of a textbook: an only child, both spoiled and neglected, praised to the skies and viciously cut down when he fails to please, grows up suffering an infinite neediness, an inability to be alone, and cycles of grandiosity and bottomless depression.

"I think my dad desperately wanted to do the best he could for the people he loved," Tina Sinatra writes, "but ultimately he would do what he needed to do for himself. (In that, he was his mother''s son.)"

Yet that doesn''t quite tell the whole story. Yes, Frank Sinatra was born with a character (inevitably) similar to Dolly''s, but nature is only half the equation. Frank Sinatra did what he needed to do for himself because he had learned from earliest childhood to trust no one-even the one in whom he should have been able to place ultimate trust.

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Top reviews from the United States

Karen Jones
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Insulting
Reviewed in the United States on March 25, 2019
I purchased this book and the follow up :The chairman" from a Amazon aftermarket seller. The Seller was great and the quality of the books were wonderful. My problem is with the content. The author clearly did not like Mr. Sinatra and went to great lengths to prove it. I... See more
I purchased this book and the follow up :The chairman" from a Amazon aftermarket seller. The Seller was great and the quality of the books were wonderful. My problem is with the content. The author clearly did not like Mr. Sinatra and went to great lengths to prove it. I was really upset that this author repeatedly focused on the size of Franks genitals and spent hundreds of pages on every minute detail of Franks relationship to Ava Gardner.I understand that Mr. Sinatra had his faults but this was just insulting. . Just a bit much for me. Frank Sinatra was and still is a fabulous artist and deserved a better depiction than this.
13 people found this helpful
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Franklin the Mouse
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Agony And The Ecstasy
Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2017
Mr. Kaplan''s first book of his Frank Sinatra two-volume biography was published in 2011. ''Frank'' covers the years from 1915 through 1954. At almost 720 pages, there was never a dull moment while reading it. Heck, even Mr. Sinatra''s birth, beginning on page one, was... See more
Mr. Kaplan''s first book of his Frank Sinatra two-volume biography was published in 2011. ''Frank'' covers the years from 1915 through 1954. At almost 720 pages, there was never a dull moment while reading it. Heck, even Mr. Sinatra''s birth, beginning on page one, was dramatic. Ole Blue Eyes is a great study of the nature of celebrity and one man''s insatiable ego. Sinatra was clearly recognized as a musical genius despite his inability to read music sheets. Each song and performance was unique depending on what was occurring in his personal life. Much like John Wayne, Sinatra''s tough guy swagger was hiding an insecure man. Mr. Kaplan''s work does an excellent job of explaining how the man-child was a notorious SOB and tolerated for so long because he had the vocal goods.

Beyond his music, there are a few things to admire about Mr. Sinatra such as his very progressive and public stances against discrimination towards minorities. However, the good aspects of his character are overwhelmed by the guy''s ugly qualities. Mr. Kaplan takes pains to give a balanced view of Sinatra and believes most of his foibles were because of upbringing and a permissive industry more focused on making money from the golden goose from Hoboken. ''Frank'' covers such topics as Sinatra''s struggle to break into being a Big Band singer, his collaborations with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, his meteoric rise into an idol for bobby-soxers, his associations with the Mob, his World War II draft deferment, his countless one-night stands despite being married, his first and second marriage, FBI surveillance, his efforts to break into movies, his fall into near celebrity oblivion, and his Oscar-winning performance in ''From Here to Eternity''. It should be noted that his relationship with Ava Gardner is given especially close inspection. Gardner and Sinatra were two spoiled, self-indulgent people. The tempests in a teapot made great tabloid fodder and shows how the harassing of current-day stars by the so-called press is not a new thing. There are black-and-white photos sprinkled through the book. Mr. Sinatra and his handlers spread a lot of BS about him that the author corrects. Ole Blue Eyes was "seething ambition and bottomless need." As times changed and American culture shifted, he struggled to remain a star.

''Frank'' is a top-notch biography. It not only tells an interesting story but also gives a feel of the times in which Sinatra''s life is covered. If you have a romanticized view of Hollywood, Mr. Kaplan''s work will hopefully remove some of that childish hogwash from your head. The book is not depressing and well worth your time. One thing is for sure, if Sinatra (and Gardner) were still alive, Mr. Kaplan''s book is the closest I''d ever want to get to them. Now, I''m on to the second volume entitled ''Sinatra: The Chairman.''
22 people found this helpful
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Lakeside
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Exhaustively Detailed and Richly Rewarding
Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2020
This first volume of a two-part biography tells the story of Sinatra''s childhood and rise to early stardom in spellbinding detail. Even if you''ve read other books about this musical genius, you are sure to find fascinating new nuggets, both good and bad, that will give you... See more
This first volume of a two-part biography tells the story of Sinatra''s childhood and rise to early stardom in spellbinding detail. Even if you''ve read other books about this musical genius, you are sure to find fascinating new nuggets, both good and bad, that will give you far greater insight into how and why this man rose to become the greatest purveyor of modern American music in the twentieth century. I cannot wait to dig into the second volume.
3 people found this helpful
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Terry A. Homan
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not what I expected
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2021
While the author did a lot of research the book was a big disappointment to me. In the 700 pages I felt too much was spent on details of the various individuals mentioned immoral life style and not enough about the life of Frank. It only went to 1954 and did not cover any... See more
While the author did a lot of research the book was a big disappointment to me. In the 700 pages I felt too much was spent on details of the various individuals mentioned immoral life style and not enough about the life of Frank. It only went to 1954 and did not cover any of his life after he made it back with his role in From Here to Eternity. There was too much about his love-hate relationship with wife Ava Gardner. The writer got the point across mid way through the book and did not need to keep going on about it I felt.
Anyway I was disappointed with the book and would not recommend it.
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MAURICE J RUBINO
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Sinatra, from Birth to Oscar
Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2015
Frank Sinatra, The Voice, is Part 1 of the most comprehensive biography on one of the world''s most famous entertainers..While it chronicles Sinatra''s life from birth through his triumph in winning the Oscar as best supporting actor in From Here to Eternity, it is also an in... See more
Frank Sinatra, The Voice, is Part 1 of the most comprehensive biography on one of the world''s most famous entertainers..While it chronicles Sinatra''s life from birth through his triumph in winning the Oscar as best supporting actor in From Here to Eternity, it is also an in depth character study. A domineering mother and a passive father shape an individual very fragile relying on constant success not just with his brilliant singing but also by surrounding himself with a group "friends" to assure he would never be alone as well as a number of women to attempt to satisfy his insatiable desires. Only one, Ava Gardner, came close but even this relationship was doomed. Well researched and superbly written, I recommend "The Voice" and predict that once you finish, you will be ready for Part 2.
8 people found this helpful
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P. J. Owen
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Redemption Story, Starring Frank Sinatra
Reviewed in the United States on March 10, 2011
The Voice begins with a birth, a not at all unusual start for a biography. But this scene grabs the reader as different right from the start. The language is vivid, like something out of Dickens, with "horse-s**t-flecked cobblestones" and air that "smells of coal smoke... See more
The Voice begins with a birth, a not at all unusual start for a biography. But this scene grabs the reader as different right from the start. The language is vivid, like something out of Dickens, with "horse-s**t-flecked cobblestones" and air that "smells of coal smoke and imminent snow''. We soon arrive in a kitchen full of women gathered around a table on which lies a "copper-haired girl, hugely pregnant", "moaning hoarsely". This is a difficult delivery. Blunt methods are used to extract the baby, who is then thrown aside for dead, bleeding from its injuries, to save the mother. But both mother and son survive. The son, Francis Albert Sinatra, would later say of the event, "They just kind of ripped me out and tossed me aside." This birth informed his life so much that he was still bitter about it decades later, still angry over a slight he couldn''t have even been conscious of at the time, but was reminded of daily through the physical scars that remained. It was the first painful event to drive him to the heights he attained.

But the birth is important to this book for another reason: it gives form to author James Kaplan''s unique plan.

Virtually everything that can be written about Sinatra has. So why another bio? Kaplan''s twist is to focus on Sinatra''s first 39 years: a sort of portrait of an artist as a young man, timed to close after his rise from the ashes of the first phase of his career. The Voice is a redemption story with Frank Sinatra in the lead.

Most of what people seem to remember about Sinatra is what happened long after his comeback, the Rat-pack era of the 60''s and the Chairman of the Board of the 70''s. But what Kaplan understands and was smart enough to put into written form is that the most interesting part of Sinatra''s life was really that time from the early 40''s to mid-50''s: his rise as "The Voice", mobs of girls wetting their pants for him; his downfall in the late 40''s and early 50''s when his shady relationship with the mob, serial cheating on his wife, and a combustible second marriage to Ava Gardner--who was essentially a female version of Frank Sinatra-- soured him to the public; then the comeback: the dissolution of his marriage to Gardner, his Oscar-winning role in From Here To Eternity, and, most importantly, his renaissance at Capitol Records, where he did his most beloved and artistically vibrant work.

Kaplan gets special credit for showing us so much about Sinatra''s volatile relationship to Gardner, and the often touching pain Sinatra experienced because of it, as well as the man''s respect and hard work on his music. These are two important touchstones in Sinatra''s life, (the other being his mother) Ava and the music, and Kaplan lays everything out for us, more than I''ve ever read before. When Ava and Frank are on the stage, or when Frank is at work in the studio, the book is nearly impossible to put down.

Kaplan''s approach is also interesting in that he provides layer upon layer of witnesses to Sinatra''s life, offering sometimes inconsistent and conflicting testimony, so that the reader is often left to divine the truth, something that frequently seems as elusive as the man under study. Yet this doesn''t disappoint as one might expect, in fact it feels almost like a pleasant dissonance. I think this is because Kaplan still manages to nail Sinatra''s essence, the contradictions: the man who could buy a friend a new house and also leave a pregnant wife at home while he cheated; the man who thought life''s rules didn''t apply to him, but could be also be paralyzed with self-doubt. Kaplan''s Sinatra is the man most of us forget about--the human one-- so used to the caricature that came later. And this is the beauty of The Voice: by focusing on Sinatra''s difficult fall and ultimate redemption, Kaplan turns the legend into a universal story; he shows us how Sinatra is just like us, while also showing us how he isn''t anything like us at all. He presents a character that at times we''ll like, and at other times we''ll hate, but we''ll always have empathy for.
12 people found this helpful
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N. Peters
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Voice Indeed
Reviewed in the United States on December 12, 2015
Terrific look at what made Sinatra the way he is, from his Mother to his first wife Nancy and her subtle influence on his career to Ava Gardner, and her not so subtle influence. Their star crossed relationship helped keep him in the spotlight and almost killed him. He... See more
Terrific look at what made Sinatra the way he is, from his Mother to his first wife Nancy and her subtle influence on his career to Ava Gardner, and her not so subtle influence. Their star crossed relationship helped keep him in the spotlight and almost killed him.
He and Ava Fed off of each other. Since this book ends with his winning the Academy awards for"From here to Eternity". The following years are covered in another book.
This Author did his back ground work and it''s a very well written novel. It portrays Frank Sinatra with all his scars, and his beauty, and of course that voice which still mesmerizes us all. Good Book, one of the better Biographies I have read!o
One person found this helpful
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Michael A. Coluccio
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Old Blue Eyes - the Early Years
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2011
Without a doubt one of the better biographies of Sinatra written to date. Once I started reading it I found it quite hard to put down, and yet I was enjoying it so much I wanted to prolong finishing it. Mr. Kaplan''s coverage of his subject''s life is insightful,... See more
Without a doubt one of the better biographies of Sinatra written to date. Once I started reading it I found it quite hard to put down, and yet I was enjoying it so much I wanted to prolong finishing it. Mr. Kaplan''s coverage of his subject''s life is insightful, entertaining, and, most of all, I believe the way things actually happened. You feel you are there during Sinatra''s tender private moments with his first wife, Nancy, and during his very public shouting matches with second wife Ava Gardner during their volcanic relationship. The Chairman''s early recording career, the truth behind the circumstances of his leaving the Dorsey band, his affairs with Lana Turner and innumerable others, his nights out with the boys, his rivalry with Buddy Rich, and his esteem for professional musicians and arrangers, are all revealed in this brilliant account of the entertainer''s life. The book, comprised of over 700 pages, ends with Sinatra''s having won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in "From Here to Eternity" in 1954, so that should give you some idea of how detailed this story is. But it is never dull or repetitious. In summation, a very well-written narrative of a legendary icon in the entertainment business, sure to be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates a good read, whether you''re a Sinatra fan or not.
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Top reviews from other countries

russell smith
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2018
Brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Simply Sinatra
Reviewed in Canada on August 7, 2020
Sinatra had mythical status in my household, as an entertainer. Along with Elvis and Brando, Sinatra was legendary. But I only knew about in the later part of his career. I''ve read about his exploits with the infamous Rat Pack but wanted a more comprehensive view of enigma...See more
Sinatra had mythical status in my household, as an entertainer. Along with Elvis and Brando, Sinatra was legendary. But I only knew about in the later part of his career. I''ve read about his exploits with the infamous Rat Pack but wanted a more comprehensive view of enigma which is Old Blue Eyes. Kaplan''s work is nothing short of a brilliant. A biography of a complex man made entertaining and understandable. At 700 pages it looks like a daunting read, but consider that this is only the first half of Sinatra''s career it looks even more challenging. Believe me it is worth the time! You can''t begin to detail all the history of this man with one book. Most of the time I get a little bored about 3/4 through such lengthy biographies. With The Voice it was a literally a "could not put down" experience. It took me about a week to finish only because I had work to do. I found myself reading for hours and picking it up in the evening for just one more chapter. Kaplan covers everything, from his humble beginnings to his rise and fall...and rise again. All the rumors and stories are there, and instead of idle gossip, Kaplan delivers multiple interpretations but lets the reader decide which stores are true. In absence of hard facts Kaplan does not take only one account as truth. He draws on a lot of other sources to give a composite of the story when needed. Kaplan also tells the story about Sinatra as a singer in the way that a musician can appreciate. After all, Sinatra was a singer at his core. Now I can truly appreciate his voice and the music. With Kaplan''s insight, Sinatra''s music means so much more to me. Yes, his association with the mob is there, and his often tumultuous relationships with women, especially Ava Gardner. A bio without those elements would not be one of Sinatra. All his failings and strengths, and his triumphs. Kaplan delivers the whole story of a complex man''s complex life. Kaplan does use snappy language and often it is a little out there, but it somehow fits the man so why not? The only oddity is Kaplan''s constant reminders of men''s hairlines and lack of, especially Sinatra. By the end of the book you will know who had a lot of it and who lost most of it! It is sort of hilarious but then again I can believe that Sinatra worried about it just as much. Other than that the book is a rollercoaster of emotion, as was the crooners life, this book perfectly rides the ups and downs. You will love and hate the man at times, and feel his pain and joy. We all can relate to at least some of it. The man truly lived an interesting life, this book fits the man and tells his story well. This book was a journey into the first half of Sinatra''s career , and I already got the next volume and will happily be enjoying it!
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Helen Hickman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Frank: The Voice
Reviewed in Canada on July 19, 2011
This is the definitive book on Sinatra, endlessly fascinating, informative and wonderfully written. I look forward to Volume 2 with great anticipation.
2 people found this helpful
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Jazz Piano John
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Superb biography
Reviewed in Canada on February 13, 2011
This is a very engaging look at someone whose personal life was a shambles, and who yet produced glorious songs. Although more than 700 pages long, I devoured it. I look forward to the second volume. Highly recommended.
2 people found this helpful
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Moka
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Everything you wanted to know and more.
Reviewed in Canada on May 29, 2014
Exhaustive biography. Also contains tons of information about other greats of show business such as Tommy Dorsey and Harry James.
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