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Bing Crosby

The Early Years
Narrated by: Edward Lewis
Length: 22 hrs and 15 mins
4 out of 5 stars (54 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From 1934 to 1954, Bing Crosby utterly dominated American entertainment. Nobody has ever had as many hit records, and Crosby was the number one movie star for five years in a row. The rise of Bing Crosby was the rise of American popular culture itself.

In his commanding biography, the eminent cultural critic Gary Giddins takes us on the remarkable journey that brought a provincial young law student from Spokane, Washington, to the pinnacle of the entertainment world. Giddins chronicles Crosby's rise from college minstrel shows through vaudeville; from Paul Whiteman's orchestra to matchless success in Hollywood; from his courtship of the beautiful and tragic Dixie Lee to his triumphs as the sportsman who created the first celebrity pro-am golf tournament and helped build the Del Mar racetrack.

Written with the critical insight and stylistic mastery readers have come to expect from Giddins, this definitive biography rescues Crosby from mythographers and debunkers alike. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and unprecedented access to numerous archives, Giddins dramatizes the ascension of pop and firmly reclaims Crosby's central role in American cultural history.

©2001 Gary Giddins (P)2001 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Edward Lewis delivers fascinating insights into Crosby's early years by way of Gary Giddin's impeccable research and painstaking interviews. With news reel style delivery and straightforward accounts, Lewis provides little known facts and insights covering Crosby's early childhood, vaudeville days in college, rise to fame in Hollywood, love affairs, love of sports, and contribution to society." (AudioFile)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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AWFUL NARRATION

The story sounds like it's really good..., but I could not get past the robotic voice of the narrator!!
My Alexa can read just as well.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Soooo boring... Couldn't get thru it!

The narration was so dry, I finally just had to give up on this! This was a shame, because I really am interested in the story!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great book terrible narration

I think this book is extremely well researched lots of detail very enjoyable but the narrator's voice and his inability to correctly pronounce locations in the Pacific Northwest make it very unbearable to listen to the narrator needs to find out how to pronounce places like Manito park Weyerhaeuser Cheney Washington those difficulties are making it very hard to listen to

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Outstanding

This book is thoroughly researched and so smartly written that the only issue I have is that I’m still waiting for the second and final volume. Dear publisher: please make this happen.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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THE Crosby biography.

Nothing is left "unknown" about Mr. Crosby... and I do mean nothing. The writing is fantastic and the narrator is easy to listen to.

Wonderful but very long book. Despite the enormity of this time, at no time does it drag or become boring. I'm 50. Bing was singing for people my great-grandmother's age, but his voice and legacy is forever. "His voice is like liquid gold bring poured into a silver cup.' (Mr. Louis Armstrong)

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Great biography, though heavy on the technical info

This was an interesting look into the early life and career of Bing Crosby. Though I enjoyed the in depth information, there was also a lot of technical jargon and such that made some of the sections about his performing/recording years a bit boring. The narrator was effective, though I sometimes found his voice a little too high pitched compared to others I’ve listened to. Still a worthwhile listen for any Crosby fan or anyone interested in the lives and career progression of entertainers from his era.

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  • Paul
  • 12-21-13

I love Bing but found this challenging in parts.

I love Bing Crosby's films and music but found the first half of the book very difficult to get into. I think it was because I found the narrator to be quite robotic so it lacked some 'life' I have heard in other books. That said, I got used to it and it was ok for the remainder and I'm sure if I listened again, it would be better still.

With regard to the book, it is very detailed and really provides a look into the life of Bing. My favourite part was the last chapter because it related to Bing's relationship with Bob Hope. I just wish that this part was a little longer.

If you are a Bing Crosby fan then this is a must read although please give the narrator a chance should you find him difficult to listen to as I did initially.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful