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His Way: An Unauthorized Biography Of Frank Sinatra (Anglais) Poche – 1 août 1987

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On the night of December 22, 1938, two constables from Hackensack, New Jersey, headed for the Rustic Cabin in Englewood Cliffs to arrest Frank Sinatra.

Armed with a warrant charging adultery, the two officers walked into the dim little roadhouse looking for the skinny singer who waited tables and sang with Harold Arden's band over the radio line to WNEW in New York.

They waited until Frank finished his midnight broadcast and then sent word that they wanted to give him a Christmas present from one of his admirers. Falling for the ruse, Sinatra walked over to their table, where the criminal court officers arrested him and took him off to the courthouse. After posting five hundred dollars bail, he was released on his own recognizance.

The next day a Hoboken newspaper carried a story headlined: songbird held in morals charge, but no one in Hoboken paid much attention. They were accustomed to seeing the Sinatra name in print for getting into trouble with the law. Frank's uncle Dominick, a boxer known as Champ Sieger, had been charged with malicious mischief; his uncle Gus had been arrested several times for running numbers; his other uncle, Babe, had been charged with participating in a murder and had been sent to prison. His father, Marty, was once charged with receiving stolen goods, and his mother, Dolly, was regularly in and out of courthouses for performing illegal abortions. And Frank himself had been arrested just a month before on a seduction charge.

Frank's relationship with the woman who pressed criminal charges against him had begun earlier that year, when Antoinette Della Penta Francke, a pretty twenty-five-year-old who had long been separated from her husband, went to the Rustic Cabin.

"He got on the platform to sing and I turned to face him," she said. "I was sucking a lemon from my Scotch, and he got mad at me. He came to the table afterwards and said, 'Look, young lady. Do you know you almost ruined my song? You suck a lemon and you make me go dry."

" 'I'm going to give you a lemon in your sour face,' I joked to him. He asked me to dance and then he said, 'Can I take you out next week?' He was playing two against the middle with me and Nancy Barbato, but I didn't know it for a long time. We went together quite a few months, but then, because of his mother, he dropped me. He made me die of humiliation over something. To this day, I think about it."

Toni Francke was from Lodi, New Jersey, an Italian blue-collar town of tiny clapboard houses, several of which had plaster shrines to the Blessed Virgin Mary on their front porches. Dolly Sinatra, who prized her uptown location in Hoboken, was enraged that her son had reached into such a poor area for a girlfriend.

"After dating Frank awhile," Toni said, "I learned how to drive, and sometimes I'd pick him up in my car. Dolly would come out and holler at me, 'Who are you waiting for?'

" 'I'm waiting for Frank,' I'd say.

" 'You are after his money and you are nothing but cheap trash from Lodi,' she'd say.

"Then Frank would come down. He'd feel real embarrassed. He'd put his head down and get in the car, but Dolly would start screaming at him. He used to cry in my car because she didn't want him to be a singer. She said he was a bum. 'Go to college. Go to college,' she'd yell. 'You would not go to school.' 'You want to sing.' 'You bring home bad girlfriends.' She kept it up all the time, always nagging and screaming at him.

"I asked him how he could stand all that hollering. Frank said that she yelled at him all the time. Even when he went for a walk with his dad, she'd scream out the door. 'Where youse going? Don't start making him drink beer like you do, do you hear me?' Frank loved his father then. He really did. He used to say to me, 'I'd give Ma anything if she'd just leave my old man alone.'

"I said to him, 'Frank, why don't you open your mouth to your mother?'

" 'I don't like to say anything,' he said. 'She's my mother.'

"He loved her but he didn't, if you know what I mean."

Despite his mother's strenuous objections, Frank kept going to Lodi. After a few months of steady dating, Toni and her parents invited the Sinatras to dinner.

"Frank told me that Dolly yelled, 'What do you mean I have to go down there?' You see, she felt she was better than us."

Dolly finally relented and went with her husband and her son to the Della Penta home. Frank was looking forward to introducing his father to Toni, but he was worried about his mother kicking up a scene. He didn't have long to wait.

Tension pulsated on both sides of the front door when the Sinatras arrived and rang the bell. Mr. Della Penta answered, and Dolly walked in first, followed by Marty and Frank. Toni stepped forward and said hello. "You look so nice," she said. "You have such a nice dress on." As Dolly was looking around the house, Toni took their coats and hung them up. Here's how she recalls the occasion:

Frank went into the living room, sat down, and asked Toni to sit beside him. His parents sat down as well. Mrs. Della Penta said she was going into the kitchen to check on dinner. Frank popped up to help her.

"That's more than he does for me," said Dolly. "I'm sorry I had a boy. I should have had a girl."

"You get what God gives you," said Toni's father.

"How many children do you have anyway, Mr. Della Penta?"

He said that he had two daughters and one son, which seemed excessive to Dolly. "My, that's a big family, isn't it," she said.

"Big?" said Toni. "It's a pleasure. At least you are never alone."

"If God wanted me to have more kids, I would've had them," Dolly said.

Frank walked into the room. "Did you say God, Ma? I haven't seen you go to church in quite a while."

They had barely sat down to dinner when Dolly turned to Mr. Della Penta and said, "Don't you think these kids are kind of young to be going around together?"

Frank looked at him and said, "I care for your daughter."

"It's only puppy play," said Dolly.

"Mom, I'm a twenty-two-year-old man," said Frank. "Besides, you got married young."

Dolly persisted. "I don't want these kids to get married. Frankie has to go to school first."

"I quit school, and you know it," said Frank.

"You what?" said Toni, who thought Frank was a high-school graduate. "When did you quit?"

"Now you know," said Frank. "You don't have to read it in the papers with Ma around, do you?"

"I don't want Toni to go with him," said Dolly. "They're too young. She'll keep Frankie from being a big singer. I want him to be a star."

Mr. Della Penta looked at Marty, who had not said a word. "Are you against this too?"

Turning to Dolly, Marty said, "I've had it. She's a fine girl. Just because she has Italian grandparents, does that mean she is so bad? Your parents did not like the idea of me, but you did it anyway, so why can't Frankie do what he wants?"

"Shut your goddamned mouth," said Dolly.

"Yeah, if someone's not Irish, you don't want me to have anything to do with them," said Frank.

Rose Della Penta left the room, and Toni's brother turned to Dolly. "Your son came after my sister," he said. "She didn't go after Frank."

"I don't care," said Dolly. "I don't want them going around together anymore."

Mr. Della Penta went into the kitchen to join his wife. Frank turned to his mother. "You should not have come. You're making Mr. and Mrs. Della Penta feel bad," he said.

Toni got up from the table to serve dessert. "Would you care for some fruit?"

"Oh, no," said Dolly. "I'm on a diet." Then she asked to go to the bathroom. Toni showed her where it was, saying, "Watch yourself coming down the steps."

"Oh, I can watch myself, don't you ever worry about that, young lady," said Dolly.

The dinner ended with Frank's telling his parents to go home without him because Toni would drive him back later.

"You have to get your rest, Frankie," said his mother. "You can't stay out late."

"Don't worry, Ma. I'll be home later."

"I don't like that. What time will you be back? I worry. I don't sleep right."

Marty looked at her and said, "You do okay. I'm the one who gets up at night."

Dolly never called to thank the Della Pentas for the macaroni dinner, nor did she ever invite them to Hoboken to have dinner at her house on Garden Street.

Frank told Toni not to take his mother's insults personally. "It's not just you," he said. "It's any girl I go with. No matter who the girl is, my mother always has something to say."

In the summer of 1938, Frank asked Toni to go steady and gave her a small diamond ring. A few days later, she said, he proposed in his car, saying, "I got to make more money, but I'm going to marry you, Toni."

He teased her because she wouldn't go to bed with him, saying that other girls treated their boyfriends better than she treated him.

"I'm not that type," Toni recalls.

"What have you got to lose?"

"What do you mean? If you marry me, okay, but otherwise you can't touch me until you marry me."

"Why, you made of gold or something?"

After a few nights of such sparring, Toni softened, convinced she would eventually get a divorce and marry Frank. She said she had known him a long time and felt good about him.

"Frank didn't seem like he had been to bed with anyone before," she said later. "He was kind of shy. He wasn't all that good because he was so thin. But he was very gentle with me. He did not grab me the first night. He could have but he didn't. We had gone to a big hotel outside of town with a bunch of other couples. We never slept together at my house. We always went to hotels, and Frank registered us as Mr. and Mrs. Sinatra. He sang to me in bed."

Within six weeks, Toni was pregnant. When she broke the news to Frank, he did not say anything for the longest time. Then he said, "Well, I'll have to marry you."

"Don't do me no favors, Frank."

She said that there were no fights or arguments over her pregnancy and th...

Revue de presse

"The most eye-opening celebrity biography of our  time." -William Safire, The New York  Times

"A  compelling page-turner...Kitty Kelley's book has made all  future Sinatra biographies virtually redundant."  --Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

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Détails sur le produit

  • Poche: 656 pages
  • Editeur : Bantam; Édition : Reissue (1 août 1987)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0553265156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553265156
  • Dimensions du produit: 10,4 x 3,7 x 17,4 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 253.608 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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On the night of December 22, 1938, two constables from Hackensack, New Jersey, headed for the Rustic Cabin in Englewood Cliffs to arrest Frank Sinatra. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Par Karil le 12 octobre 2014
Format: Poche
Thank you for excellent service, delivery, and price! I shall certainly order from you again and can recommend you, too.
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Amazon.com: 97 commentaires
63 internautes sur 70 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Book reveals much about our society, not only through music. 7 juin 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
One would not expect a Kitty Kelley book about Frank Sinatra to have any great profundity, but *His Way* stands as a major cultural and social document of our times. Sinatra is one of the most-worshipped gods of our age. His life story shows all over again how much misery goes into "lifestyles of the rich and famous," and how much corruption comes out. Sinatra's origins were unromantic. His mother was a neighborhood abortionist. This was an albatross around young Frank's neck. Symbolic of our age, he grew up to personify the "good life" -- the suave, wealthy, hyper-romantic, carefree, yet blues-ridden one -- in his art, while his life embodied many kinds of evil. His mafia connections are well known and, like other unpleasant details of his legend, the book removes all doubt as to their authenticity. The most remarkable thing about *His Way* is in fact the superb job Kelley does of writing and documenting it. She researches and writes like a seasoned college professor. Like most muckrakers Kelley's truthfulness has been called into question, but the book seems entirely trustworthy, especially at a time so many entertainment deities are revealing themselves as tragically flawed or worse. Sinatra, the king of musical romance, bullied, used, and abused women, including his gentle wife Mia Farrow. The worlds of entertainment, crime and politics came together when Frank and company helped get JFK elected President. Frank was supposedly king of the heap himself, but displayed a pitifully boyish awe toward his fellow rake Kennedy, even after he himself helped to "create" Kennedy as president. *His Way* is a chronicle of an egomaniac who knew no restraints. He cause endless harm to others, then wrote them a check to cover their suffering. The moral of the story (every good book still has one) is that we ought to be more careful in whom we elevate as our heroes and "role models." Even those not fond of Sinatra or his swank big-band genre of music will find the book hard to put down. People of discernment will learn much from it as to why life is the way it is in 1999.
37 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A walk on the sinister side... 1 mai 2007
Par William E. Adams - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
This is a lengthy look at the shadows in Sinatra's personality, and is not the one to read if you are interested in how he developed his approach to singing so well. Frank appears to have been a victim of what we now call bipolar disorder, back in the days when no effective medications existed for it except alcohol and nicotine. He sank into scary depressions, and soared into wild bouts of manic activity, exhibited both grandiosity and generosity in excess, supported violence against his enemies and often uncritical acceptance of his friends. He grew up with a passive dad and a forceful but not likable mom, was a spoiled child who sometimes was a victim of discrimination due to his Italian heritage, and developed such an intense drive to be successful that he frequently drove away the people who might have been best for him. Upon finishing this gossipy yet apparently truthful biography, I didn't want Frank as a friend, but I didn't give away any of my dozen CD's, either. Sometimes one has to divorce the artist from the person in order to remain a fan.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Contradictory and long but a good read 3 août 2013
Par WorldTravelr - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
I have to admit, I had high hopes for this book. However, in terms of getting a picture of the true Frank Sinatra ... I still say the best book on the market is 'My Life With Mr. S' by George Jacobs, who was Sinatra's valet. Despite Jacobs' 'man crush' on his boss, I'd rather have one concrete story about Old Blue Eyes from start to finish. Ms. Kelly's book is a huge hodgepodge collection of interviews of which she uses one or two lines from. Some of the bigger players in Sinatra's life get more than a couple lines such as Peter Lawford who really lays into Sinatra. Others, such as former friends, crushes and jilted lovers get one or two lines to emphasize an assertion made by Kelly and then poof ... they are gone from the book.

While many say this book paints Sinatra in a bad light, I think Sinatra actually is the one who paints Sinatra in a bad light. Selfish, egotistical, childish and nasty are pretty much the adjectives just about anyone who actually knew Mr. Sinatra would first use to describe him. I don't think Sinatra needed Ms. Kelly's help to make him look bad. However, I think Kelly focuses on some of the more sensationalistic stories, etc. given that she is essentially one of the best paid tabloid writers in the game. She does work very hard to piece together hundreds of stories and sources to give us an insight into Sinatra's private life. Almost too many. At the point I got about 300 pages into the book and realized I was less than halfway done, I wished she had left out about 25% of the ho hum stories.

I believed the information about Sinatra's childhood much less than I believed the more substantiated stories of his later career, outbursts, tantrums, etc. It seems a lot of the stories from his youth were collected 50+ years later AFTER he had become a legend. Many of these stories contradict themselves. On one page, Kelly includes an interview that says Sinatra was lacking in attention from his parents. Then, on the next page she talks about how close he was too his parents and that Dolly was too wrapped up in Frank's life. Which is it? This happens a lot in the book ... these contradictions that appear shortly after each other. I think when you are piecing together Sinatra's youth, it is safe to say others' recollections and memories change due to the fame he achieved. I could have done without the whole first part of the book which seemed to run in circles. The only thing Kelly hits over and over with any consistency is the fact that Frank's mother Dolly performed abortions. Kelly seems fixated on bringing this up throughout the book.

The most interesting part for me was Frank's relationship with Ava Gardner and Kelly really only devoted a few chapters to it. A lot of the sources were people who were sort of on the outskirts and there were several contradictions in these chapters so it was hard to know what to believe. Frank's rage and jealousy and hatred of the press and those who tried to control him really comes through in the middle of the book. I knew Sinatra was prickly, difficult and purile but I had no idea how bad it was. Even people like Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Lauren Bacall are quoted frequently in these chapters. I tend to believe these quotes because these are people that Sinatra did wrong but who were still far enough in his circle that they could be believed.

Around the middle of the book, I have to admit the stories and sources get overwhelming and I wished the book would end soon. While 'My Life With Mr. S' was pretty much a cover to cover read in one sitting, after a few days Kitty Kelly's book began more to feel like a Grapes of Wrath-esque novel or a textbook. I was Sinatra-ed out. There is just too much information in this book and I feel that it should have been condensed.

Overall, it paints the picture of a horrible man who belittles those around him for fun, has no conscience, no tact and is focused only on achieving success and fame. The fact that this was published while Sinatra was alive must have been interesting. There is no doubt in my mind that at least half of what is written in this book is true. Even if only half of the book is accurate, I can't think of anyone I would want to know less than Frank Sinatra. It makes him out to be a monster. I would love to know how Kelly got Peter Lawford, Dean Martin and Lauren Bacall to talk about how awful Frank could be during the time they were actually living in the same town as him.

The mafia chapters are really well written and use sources such as actual mobsters along with FBI wiretaps to show how deeply entrenched Frank Sinatra was in the mafia. The chapters about Sinatra's attempt to influence JFK in the mafia's business are jaw dropping. George Jacobs doesn't go too much into this area in his book other than to say he is sure that the mafia had Kennedy killed. But Kelly is fearless and this relationship between the Kennedys, Sinatra and the mafia is amazing, if true.

I can't say this is the best biography I've ever read ... but it does a great job of attempting to back up all of the sources that provided stories. It is one of the most comprehensive books about Sinatra I have read. Kitty Kelly is a good journalist, even if she is a sensationalistic/tabloid journalist. I respect her ability to gather information and piece it together to paint a portrait. She actually does point out some of the good in Sinatra which probably gets lost due to the huge amount of bad that is pointed out about him. Balanced, this book is not. But I would say that it is a fair account.

If you have some interest in Frank Sinatra and some time on your hands (this isn't a cover to cover in a couple days book) I'd recommend picking up a copy. My favorite thing about this book is that it was written like a biography and not like a novel. One book I read, 'Rat Pack Confidential' has much of the same stories but that author writes in a tone that sounds more like a bad detective novel making the book utterly unreadable. Kitty Kelly's language is matter of fact, straight to the point and easy to read.

'My Life With Mr. S' is much better in my opinion than this book. But I am glad I read this book about Sinatra because it makes me like him a lot less. I can't even say 'less as a person' because after reading this book, I don't even know that Sinatra was human. These quotes and stories make him out to be more of a successful monster. However, I do know how Kitty Kelly works, but even with a grain of salt ... Sinatra is still a bitter subject.
26 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Ol' Red Eyes 1 août 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
This book is very readable. Pick it up at any page and go. A lot of Sinatras wild exploits are written about. Many are of a negative nature (as many interesting wild exploits are), but there are many references supporting them.
The long length of this book, combined with its interesting items, and its ease of reading, make this book great.
Truth or not? Who knows to what degree. Certainly there have been enough well documented incidents with Sinatra that the content of this book is not unreasonable to believe.
It does focus on his behavior, and life, more than his actual music activities. If that makes this book "tabloid" then fine, it also makes it interesting and readable.
For in depth Sinatra music related biographical information, there must be a better book than this.
This book is great if you are intersted in the wild exploits of his life. And oh they were wild.
The book keeps moving. Its fast (though long). Nothing in the book is uninteresting.
15 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
More objective than reported 28 juin 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Yes, the book is full of well documented dirt on Sinatra, but Kelley also liberally includes the goods on Sinatra, such as his frequent generosity. Full of facts, but no agenda there unless you arrive with one yourself.
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