We gave it an A-
Sinatra aficionados know all about compartmentalization: There’s the unrepentant hothead lothario and the greatest pop singer of the 20th century, and these two figures overlap in our imagination only to the extent that a little of that anger and libido romanticizes the lovely woundedness of his best records. But perhaps it is possible to learn too much, as we do in this, Sinatra: The Life by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, the most definitive Sinatra bio to date, an absorbingly comprehensive — if curiously matter-of-fact — catalog of his triumphs and bottomless, alcohol-fueled rages. Maybe it was the alleged rape in 1969, the further documentation of lifelong Mob ties, the misogynistic verbal bullying, or the countless pummelings, but by the time a powerful casino boss reacts to Sinatra’s threats by punching out his front teeth in chapter 30, I was almost rooting for that comeuppance. Eventually I’ll enjoy Swing Easy again; right now, I need one less for the road.