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Far more than Elvis or Sinatra, both of whom idolized him, Dean Martin stands as the great mystery of superstardom. Flesh and fantasy, he is both a man of whom the world knows little and an image that has come to embody the holy trinity of America: flash, trash, and cash. The facts of his life are the stuff of myth. Born seventy-five years ago in Steubenville, Ohio, Dino CFar more than Elvis or Sinatra, both of whom idolized him, Dean Martin stands as the great mystery of superstardom. Flesh and fantasy, he is both a man of whom the world knows little and an image that has come to embody the holy trinity of America: flash, trash, and cash. The facts of his life are the stuff of myth. Born seventy-five years ago in Steubenville, Ohio, Dino Crocetti, an immigrant's son, came up the hard way. He pumped gas, worked in a steel mill, boxed, and dealt craps at a local mob joint before finally turning to singing. After two name changes and a nose job, he began an unparalleled rise to the heights of fame, wealth, and power, becoming the most popular all-around entertainer of his time. While his notoriety and fortune grew astoundingly, he withdrew more and more into the silence of seclusion, a darkness on the other side of fame. Yet even in his self-imposed exile, the legend, and enigma, of Dean Martin took on a force of their own. In Dino, Nick Tosches takes us on a mesmerizing, irreverent odyssey through American mob culture, through the hidden, the forbidden, and the dreamed-of places, telling the story of a rise against all odds; the glory of that rise and its dark side, too: the story of a man driven into his own shadow by fame and inner demons. Tosches spent years interviewing the characters and exploring the hell and paradise of an America that few besides Martin have known. From the gambling dens of corrupt steel towns to the glorious nightclub whirl and neon netherworlds of New York and Chicago, from the casinos of Las Vegas to the dream factories of Hollywood, Dino brings to life the sublime and sleazy vision at the heart of this century's soul. Here arevivid portraits of Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Jerry Lewis, Marilyn Monroe, and a host of infamous others, from Frank Costello to Mickey Cohen to Sam Giancana. Wild, illuminating, and strangely poetic, Dino is the epic tale of both one man's fate and that of the new world his fore...

Title : Dino:Living High inthe Dirty Business of Dreams
Author :
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ISBN : 9780440214120
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 462 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Dino:Living High inthe Dirty Business of Dreams Reviews

  • Jeff
    2019-02-27 16:24

    Nick Tosches, former writer for Rolling Stone magazine, brings the same in-house, smug disdain for any musician not named Jackson Browne or Bruce Springsteen or The Eagles, let alone a prehistoric nonentity like former cool cat, Rat Packer, Dean Martin. Contempt hangs over this book like the acrid smell of burning meat when your neighbor gets too drunk to turn his burgers over during a cookout. Mix that with a misguided leitmotif (something about a multi-metaphoric breeze that wafts over Dino at key points in his life) and a prose style that mixes hipster jargon, a smattering of Italian words and phrases and some of the more wince-inducing passages I’ve come across in a while and you have this seamy tale of debauched celebrity.Like most biographies I’ve read, this book takes some time to hit its stride. Except for Dean’s hatred of all things apple, his childhood was pretty much standard stuff. It’s not until he teams up with “the creepy-looking Jewish kid”, Jerry Lewis, does the book take off in a big way. For my Goodreads friends that aren’t taking advantage of their senior discount, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were the cat’s pajamas from 1946 to 1956 – they were a comedy team that started out as night club act and took their comedy act to radio, TV and the movies. Despite the dough and the broads, Dino got progressively tired of Jerry’s rampant ego-driven megalomania and the team acrimoniously split up. It was in all the papers. Kudos to Dean Martin for teaming up for ten years of his life with Jerry Lewis. For me, it’s almost impossible to spend 90 minutes with the guy.Dean Martin was a guy blessed with looks, a good singing voice and an easy, laid back manner. Nothing phased Dino and this is a concept Tosches runs with – Dean the Indifferent or Dino the Pod Person – someone who withholds his true feelings and nature from others – Dino the Obelisk – keeping the world at bay while reaping the riches by simultaneously embracing family values (It’s a Dino Yuletide!!) and undercutting those values with misogynistic asides and smutty double-entendres (Guess what Dino’s stocking is stuffed with? Try putting a Christmas bow around that?).There’s also Dean the Philandering Whore-Monger and Dean the Hepped Up, Percodan Popping Drunk too.Foster Brooks – at the feet of a master.The drunk routine (his vanity plates read “DRUNKY”) became less of an act and more of a way of life and combined with his general apathy, his Vegas act consisted of thirty minutes of him singing songs he had no interest in singing or finishing – with the ultimate act of scorn having Dino flicking lit cigarettes into an audience.That’s Amore, pally!!!Overarching takeaway: Celebrities are pretty much all a bunch of a$$holes. Why did I gave it four stars?Like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, contemptuous storytelling and tales about whoring drunken celebrities are right in my wheel house of “favorite things”.The Fifties – a time of great subtlety

  • Andy
    2019-03-05 12:25

    Anyone thinking about writing a biography about Dean Martin, forget about it. "Dino" isn't hard to beat, it's downright impossible. The inexhaustible biography on Dino covers every facet of his career, from the Jerry Lewis sidekick days to his great TV show to his surprisingly successful movie career to the goofy Matt Helm spy films, "Dino" runs 652 pages and never gets boring, just like Mr. Martin himself.

  • Orange
    2019-02-21 08:02

    It provided quite a lot of information, but I would have preferred a biography that didn't include parts written from Dean's perspective that attempted to convey Dean's thoughts to the reader - or at least what Tosches believed Dean thought. These sections tended to have an irritating abundance of death metaphors (like bad fanfic making a desperate attempt to be philosophical). The author also comes across as gratingly racist and sexist, freely using the n-word and never referring to women as anything but "broads" - not to mention this delightful little piece of imagery (one of many similar examples): "If the world was now a tired wife, he could still sense in rare breaths now and then the luscious bitch he once had so delicious seduced." Dean's triumphs are constantly phrased in terms of the metaphor of a woman ("bitch", "broad") that he has dominated. Overall, it was rather thematically contradictory for Tosches to explore Dean's psyche in third-person omniscient when quotes from those who knew Dean emphasise how impossible it was to figure out what he was really thinking.

  • Matt
    2019-03-07 16:12

    Dean Martin is an elusive and fascinating character. From what I can tell, it would be impossible to write a biography that gets to the core of "who he was," so instead Tosches uses Martin's life as an intense and sprawling exercise to take apart all kinds of ideas about America. The son of Italian immigrants, Dino Crocetti lived The American Dream to the hilt. He followed every empty promise America had to make. He saw the whole sham for what it was, and was never ashamed to expose it. He hated when actors claimed that acting was hard work. During his live shows, he frequently stopped mid-song, not caring to continue. For someone so culturally involved in the huge lie that is American "culture," Martin seems to me to still be an honest personality. What you see is what you get. My favorite passage:"For [Henry:] Miller, as for the masses of sub-literate and post-literate slobs who comprised the vast heart of Dean's viewership, Dean was the American spirit at its truest: fuck Vietnam, fuck politics, fuck morality, fuck culture and fuck the counterculture, fuck it all. We were here but for a breath; twice around the fountain and into the grave: fuck it." This book rules.

  • Spiros
    2019-03-09 14:09

    I grew up in a time when Dean Martin, like Elvis, had ceased to have any relevance. I vaguely remember the Dean Martin show, and slightly more clearly remember the Roasts, but by and large the stream of time had pretty well carried Dino out of the zeitgeist, at least in San Francisco of the '70's. To this day, RIO BRAVO is the only one (out of the very few of his many movies that I have seen) of his films that I can ever imagine myself watching again. As for his music, I actually prefer Sinatra, and I don't even like Sinatra. So how is it that I can have given a voluminous biography of someone I don't care about, a man who was, in any event, a cipher, five stars? The answer, my friend, is Nick Tosches.One thing that is manifest from this book is, that however jejune and inane Martin's surviving output may seem to me (don't get me started on Martin and Lewis), the man was an avatar of cool, and Tosches cogently assesses this cool as built of a combination of "lontano", the distance Martin kept between his emotions and the world around him, and "menefreghista", which Tosches defines as "one who simply did not give a fuck". This was Martin's crowning achievement, and it accounts for his attractiveness as a character. Ironically, for a man who so thoroughly renounced his past, the deaths of his parents in the late '60's caused his wall of cool to crumble, and began a sordid descent into ill-advised marriages, and live performances in which he took a subsidiary role that finally allowed Sinatra to eclipse him. The final chapters of this epic are almost unbearably sad, not because Dino becomes a tragic figure, but more because he becomes a farcical one. "What more could one ask of life than a bottle of scotch, a blowjob, and a million bucks?" is the formulation Tosches frequently repeats to summarize Dino's creed, and surprisingly, the millions seemed to arrive commensurately with the scotch and the blowjobs. In purely financial terms, Martin had to have been one of the most successful performers who ever lived, and surely that is the only way he ever would have measured success. If posterity might feel let down by the dearth of quality in his recorded output, well then surely the joke is on posterity.

  • Karen
    2019-03-01 12:23

    Totally enjoyable book. Part straight show-biz bio, part impressionistic reverie, part filthy gutter gossip. It's an unlikely mix that works perfectly in this case. Dean Martin has always puzzled me -- he sang with such undeniably genuine warmth and yet he also made sure we all knew he never actually gave a f*ck. Turns out this duality colored all his personal relationships, as well. How sad. Tosches book is by turns overblown, blunt, purely speculative and meticulously researched. And darkly funny:That fall of 1958, [Dean Martin:] also sold his name and likeness to Liebmann Breweries in New York: " 'You may need good luck on the links,' says the famous crooner, 'but not at the nineteenth hole. You always score with Rheingold Extra Dry.' " He was now in the company of Ernest Hemingway, who, six years before, had put his name to the immortal advertising prose: "I would rather have a bottle of Ballantine Ale than any other drink after fighting a really big fish." A few months later, a "Playhouse 90" production of Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls shared a television evening with "The Dean Martin Show." One New York reviewer found the former "hopelessely confused, pretentious, dated"; the latter, with "no pretenses at art or esthetics," on the other hand, "was thoroughly pleasant." Beaten now by Dean in both the literary and television arenas, Hemingway spent his final two years on earth in a slow, sad march to the grave.

  • Harry
    2019-03-06 14:02

    I've been meaning to read this book since it came out 25 years ago. A must-read for anybody who is interested in the Rat Pack and old Hollywood.

  • Don Gorman
    2019-03-23 10:20

    (1 1/2). Lots of information but not enough insight into one of the most famous entertainers of the 1950's-80's. Singer, actor, ladies man, night club star extraordinaire, his ability to deal with mobsters and not his own life or finances is unbelievable. The Jerry Lewis thing is equally nuts, but it sure made them famous, and lots of money that they sure had a hard time keeping. Dino turned out to be a very lonely soul, even though it seemed that any woman around was always available. A hard book to plow through, but there is some fun in the details when you get through the never ending stream of chaff.

  • Maureen
    2019-03-16 13:24

    I love Dean Martin, I always will and I won't let this crappy author and his inability to string a simple sentence together ruin my adoration. Possibly, he had a terrible editor. More likely Mr. Tosches simply has no idea what he is doing. The book itself could have been 200 pages shorter if he decided that he wanted it to be about Dean Martin and not a lengthy history of organized crime. Yes, Dean Martin was supposed to be involved with organized crime but this author did not need to delve quite do deeply, page after page, to convince us.Fortunately, the well written parts of the book, the sections that keep me reading were written by others and quoted here. Possibly there is a lack of material written about Dino and that is why Mr. Tosches had to pad the book so much.

  • Dave Hofer
    2019-02-26 08:11

    Vactaion 2008/2009 reading, part 3:This book was pretty cool, even though the author was a bit long-winded. Also the second book I've read about a Rat Pack member. Crazy to see how different showbiz was back then, but how similar it was in many regards: movies were mostly just remakes, the press sucked, and everyone was fucking everyone else.Worth checking out, though.

  • Sara Patterson
    2019-03-01 08:27

    I had SO looked forward to this book, and it is awful. It is way too wordy and poetic for my taste. I love biographies, and I read a lot of them. This one is one of the worst. I couldn't even learn anything about Dean Martin because I was too busy deciphering this guy's poetic nonsense. Not good.

  • Steve Leach
    2019-03-04 14:11

    Fifties and sixties chicanery--from Steubenville to Vegas. Great subtitle. With Nick Tosches, you always get more than a straight bio, and especially when the subject is Dean Martin.

  • Duke Cullinan
    2019-02-24 13:13

    Pretty amazing. Tosches blows the doors out with research, and he seems to use all of it. Every gig, paycheck, movie, TV show, radio show, guest shot, recording session, court appearance, and bowel movement (there actually are references to this) . . . it's in there. Which you'd think would be boring. Until you start reading. Tosches puts a framework around Dean Martin and his life, mainly two things: 1. his preference to maintain great distance between himself and others, and 2. the attitude of 'I don't give a fuck' (and that he really didn't).This is Tosches take on Dino. Through this lens he portrays pretty much all of show business as the lowest of tawdry shams, bordering on actual fraud. And he's not talking just the business end, though that is the cause, he's talking about the "art" itself. And Tosches would use the quotes. Somehow, Dino, himself, comes off a little bit sympathetic, while everything and everyone else is basically a shit show.Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Dean's directors and co-stars, his producers and agents, his wives and lovers, his children - no one makes it out unscathed. And it might seem harsh, but really, how many saints are there in the world? Dig long enough - and it usually doesn't take long - and you'll eventually hit a dead body.All of which should make for a grim and bitter read. But this is a great page-turner. Tosches has a lust for his topic and premise, and the prodigious chops and attitude to make a masterpiece out of it. I believe the premise, but I also believe Tosches has exaggerated for effect, much as all of show business and art does in service of communicating and entertainment. Dino was probably only 75% as artistically corrupt, morally bankrupt, and emotionally empty as Tosches would have you believe.

  • Eric
    2019-03-09 10:03

    This was exceptional. I've always been a fan of Dean Martin and read about this biography in a Greil Marcus book. It was nowhere to be found locally. I finally found it at the U of W - Laramie library, which was bizarre. At any rate, this was one of the best biographies I've ever read. There was no sugar here, just a lot of darkness. The prevailing theme - over and over - was that no one really knew Dean Martin because he shut himself off from everyone, including numerous wives, girlfriends, his children, and all of his "pallies". On one hand, he worked ALL of the time, never stopping, never slowing down, even until the very end. On the other hand, he was incredibly bitter and detached from everything and everyone. His relationship with Jerry Lewis was beyond volatile and all of the Rat Pack mystique was mostly just living to excess to the point of being self-destructive (beyond even what I imagined already) and emotionless. I think what makes this biography different from virtually any other was the fact that there was no happy ending, just the story of a depressed, aging icon who saw fame and fortune (experiencing it to the absolute hedonistic fullest) and then embraced his decline with bitter laughter and acceptance - pure, unquestioned honesty, truth, and darkness.

  • Morgane
    2019-03-17 09:11

    Acutally.... that was SO GOOD.I did not expect to like it that much and in spite of a difficult start, I really enjoyed this book; between Nick Tosches' humble writing and Dean Martin's incredible star system. I didn't know much about him, so that was quite edifying. We could say he was a man absent from his own life, with too much money and too many women to stay decent, and that made me sad for him. Like... nobody could ever know him at the end, like he's never had friends. Nick Tosches' biography isn't really flattering, that's certain, but still.He was quite a character. That's impressive.

  • Malcolm
    2019-03-04 15:15

    Had to skim as I overdosed on contract details, track listings on albums and quotes from movie reviews. Did not gain any great insight into Martin's famously aloof demeanor. The origin story in Stuebenville and background on Italian immigrants and the mob was all interesting. Not sure if all the Italian language flourishes helped or the strange rants Tosches would go on. Possibly an enjoyable read if you keep your expectations low and plow through the repetitive bits.

  • Susan
    2019-03-16 08:20

    While the information was very interesting, this author writes like a 1950s gangster. Really odd. Rather than discussing Dean Martin's death in the final chapter (we are never told when and how he died) he writes nonsense - as if he is writing Martin's thoughts - sort of a dream sequence that serves no purpose. If you can make it through paragraphs of this sort of thing, this book does provide a detailed look at Martin's life.

  • Matt
    2019-03-21 15:00

    A look into the life of the king of cool. Sinatra might be famous for My Way but, after reading this, it was Dean who would truly personify that song

  • Joe Kosarek
    2019-03-09 08:07

    The author is clearly more enamored with his own diction than his subject.

  • Will Nett
    2019-03-24 10:04

    Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of DreamsFollow the lineage of the so-called Cult of Celebrity- whatever that is- and you won’t get much further back than Dino Crocetti. Martin was the original famous-for-being-famous face, be it sloshing around in nightclubs, fart-arseing across the putting green or squiring some brainless gold-digging chorus-liner, pursuing all of these well in to his dotage. Never afraid to let light in on magic, Tosches burns a hole through the talent myth that preceded, and indeed proceeded, the ‘Rat Pack’- a tag they collectively hated- and introduces us to the real ‘talent’ behind Martin’s success: the Mafia, in the fedora’d guise of the likes of Sam Giancana, Skinny D’amato, and Jonny Rosselli.Tosches’ research, even by his own exhaustive standards, is about as comprehensive as it was possible to be at the time of writing. The bibliography and source list runs to well over 50 pages and also includes Martin’s 40 year-spanning musical career and filmography. The author gets as close to Dean as any other of the book’s subjects, the constant theme being that Dean never really allowed himself to get close to anyone- not least his early comedy partner Jerry Lewis, who’s exploits take up a considerable chunk of the book, as you’d expect. Tosches’ slight tendency to overwrite- most often in using seemingly unrelated events as framing devices- pushes the book up to a bumper 450 pages, but contains gems such as his description of Martin at the height of his fame as ‘a mob-culture Zeus’ and chapter headings like ‘Aristeia in Sharkskin.’Amidst the deluge of recording sessions, hokey film scripts, and the tragedy of a lost son, we’re reminded that there’s no fool like an old fool as Martin lurches, like so many ‘legends’ into the realms of self-parody and mental torment, but as the man himself once sang ‘I don’t care if the sun don’t shine.’

  • Jnagle4
    2019-02-27 15:25

    Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley are arguably the two most influential male singers of the 20th century, with an impeccable body of work between them. However, if you asked them who they most admired, they would both give the same answer: Dean Martin.Dean Martin was a fine singer of romantic songs, who had the good fortune to work with some of the greatest songwriters and arrangers of the day (most notably Sammy Cahn and Nelson Riddle). However, it wasn't Martin's voice that made him a legend, it was the simple fact that he didn't care. He had a hit record? Great. He could command over a million dollars working Vegas? Fine. He could screw any broad he wanted? Whatever. He was as cool and collected as his public persona. It was the reason he continued to have hits well into the rock and roll era. He stubbornly refused to be anything other than Dean Martin. Martin's unwillingness to change is the reason why he is not spoken of in the same breath as Sinatra. Sinatra was an extraordinarily insecure and sensitive person. This insecurity fueled his art, and he never let himself be boxed into a persona. One album could be a melancholy collection of saloon songs, and the next could be a potpourri of travel music. This is the reason Sinatra's music has never died.While Martin's music and film career may have faded into the ether, the idea of Dean Martin survives. Dino is all about the idea. What separates Tosches work from most other Rat Pack books is that he doesn't sugarcoat the danger of that idea. Dean Martin was a cool guy, yes, but he also had no friends, He barely knew his children. He barely knew his wives. The idea of Dean Martin eventually killed the creator of the idea.Even if you only have a passing interest in this era of entertainment, do not pass Dino up. It's not just a chronicle of a notable life, but a chronicle of certain era, and a man who held onto it as long as he possibly could

  • LaurieH118
    2019-03-04 12:12

    This is an interesting book on a very difficult subject. Dean Martin didn't really care about anything. After his death, his second wife, Jeanne, said he was "always content in a void, he's content right now." So the author had an almost insurmountable task before him, to make us care about a remote subject.There's quote after quote about how charming Dean Martin was. But there's also story after story about his casual cruelty, his passive aggression. In one jaw dropping episode, he simply doesn't show up for a benefit for a children's charity ... after he gave his word he'd be there, as a favor to the Paramount producer who had paid Martin and Lewis' IRS debt out from his personal checking account ... simply because Dean was mad at Jerry. There aren't any stories of kindness or generosity to balance these stories out. He lived through WWII, Korea, the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement but none of it seemed to touch him. At the height of the women's movement, he thought it was amusing to appear on his TV show walking a woman on a leash.As I read I felt sorry for his first wife, Betty. For second wife, Jeanne and the children. (His third wife is a cypher.) For Sinatra and Lewis. For the audiences who paid to see him in Vegas, even though at the end his only blaze of creativity was figuring out how to work the "f word" into the lyrics of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon." And I felt sorry for myself for wasting my time reading about this man who was so painfully absent from his own life.Is that the author's fault? Probably not. After all, he held my interest cover to cover. But I still can't recommend this book to anyone. There's nothing edifying within its pages.

  • Chad
    2019-02-22 16:23

    This is unlike any biography you've ever read. Guaranteed. I love Tosches... well, I love the idea of Tosches more than Tosches himself. Let's put it that way. Some of his books just plain bore the hell out of me. They're too pretentious. However, he nails it with Dino. I love the unique approach a fiction writer such as Tosches has on real life subjects; in the past he tackled such luminary subjects as boxer Sonny Liston, gangster Arnold Rothstein and rocker Jerry Lee Lewis. Primarily a fiction writer, there's something just unusual about his approach to his subject matter. He's pretty much writing from the point of view of a reader himself. He's just as lost as we are and innocent for that matter. His narrative reads almost as if he's feeling out his character, trying to figure him out, instead of simply explaining who he is. He doesn't have all the answers, he just has the information. Anyway, without going into much detail, Tosche's Dino is amazing. Truly. It's dark and twisted... but more than anything, it's mysterious. We don't know what Dino dreams about. We know he comes from a rough background. We know that he's loyal to the mob and that he hates Jerry Lewis (understandably)... but we really don't know what motivates him. And for that alone Tosches should be commended. Finally a non-fiction writer (well, not really) that doesn't try to fill in every blank. The effect is purely obscure, but terrifying. A damn good book about a tormented man.

  • Andrew
    2019-02-24 09:19

    Took a break from this one after the breakup between Martin and Lewis to read Pynchon and then Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows" for an appropriately timed Halloween aside. When I returned to Martin's post-Lewis years, I jumped right back in to Tosches with ease and sadly watched the decline of elderly Martin and his withdrawal from the external. I don't have much to complain about regarding the method Tosches uses to write this extensive biography, sometimes drifting into what is supposed to be the voice of Dean himself, replete with vulgarity and formed by guesswork of the inner thoughts of a quiet man. I did find myself almost rolling my eyes in moments where it felt Tosches, aptly dressed in grey wool suitcoat, white cotton button down, and skinny black tie gets lost in his impersonation and reaches heavily in lofty and ostentatious prose, alluding to apples of sin, Eve (the fat bitch) and the like. The moments where these passages did not work for me, however, were few and far in between. For the most part, I got lost in them myself. This is a wonderfully told story of a bygone era centering around one of the kings of the time, a man who rose to mythic renown, and Tosches reaches deeply into his bag of tricks to bring us an exhaustive and still entertaining look into the mind of a giant.

  • GoldGato
    2019-03-17 10:01

    Dino! Yeah, this is the biography that re-shaped the way celebrity biographies were written. It also brought Dean Martin back to the forefront, just three years before he died. This is the type of book that can polarize fans, but there is no doubt that it breaks the barriers. After this, Dino became a cult god, the Swinger of Swingers for the Generation X crowd.I actually read this again, about 15 years after the first read-through. It still stands up, although I've read so many other Dean Martin biographies since then that some of the information is old news. But lordy, it truly rocks. In essence, Tosches tackled a subject that could not be tackled. Dino wasn't Frankie. Dino presented a mask to the outside world, so he could enjoy his own world. Work was work and play was play, even if 'play' constituted a night in front of the telly. Martin never wanted to be the best of anything, yet he became a giant without a whole lot of effort. Tosches has to create something out of nothing and he succeeds. Whether you like it or not doesn't make the book any less compelling.Funny. As a kid, I always thought it was "Dean-No." I yelled that at the book whenever I found another incident not to my liking. In the long run, I ended up admiring the Deanster even more for being able to tell Hollywood, and the world, to sit on it and twirl.Book Season = Year Round (bio classic)

  • Doaa
    2019-02-26 13:24

    this book is one of the meanest biography I've ever read.. all the people he depicted are manipulative bastards really ... and man! is there a lot of law suits and money going around ....it will probably burst the allusion and allure of showbiz ...but i think he failed to capture the charisma and relationships of Dean Martin ...especially with Jerry Lewis ...all the book described about their partnership is jealousy,hate and money of course ....but the huge success they had was due to how much fun they had onstage and trying to make each other laugh ....there was this movie ad for instance that they made and were cursing through it, if u heard it u would laugh and know they were just kidding around but when he wrote it in the book it seemed like they were fighting ...sure there were fights later on between them but there's more depth to the relationship than that ...There's gotta be books about serial killers that the author goes easier on him than Nick does with Dean Martin ...anyone reading this book without knowing who Dean Martin is will hate his guts ...but there's more to Dean martin than keeping everyone at bay and not giving a damn...and for God's sake how is Nick so sure that Dean never loved another human being ...nobody is that one-dimensional ...

  • Steve Rosenstein
    2019-03-16 14:22

    A wildly uneven read, vacillating between mildly interesting and mundane, with the occasional, but rare, bit of fascinating detail. Tosches did a monumental amount of research (the bibliography alone is around 40 pages) and seemed to feel the need to remind the reader constantly about all the meticulous research he did. For instance, there are entire paragraphs listing the recording history of a song Martin recorded, which has no bearing on anything except incidentally, and the momentum of the narrative is constantly bogged down with minutiae that doesn't add any insight to the man. And there's another problem - a crucial part of the biography is how Dean Martin was an almost completely inscrutable man, so you have a lot of acquaintances quoted, who mostly comment on how inscrutable Martin was - after a few hundred pages of this, we get it, already. The most interesting part of the read is in trying to comprehend just how much utter garbage Martin contributed to American entertainment, and how massively he was rewarded for it.

  • Justin Sorbara-Hosker
    2019-02-28 07:58

    Would have been a higher rating if Tosches wasn't trying so hard all the time to convince me that he's a badass, and one who shares a moral compass with his subject (and he does not have the greatest role model in that regard). The tough guy writer thing generally comes off a bit disingenuous (overcompensating?), but here, it just grates. 'Look at me, I'm Tosches, I'm an outlaw writer, misogynist philanderers are my kind of people. Didn't hear me the first time? I'll make it really clear, & drop some N bombs too, just to double down.'I've been recommending his Sonny Liston bio for years; perhaps I should revisit it in case it shares a tone with this work. Couldn't finish King of the Jews, and his latest novel was a non-starter just based on plot (the one where Tosches himself is the protagonist, becoming a vampire, picking up young girls - yawn), & at this point, I don't feel the need to run down any more Tosches. This one has good writing and research marred by going overboard in the style department.

  • Marlene
    2019-03-08 10:25

    The life of Dean Martin is a sad one. He was, according to this author, a person who never seemed to connect to anything. He had it all; he had nothing. The author uses a lot of strong language that I assume is to establish a character. I could have done without it, but maybe he felt it was needed to get Dean's personality across. He also put in a lot of stuff about what songs Dino recorded and were in the top 10, etc., much of which I would call filler but was easy to skim over.To me, the story was not just about Dean Martin. It was about the times he grew up in (depression, prohibition), about Subenville, Ohio during that time, about Italian immigrants and the Mafia, about casinos and gambling, about Jerry Lewis and Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys. It was about his first wife, Betty, his second wife, Jeanne, and some of his kids. All of those things, for me, made it an interesting read, and, bundled together, made up Dean Martin.

  • Marc Horton
    2019-03-17 10:22

    One of the finest biographies ever written, at least of any Hollywood personalities, by one of the best writers currently drawing breath. From his beginnings as Dino Crocetti, a two-bit hood dealing blackjack at the backwater casinos of Steubenville, through the early taste of stardom as the cool half of Martin & Lewis, later misadventures with the Rat Pack and the mafia, as well as more adultery, assholery, and alcoholism than the E channel could shake a stick at. Ridiculously researched, and cinematic in scope, this book breathes tragic and hubristic life into the Dean Martin myth (although the notion that Dino was ever really known--or that he wanted to be--by anyone is up for debate) and the way Tosches recreates the zeitgeist of these various periods is nothing short of miraculous. But the real reward is Tosches' writing, as any five of his sentences put together are better than most of what passes for literary novels these days.