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In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr. | [Wil Haygood]

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

This biography of entertainment legend Sammy Davis, Jr. is an enthralling portrait of one of the most recognizable figures from the golden age of American show business. Davis, a guarded man who protected his private life with great vigor, lived an extraordinary life in the limelight, while also forging new uncharted paths across racial lines.
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Publisher's Summary

This biography of entertainment legend Sammy Davis, Jr. is an enthralling portrait of one of the most recognizable figures from the golden age of American show business. Davis, a guarded man who protected his private life with great vigor, lived an extraordinary life in the limelight, while also forging new uncharted paths across racial lines.

©2003 Wil Haygood; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Haygood never loses sight of Sammy the entertainer, indefatigable on stage and insatiable in his craving for adoration. A fascinating American life story, brilliantly told." (Booklist)
"[Haygood] does a vivid job of conjuring the many worlds [Sammy Davis, Jr.] traversed, and shows how the issue of race, in his own mind and in the minds of his fans and detractors, shaped his career and life." (The New York Times)
"Haygood's reporting and powerful prose reveal Davis's career against the backdrop of the swinging '60s and the Rat Pack (with Sinatra as a mighty presence in Davis's life) and Davis as a tragically complex man." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (60 )
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4.4 (28 )
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4.1 (26 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Catherine LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 02-20-12
    Catherine LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 02-20-12 Member Since 2011

    I love to read!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reading this book was a fabulous adventure!"

    I almost put it down after ten minutes. It started out not connecting with my curiosity as it came begins as angry and resentful, and I just didn't feel like being a therapist for the writer. Then, it took a sharp turn into a magical and well written story about culture, time, people, bridges, energy and time. I couldn't put it down. The author is a truly gifted story teller with very keen insight into the wants, needs, and intrinsic values of people. Clearly bringing out avenues of adventure and humanity not explored before by any one else. Many parts of the book read like prose poetry for me. He opened the door to Vaudeville culture for me. The book was generous towards the good natures of people and unbiased. I would pre order without any hesitation any book forthcoming from this author. He has the gift and artistry to take the reader places they would not go without his vision, and loving story telling.

    The narrator as well, annoyed me for the first five to ten minutes. But as the story got better so did the narrator. He did a great job and I cam to appreciate hearing the small breaths that popped up now and then. It made the experience more human and real.

    You will not forget the book, or the voice. A real pleasure!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    russell levittown, NY, United States 12-09-08
    russell levittown, NY, United States 12-09-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing"

    This man's story is amazing. This is one of those rare books that you wish would never end from the beginning it was just a little slow but be patient because this guys life is definitely worth listening to I found myself just sitting in the car listening to the story even if I was late for work I really got caught up in the story because Sammy was somebody that I remembered from a kid. I remember watching him on the Ed Sullivan show and always on television with Sinatra and Dean Martin but to really know his life story is surely an amazing story. It's also a tearjerker so be aware

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Gordon New York, NY 07-02-06
    James Gordon New York, NY 07-02-06 Member Since 2004
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    "Sammy Plus"

    First, let me say that in In Black and White, the reader gets a careful documentary of Mr. Sammy Davis, Jr., one of the most important black entertainers of the 20th century. But - and this is a wonderful plus - we get a brief picture of the progression (or lack of it) of civil rights in the United States. All of Sammy's talent did not make a difference in his acceptance by those in power. Whether he was under the thumb of Frank Sinatra or licking the wounds created by his mother's rejection, one gets a sense of Sammy, the unhappy song-and-dance man. Sammy never seemed able to accept the love his talent accorded him. He wanted the acceptance that only he could give himself.

    This is a fascinating and sad look at a man who made it all the way up the ladder only to find that the top didn't afford him the love he wanted.

    The epilogue wherein the author meets with Sammy's mother is chilling. It speaks frighteningly to the hurdles Davis was ill-equipped to hurdle: namely, the parent who could never be pleased.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William bronx, NY, USA 05-21-06
    William bronx, NY, USA 05-21-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Can't touch the man"

    It's funny how the book starts with the chapter about Sammy's autobiography, Yes I Can. It talk of how the polished stack of mistruths was thrown together to glorify Sammy. But, this book, revealing many of his flaws, still makes him out to be a truly loving soul and probably one of the greatest entertainers we will see for many many years.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jody R. Nathan Tulsa, OK USA 12-30-05
    Jody R. Nathan Tulsa, OK USA 12-30-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a story"

    Long on facts, the story of a poor black boy who used his talent to support his father; a complex man who always wanted to be someone or something else. The author captures history and biography and makes a compelling tale. Would have given it 5 stars, but it did get a bit rambling in places. Found it very worthwhile and haunting.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Estevan, SK, Canada 04-26-06
    Jane Estevan, SK, Canada 04-26-06 Member Since 2013
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    "An interesting and complex biography"

    The genius of this book is that it tells this great entertainer's story against a parallel back drop of racism in America and the civil rights movement, thus allowing the listener to appreciate the justification behind the great entertainer's actions and the true scope of his accomplishments. It is a little slow to start, in fact the first hour or so revolves around the events that led to Davis' first autobiography. however, once it gets going it is a complex and captivating tale of the real Sammy, flaws and all, and the impact he had on Black entertainment.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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