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Deconstructing Sammy Book Summary : Sammy Davis Jr. lived a storied life. Adored by millions over a six-decade-long career, he was considered an entertainment icon and a national treasure. But despite lifetime earnings that topped $50 million, Sammy died in 1990 near bankruptcy. His estate was declared insolvent, and there was no possibility of itever using Sammy's name or likeness again. It was as if Sammy had never existed. Years later his wife, Altovise, a once-vivacious woman and heir to one of the greatest entertainment legacies of the twentieth century, was living in poverty, and with nowhere else to go, she turned to a former federal prosecutor, Albert "Sonny" Murray, to make one last attempt to resolve Sammy's debts, restore his estate, and revive his legacy. For seven years Sonny probed Sammy's life to understand how someone of great notoriety and wealth could have lost everything, and in the process he came to understand Sammy as a man whose complexity makes for a riveting work of celebrity biography as cultural history. Matt Birkbeck's serious work of investigative journalism unveils the extraordinary story of an international celebrity at the center of a confluence of entertainment, politics, and organized crime, and shows how even Sammy's outsized talent couldn't save him from himself.
The Quiet Don Book Summary : To what extent was Rosario “Russell” Bufalino involved in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa in 1975? In the CIA’s recruitment of gangsters to assassinate Fidel Castro? In organizing the historic meeting of crime chieftains in 1957? Even in the production of The Godfather movie? Secretive—even reclusive—Russell Bufalino quietly built his organized crime empire in the decades between Prohibition and the Carter presidency. His reach extended far beyond the coal country of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and quaint Amish farms near Lancaster. Bufalino had a hand in global, national, and local politics of the largest American cities, many of its major industries, and controlled the powerful Teamsters Union. His influence also reached the highest levels of Pennsylvania government and halls of Congress, and his legacy left a culture of corruption that continues to this day. A uniquely American saga that spans six decades, The Quiet Don follows Russell Bufalino’s remarkably quiet ascent from Sicilian immigrant to mob soldier to a man described by a United States Senate subcommittee in 1964 as “one of the most ruthless and powerful leaders of the Mafia in the United States.” INCLUDES PHOTOS
Finding Sharon Book Summary : In his international bestseller A Beautiful Child, award winning investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck told the heartbreaking story of a brilliant and beautiful young woman known as Sharon Marshall. Caught in the murderous web of the monster she called her father, Sharon wasn't her real name. But her horrifying story captured the hearts of readers everywhere and lead to a ten-year search to resolve two great mysteries - what was her true identity, and what became of her young son Michael, who was kidnapped from his first grade classroom and never seen again. The worldwide interest in Sharon's story prompted the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to open a new case file enlisting the FBI - and with A Beautiful Child as a roadmap, two FBI agents set their sights on death row interviews with Sharon's tormentor to learn the shocking truth. Equal parts memoir and narrative journalism, Finding Sharon picks up where A Beautiful Child left off and brings to a close one of the greatest mysteries in the annals of law enforcement - and a miraculous ending that will leave you in tears. Reviews "Finding Sharon is a thrilling detective story with a heart of love. Matt Birkbeck shows himself again to be a wonderful storyteller and a most determined investigator as he unravels the final chapter of the tragic and mysterious journey of a gifted young woman." Paul Moses, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of An Unlikely Union and The Saint and the Sultan.
A Beautiful Child Book Summary : Sharon Marshall was a brilliant and beautiful student whose future was filled with promise—until her murderous, fugitive father drew her into a lifetime of deception that became one of the most baffling cases in the annals of American true crime. A student at Forest Park High School near Atlanta, Georgia, popular blonde-haired Sharon Marshall was at the top of her class. Serving as a Lt. Colonel in the ROTC, she earned a full scholarship to Georgia Tech University to study aerospace engineering. She was the ultimate girl next door, sweet, generous, and well-adjusted. But Sharon had disturbing secrets so shocking and unique, they took more than a decade to unravel... This is the horrifying true story of a mysterious young woman caught in the violent web of the murderous fugitive she called her father—and a heartrending testament to the profound courage and perseverance of one woman trapped in the grip of extreme evil.
A Deadly Secret Book Summary : The recent arrest in New Orleans and the HBO documentary The Jinx have put Robert Durst back in the headlines. Here, from the first reporter to access Durst’s NYPD files, is the authoritative account of a decades-long criminal odyssey—the very book found in Durst’s own apartment when it was searched by police. When medical student Kathie Durst vanished in 1982, she was married to Robert Durst, son of a New York real estate magnate. Kathie’s friends had reason to implicate her husband. They told police that Kathie lived in terror of Robert, and that she had uncovered incriminating financial evidence about him. But Durst’s secrets went even deeper. For decades, Kathie’s disappearance remained a mystery. Then in 2001, Durst, an heir to an empire valued at two billion dollars, was arrested for shoplifting in Pennsylvania. When the police brought him in, they discovered that he was a suspect in the murder of Texas drifter Morris Black, whose dismembered remains were found floating in Galveston Bay, and that Durst was also wanted for questioning in the killing of his friend, Susan Burman, in Los Angeles. Based on interviews with family, friends, and acquaintances of Durst, law enforcement, and others involved in the case, A Deadly Secret is a cross-country odyssey of stolen IDs and multiple identities that raises baffling questions about one of the country’s most prominent families—and one of its most elusive suspected killers. Includes additional material not in the original Berkley edition and eight pages of photographs
A Deadly Secret Book Summary : Robert Durst was the secretive heir to a vast, New York real estate fortune when a New York State Police detective began probing the disappearance of Durst's first wife, Kathie, who had been missing for nearly two decades. But as the investigation intensifies and receives national attention, more people die. Durst's best friend, Susan Berman, is shot and killed in Los Angeles. Another friend, a mysterious drifter named Morris Black, is dismembered and his body parts are found floating in Galveston Bay. Durst flees Texas but is found weeks later in Pennsylvania, his hair and eyebrows shaved. He's returned to Texas to stand trial for one murder while police in New York and Los Angeles try to connect him to two others. But as investigators probe deeper, they uncover new clues about Durst and uncover his terrifying secrets. Investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck, who covered the Durst case for Reader's Digest and People Magazine, tells the true story of the Durst saga in this stunning work of investigative reportage. The bestselling author of A Beautiful Child and the critically acclaimed Deconstructing Sammy, Birkbeck carves a gripping, page-turning narrative in A Deadly Secret. Based on first person interviews with many of the participants and access to the NYPD files into the original investigation of the disappearance of Kathie Durst, Birkbeck exposes the politics of police work, the power of an iconic family, and adds new, updated information to a True Crime classic that is sure to chill your spine.
Rat Pack Confidential Book Summary : For the first time, the full story of what happened when Frank brought his best pals to party in a land called Vegas January 1960. Las Vegas is at its smooth, cool peak. The Strip is a jet-age theme park, and the greatest singer in the history of American popular music summons a group of friends there to make a movie. One is an insouciant singer of Italian songs, ex-partner to the most popular film comedian of the day. One is a short, black, Jewish, one-eyed, singing, dancing wonder. One is an upper-crust British pretty boy turned degenerate B-movie star actor, brother-in-law to an ascendant politician. And one is a stiff-shouldered comic with the quintessential Borscht Belt emcee’s knack for needling one-liners. The architectonically sleek marquee of the Sands Hotel announces their presence simply by listing their names: FRANK SINATRA. DEAN MARTIN. SAMMY DAVIS, JR. PETER LAWFORD. JOEY BISHOP. Around them an entire cast gathers: actors, comics, singers, songwriters, gangsters, politicians, and women, as well as thousands of starstruck everyday folks who fork over pocketfuls of money for the privilege of basking in their presence. They call themselves The Clan. But to an awed world, they are known as The Rat Pack. They had it all. Fame. Gorgeous women. A fabulouse playground of a city and all the money in the world. The backing of fearsome crime lords and the blessing of the President of the United States. But the dark side–over the thin line between pleasure and debauchery, between swinging self-confidence and brutal arrogance–took its toll. In four years, their great ride was over, and showbiz was never the same. Acclaimed Jerry Lewis biographer Shawn Levy has written a dazzling portrait of a time when neon brightness cast sordid shadows. It was Frank’s World, and we just lived in it.
Yes I Can Book Summary : In Yes I Can, his 1965 worldwide Number One Best Selling autobiography, Sammy Davis recounts the extraordinary obstacles he overcame to become the undisputed world's greatest entertainer. He describes his personal conviction, the view of success that both propelled him to stardom and served as his armor against racism. "I have to be a star like another man has to breathe. I've got to get so big, so powerful, so famous that the day will come when they'll look at me and see a man, and then somewhere along the way they'll notice he's a Negro."Beginning with his childhood in vaudeville Sammy writes with candor, often humor of the events that shaped his life: his jolting experiences in the army; the accident that took his eye and led to his conversion to Judaism; his friendship with Frank Sinatra; his risking professional destruction when, at the peak of his career he married a white woman: and, throughout, his encounters with racism.A half century after it became an immediate bestseller, Yes I can is still an intensely absorbing book, full of the vitality and aggressive greatness of Sammy Davis, Jr.
Sammy Davis Jr My Father Book Summary : Weaving a compelling tapestry of the life and times and ups and downs of legendary superstar Sammy Davis Jr., and his family, the only daughter of Sammy and Swedish actress May Britt presents a universal portrait of a delicate and often complicated father-daughter relationship. Photos.
Sammy Davis Jr Book Summary : Nicknamed Mr. Show Business, Sammy Davis Jr. was a consummate performer who sang, danced, and acted on film, television, radio, and the stage for over six decades. In this uniquely intimate volume, the entertainment legend's story comes to life through rare family photos and a compelling narrative based on conversations between Sammy Davis Jr. and his daughter, Tracey Davis. The story of a future superstar unfolds beginning with his bittersweet childhood days, raised primarily by his grandmother in Harlem. On the stage by age three, he first became a star in vaudeville with the Will Mastin Trio. Davis was already an up-and-coming performer by the time he was recruited into the Army during World War II. As Tracey Davis candidly relates, it was there that her father first learned to use his talent—singing and dancing—as a weapon against racial bigotry. Davis's career took off in the 1940s through his sheer determination, talent, and the support of friends like Frank Sinatra. With tenderness and humor Tracey describes her father's friendship with Sinatra, and how he stood by him when Davis married Tracey's Swedish actress mother. In a time when interracial marriages were forbidden by law in thirty-one states, both bride and groom endured an onslaught of negative press and even death threats. Complete with rare personal and professional photos, Sammy Davis Jr. recounts Davis's adventures through the Rat Pack era, and the extraordinary obstacles he overcame to become a 5'6”, 120-pound legend who across six decades packed in more than forty albums, seven Broadway shows, twenty-three films, and countless nightclub and concert performances. What emerges from the pages of this loving, but utterly frankly written book, is a uniquely personal perspective on one of the greatest pop culture icons of the twentieth century.
In Black and White Book Summary : For decades one of America's most recognizable stars, the real Sammy Davis, Jr. has long remained hidden behind the persona the performer so vigorously generated--and so fiercely protected. In Black and White vividly recounts this untold story, drawing on painstaking research and more than two hundred and fifty interviews to trace Davis, Jr.'s journey from the vaudeville stage to Broadway, Hollywood, and, of course, Las Vegas. Here Wil Haygood brings Davis's life into full relief against the backdrop of an America in the throes of racial change. He made his living entertaining white people but was often denied service in the very venues he played, and in his broad and varied friendships--not to mention his romances--Davis crossed racial lines in ways few others had. Both an incisive biography and a sweeping cultural history, In Black and White is an important record of a vanished America--and of one of its greatest entertainers.
Eco Deconstruction Book Summary : Eco-Deconstruction marks a new approach to the degradation of the natural environment, including habitat loss, species extinction, and climate change. While the work of French philosopher Jacques Derrida (1930–2004), with its relentless interrogation of the anthropocentric metaphysics of presence, has already proven highly influential in posthumanism and animal studies, the present volume, drawing on published and unpublished work by Derrida and others, builds on these insights to address the most pressing environmental issues of our time. The volume brings together fifteen prominent scholars, from a wide variety of related fields, including eco-phenomenology, eco-hermeneutics, new materialism, posthumanism, animal studies, vegetal philosophy, science and technology studies, environmental humanities, eco-criticism, earth art and aesthetics, and analytic environmental ethics. Overall, eco-deconstruction offers an account of differential relationality explored in a non-totalizable ecological context that addresses our times in both an ontological and a normative register. The book is divided into four sections. “Diagnosing the Present” suggests that our times are marked by a facile, flattened-out understanding of time and thus in need of deconstructive dispositions. “Ecologies” mobilizes the spectral ontology of deconstruction to argue for an originary environmentality, the constitutive ecological embeddedness of mortal life. “Nuclear and Other Biodegradabilities,” examines remains, including such by-products and disintegrations of human culture as nuclear waste, environmental destruction, and species extinctions. “Environmental Ethics” seeks to uncover a demand for justice, including human responsibility for suffering beings, that emerges precisely as a response to original differentiation and the mortality and unmasterable alterity it installs in living beings. As such, the book will resonate with readers not only of philosophy, but across the humanities and the social and natural sciences.
How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony and Why You Should Care Book Summary : "A fascinating and genuinely accessible guide....Educating, enjoyable, and delightfully unscary."—Classical Music What if Bach and Mozart heard richer, more dramatic chords than we hear in music today? What sonorities and moods have we lost in playing music in "equal temperament"—the equal division of the octave into twelve notes that has become our standard tuning method? Thanks to How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony, "we may soon be able to hear for ourselves what Beethoven really meant when he called B minor 'black'" (Wall Street Journal).In this "comprehensive plea for more variety in tuning methods" (Kirkus Reviews), Ross W. Duffin presents "a serious and well-argued case" (Goldberg Magazine) that "should make any contemporary musician think differently about tuning" (Saturday Guardian). Some images in the ebook are not displayed owing to permissions issues.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay with bonus content Book Summary : WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE The beloved, award-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a Michael Chabon masterwork, is the American epic of two boy geniuses named Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay. Now with special bonus material by Michael Chabon. A “towering, swash-buckling thrill of a book” (Newsweek), hailed as Chabon’s “magnum opus” (The New York Review of Books), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a triumph of originality, imagination, and storytelling, an exuberant, irresistible novel that begins in New York City in 1939. A young escape artist and budding magician named Joe Kavalier arrives on the doorstep of his cousin, Sammy Clay. While the long shadow of Hitler falls across Europe, America is happily in thrall to the Golden Age of comic books, and in a distant corner of Brooklyn, Sammy is looking for a way to cash in on the craze. He finds the ideal partner in the aloof, artistically gifted Joe, and together they embark on an adventure that takes them deep into the heart of Manhattan, and the heart of old-fashioned American ambition. From the shared fears, dreams, and desires of two teenage boys, they spin comic book tales of the heroic, fascist-fighting Escapist and the beautiful, mysterious Luna Moth, otherworldly mistress of the night. Climbing from the streets of Brooklyn to the top of the Empire State Building, Joe and Sammy carve out lives, and careers, as vivid as cyan and magenta ink. Spanning continents and eras, this superb book by one of America’s finest writers remains one of the defining novels of our modern American age. NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award and the New York Society Library Book Award Named one of the 10 Best Books of the Decade by Entertainment Weekly