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Frank Sinatra: History, Identity, and Italian American Culture Hardcover – Sep 23 2004


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From Publishers Weekly

Frank Sinatra’s death in 1998 spawned a series of books focusing on his remarkable career, which took him from the streets of Hoboken, N.J., to the pinnacle of fame. But Sinatra’s emergence also signaled an ethnic community’s arrival in mainstream society. To the sons and daughters of millions of Italian immigrants, Sinatra’s inimitable style epitomized what it meant to be Italian-American in the middle and late 20th century. This collection of essays, written by various historians and critics, takes an extended look at Sinatra through the lens of Italian-American culture, examining the role that Sinatra’s roots played in his artistic choices, his decision to embrace controversial political causes and the wide-ranging influence he had on American society. The book is something of a mixed bag; some of the essays crackle with detail and insight, while others get bogged down in academic-speak. Nevertheless, the collection as a whole offers a fascinating and complex look at this American icon. We learn about Sinatra’s early determination to retain his Italian surname and his canny use of his Italian roots to graft a tough image onto his skinny frame. We also see how organized crime associations dogged him for much of his life, and discover a bit about his complex relationship with his immigrant mother. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the way Sinatra’s own sense of himself as an outsider and his firm belief in loyalty led him to forge lasting friendships with black performers and become a genuine champion of civil rights. Historian Douglas Brinkley asks in the book’s opening chapter whether we should take Ol’ Blue Eyes seriously. By the end of this book, readers will agree that we should.
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Review

Stan Pugliese's Frank Sinatra is a terrific read: the essays offer a range of provocative viewpoints on the universal icon, the American music, and the Italian-American man that was Frank Sinatra. A smart, witty, disturbing, and beautifully choreographed collection. (Regina Barreca, Professor of English, University of Connecticut, and editor of Don't Tell Mama: The Penguin Book of Italian American Writing)

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First Sentence
There are almost as many Sinatras as our imaginations may will into existence: the wise-ass scugnizzo from the streets of Hoboken; the vulnerable crooner who made the bobby soxers swoon at the Paramount; the self-destructive moth to the flame of Ava Gardner; the eternal Maggio and the Comeback Kid; the head Rat with rock glass in hand; the original "gangsta" epitomizing cool and a certain way with women; the ferociously proud Italian American; the Chairman of the Board; Ol' Blue Eyes; civil rights spokesperson.... Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A New Look at Old Blue Eyes April 9 2007
By Rebekah A. Doctor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Stan Pugliese's book is outstanding. It outlines the way Italian American culture was shaped and influenced by Frank Sinatra by putting together a series of scholarly articles dealing with the history, politics, identity, and representation of Sinatra's life. It is an entirely new perspective on an old story. The book was written in order to cast a scholarly light on some hazy issues that have been overlooked in the past. All of the articles are written by collegiate historians (all of whom have impressive working bibliographies).

This is an excellent source for anyone interested in researching Sinatra because it is written with a modern perspective (c. 1994). This is not intended to be a biography, and reading it with a background knowledge of Sinatra is helpful. This book is only really meant to be geared toward historians or scholars that are familiar with Sinatra's life.

The book is extremely well-written and well-researched, and I would recommend it to anyone who is familiar with Sinatra and his life (which also means being familiar with the context of his life). For researching purposes, the book was extremely helpful.
Thoughtful Analysis by a top scholar Jan. 13 2014
By Dominic Candeloro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stan Pugliese (Hofstra) is a top scholar of Italian American studies and has put together a concise volume that analyzes Frank Sinatra's persona as an element of American cultural history.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The best of both worlds: Frank Sinatra & Italy Jan. 9 2007
By Elizabeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book wasn't actually for me, it was for my father-in-law, who is 100% Italian, and probablly Frank Sinatra's biggest fan! So for Christmas I was on a mission to bring his 2 favorite things together... Although I didn't read the book, he was very excited about the book, and has told us that he enjoyed it very much :o)


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