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Guest Thinkers

Sinatra Driven by Demons?

At his core, Frank Sinatra was consumed by pain and anxiety. A new book chronicles his irresistible ascent then the loss of altitude which delighted those repelled by his arrogance.

James Kaplan’s “Frank: The Voice” is authentically a page-turner, a strident tabloid epic constructed out of facts — or more precisely out of the disparate and sometimes contradictory testimony of scores of participants in Frank Sinatra’s early life. There is certainly enough testimony to choose from; pieces of Sinatra, variously skewed and distorted, are scattered all over the latter part of the twentieth century. But they hardly converge into a unified portrait: confronted with the multitude of Sinatras that one must attempt to resolve into a single plausible person, there is a gathering sense of unsettling dissonance quite at odds with the perfected harmonies of his greatest recordings.


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