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In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr.

In Black and White The Life of Sammy Davis Jr He was for decades one of the most recognizable figures in the cultural landscape his image epitomizing a golden age of American show business His career spanned a lifetime but for years he has re

  • Title: In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • Author: Wil Haygood
  • ISBN: 9780375403545
  • Page: 158
  • Format: Hardcover
  • He was, for decades, one of the most recognizable figures in the cultural landscape, his image epitomizing a golden age of American show business His career spanned a lifetime, but for years he has remained hidden behind the persona he so vigorously generated, and so fiercely protected Now, in this surprising, illuminating, and compulsively readable biography, we are takHe was, for decades, one of the most recognizable figures in the cultural landscape, his image epitomizing a golden age of American show business His career spanned a lifetime, but for years he has remained hidden behind the persona he so vigorously generated, and so fiercely protected Now, in this surprising, illuminating, and compulsively readable biography, we are taken beyond the icon, into the extraordinary, singular life of Sammy Davis, Jr In scrupulous detail and with stunning powers of evocation, Wil Haygood takes us back to the era of vaudeville, where it all began for four year old Sammy who ran out onstage one night and stole the show From then on it was a motherless childhood on the road, singing and dancing his way across a segregated America with his father and the formidable showman Will Mastin, struggling together to survive the Depression and the demise of vaudeville itself With an ambition honed by poverty and an obsessive need for applause, Sammy drove his way into the nightclub circuit of the 1940s and 1950s, when, his father and Mastin aging and out of style, he slowly began to make a name for himself, hustling his way to top billing and eventually to recording contracts From there, he was to stake his claim on Broadway, in Hollywood, and, of course, in Las Vegas Haygood brings Sammy s showbiz life into full relief against the backdrop of an America in the throes of racial change Sammy grew up trapped between the worlds of blacks and whites, with so much invested in both He made his living entertaining white people but was often denied service in the very venues he played Drafted into a newly integrated U.S Army in the 1940s, he saw up close the fierce tensions that seethed below the surface Dragged into the civil rights movement, he witnessed a hatred that often erupted into violence In his broad and varied friendships and alliances with Frank Sinatra Martin Luther King, Jr Richard Nixon Sidney Poitier Marilyn Monroe, to name just a few , not to mention his romances his relationship with Kim Novak and his marriage to the blond beauty May Britt drew death threats , he forged uncharted paths across racial lines Admired and reviled by both blacks and whites, he was tormented all his life by raging insecurities, and never quite came to terms with his own skin Ultimately, his only true sense of his identity was as a performer.Based on painstaking research and than 250 interviews, Wil Haygood brings us a sweeping and vivid cultural history of the twentieth century, chronicling black entertainment from its beginnings and the birth of popular culture as we know it In Black and White transcends simple biography to become an important record, both celebratory and elegiacal, of a vanished America and its greatest entertainer.

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      Published :2018-09-17T15:33:17+00:00

    1 thought on “In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr.

    1. This book is both wonderful and infuriating in equal measure. First, the positive, the sheer amount of research that has been done is stunning and goes far beyond the life of Sammy Davis Jr. There are many anecdotes from people who had not spoken about Sammy before and these help to paint a clearer picture of the man himself, and not just his work. It's certainly a book I'd recommend to someone who learning about Sammy's life for the first time.The negative: The author has a somewhat irritating [...]

    2. 5 Stars***** Whew ~ 23 hours of Sammy!! Really interesting and thorough look at an enormously talented and kindhearted, but ultimately sad man, who was always searching for the childhood love and security he never had. The author missed nothing ~ its all here starting with Sammy's Cuban grandmother and ending on his deathbed. If you are a fan, you'll be a bigger fan, if you aren't, I think you'll still find this a fascinating story of a young boy who's talent supported his father and "uncle" in [...]

    3. This excellent biography fixes Sammy Davis jr in the various turbulent times he lived through, and goes someway to explaining how he could sometimes seem so out of step with the world around him. The narrative flows with ease from the vaudeville days of the 30s to the civil rights movement of the 60s and beyond, making sure that Sammy and his actions are in context the whole way.Anyone seeking another rat pack book will be disappointed, Frank and Dean do drift into the pages occasionally (althou [...]

    4. I really enjoyed this book. It was a bit over the top at times and I finished it with the suspicion that a lot was left out. Unfortunately, the author spends too much time summarizing the details of just about anyone that SDJ met. At first, it's interesting but after a while, it's frustrating. ex. when he gets to the part about Nixon, we have to read quite a bit of backstory that's more about Nixon and not about Sammy. I think there was probably more to Sammy's life and the minute details about [...]

    5. This is a great book. I learned much about Sammy Davis, Jr. that I didn't know, from his vaudeville childhood (he literally never went to school a day in his life, on the road with his father from infancy), to his porn fetish and more. Summing it up like this doesn't do it justice, though. Wil Haygood is such a good author; when I say he writes like a great newspaper columnist, I mean it as a compliment. He is poetic in his language, but not to the point of annoyance (for an example of how to be [...]

    6. Sammy Davis Jr. was a man raised on a stage who had no roots other than the road. I can't imagine what it does to a psyche when you become the primary breadwinner at 5, on the road your entire life with a father who relies on your performance and a mother who doesn't seem to care that you had no childhood because she is chasing dreams of her own. Davis was a walking contradiction, someone who tried to laugh with the jokers so he didn't have to admit they were laughing at him, a true genius when [...]

    7. A beautiful bio by a writer who obviously cared about his subject. That's not to say he doesn't dish the dirt, he does but it's done thoughtfully and within reason. I wish there had been more info on Sammy's recording processes, how he worked out the songs, how he decided what arrangements he liked. I would like to have heard about his final recording session, a gorgeous song done as a duet for Lena Horne. But those are small gripes compared with what we are given by the author. If you like Samm [...]

    8. I was only mildly interested in Sammy Davis Jr. when I picked up this book; remembering my mother's copy of "Yes I Can" when I was a kid, so I gave it a try. I have to say, this is the best celebrity biography I have ever read. Incredibly rich in detail. I was especially fascinated by the description of Sammy's day's in vaudeville. This man had such an incredible life. I highly recommend this!

    9. A semi-comprehensive overview of Sammy's life, from his early years in vaudeville to his death from throat cancer at the relatively early age of 64.Reads much like a travelogue, highlighting places you'd like to visit but wish that you could linger at a bit longer. The book never really delves into the motivation driving the scenery, it merely tells the story from the perspective of a tourist.Bottom line: informative and entertaining. A nice way to spend 500 pages.

    10. Conocí a un hombre, Bojangles, y él bailaba para nosotros Sammy Davis Jr. El hombre que no podían categorizar, que se le negaba todo quería probarlo todo, tragarse el mundo sin digerirlo, ¿No era su vida? ¿Por qué tenía que vivir de acuerdo con las reglas de los demás? luchó toda su vida hacia el día en que ningún hombre blanco podía decirle cómo vivir The Candy Man can because he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good

    11. The book reads much like a novel. Davis started in show business as vaudeville was coming to an end. Haygood was able to tell the story of the evolution of entertainment commingled wit the rise of the civil rights movement. The bio is told not only with compassion but also with clarity. His sources are evident without being intrusive.

    12. pretty good book on the life of a sammy davis jr. amazing entertainer, not so amazing at being a father and husband.

    13. Not only is this well written, but it's got The Rat Pack, sex, drugs, rags-to-richesat's entertainment!

    14. * Understanding Oppression: African American Rights (Then and Now)* 50 Books That Every African American Should Read

    15. Epic. This book would have been more aptly sub-titled "The Life and Times of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Every Person He Ever Came in Contact With." has a lot of tangents and asides.

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