Sammy: An Autobiography
Sammy Davis, Jr., and Burt & Jane Boyar
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Get *Sammy: An Autobiography* delivered to your door! Sammy: An Autobiography Sammy Davis, Jr., and Burt & Jane Boyar
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
September 2000
533 pages
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Sammy Davis, Jr., is the most famous and perhaps the most misunderstood black entertainer of all time. When anyone hears tales of the infamous Rat Pack, the ugly green monster begins to creep up the spine. Everyone at some point has wanted to be a member of the Rat Pack and, for African Americans, that means pretending to be Sammy Davis, Jr. To do that accurately you’ve got to know something about the man in the myth.

Curled Up With a Good BookSammy wrote two best-selling biographies while he was still alive: Yes, I Can in 1965 and Why Me in 1980. Jane and Burt Boyar were friends of Sammy for decades and have a unique perspective of the man who really was Sammy Davis, Jr. The Boyars have taken Sammy's two previous biographies and added unpublished interviews and their own memories to make a new look at the life of Sammy Davis, Jr., in Sammy: An Autobiography. The Boyars are both well-seasoned newspaper reporters, so the writing in this book is excellent. No need to fret over bad grammar or overly wordy descriptions; this book is an excellent portrayal of a complex and controversial man.

For African Americans, everything is done in a white man's world. The struggle is to conquer that world and make it your own. Sammy did that with style and panache, which naturally caused much jealousy amongst blacks and whites. Sammy's choices after he became a success didn't help. He may have been a model for O.J. Simpson (just minus the murderous rampages). All of his women were white and his religious conversion as an adult was not to Islam, like most black men in the 60s, but it was to Judaism. During a time of worldwide upheaval, people were looking for leaders, Sammy was well-known and could have used his name to support many movements, but he chose not to get involved. So many other facts in Sammy's life lead to the question, "Why?" This book answers them all. A fast-paced, excellently researched book for both fans of Sammy Davis, Jr., and the Rat Pack as well as for those who like well written True Life stories; this book is simply a MUST read.

© 2001 by Kim Lightfoot for Curled Up With a Good Book

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