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

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Description


For decades one of America’s most recognizable stars, the real Sammy Davis, Jr. has long remained hidden behind the persona the performer so vigorously generated—and so fiercely protected. In Black and White vividly recounts this untold story, drawing on painstaking research and more than two hundred and fifty interviews to trace Davis, Jr.’s journey from the vaudeville stage to Broadway, Hollywood, and, of course, Las Vegas. Here Wil Haygood brings Davis’s life into full relief against the backdrop of an America in the throes of racial change. He made his living entertaining white people but was often denied service in the very venues he played, and in his broad and varied friendships—not to mention his romances—Davis crossed racial lines in ways few others had. Both an incisive biography and a sweeping cultural history, In Black and White is an important record of a vanished America—and of one of its greatest entertainers.

About the Author


Wil Haygood is currently visiting distinguished professor in the department of media, journalism, and film at Miami University, Ohio. For nearly three decades he was a journalist, serving as a national and foreign correspondent at The Boston Globe, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and then at The Washington Post. He is the author of The Butler: A Witness to History; Tigerland: 1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing; Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America; Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson; In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr.; Two on the River; King of the Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell Jr.; and The Haygoods of Columbus: A Family MemoirThe Butler was later adapted into the critically acclaimed film directed by Lee Daniels, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. Haygood has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and the 2017 Patrick Henry Fellowship Literary Award for his research for Tigerland. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Praise For…


Winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction, the ASCAP Deems Taylor-Timothy White Award for Outstanding Musical Biography, and the Nonfiction Book of the Year Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association

“Portray[s] Davis’ Herculean achievements and epic decline in intimate detail while also putting them in historical and social context.” —Los Angeles Times

“[Haygood] does a vivid, immediate job of conjuring the many worlds [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
 
“A chilling portrait of a complex man who came to personify Las Vegas’ flash as well as its lost soul.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Haygood’s rich and layered biography illuminates the world into which Sammy Davis, Jr. was born—Cuban American, Harlem and vaudeville—and the elite, mostly white world in which Davis yearned to live.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“One of the real strengths of In Black and White is Haygood’s skill as a social and cultural historian, his eye for the significant detail, as he chronicles Davis’s sometimes halting, sometimes pathetic attempts to refashion himself in response to new social, cultural, and political conditions.” —The Boston Globe
 
“Wil Haygood’s unflinching biography of Sammy Davis, Jr. is a portrait of the artist as a lost soul.” —Time
 
“Haygood is . . . a vivid and provocative writer, with a knack for setting the scene and making atmosphere double as analysis.” —The Washington Post
 
“[A] nuanced portrayal of Davis’ conflicted sense of self.” —People
 
“Haygood writes with great power and great compassion, and he has created a book that I couldn’t put down and that I will never forget.” —Robert A. Caro
 
“Of all the books I have read on fame and its discontents, this is the most revelatory, the most insightful, not least because it affords us a sustained glimpse of a famous life lived amid the often conflicting crosscurrents of race, fame, sex and crime.” —Sean O’Hagan, The Observer
 
“[A] moving, exhaustive life of one of America’s greatest entertainers. . . . Haygood’s reporting and powerful prose reveal Davis’s career against the backdrop of the swinging ‘60s and the Rat Pack . . . and Davis as a tragically complex man.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“A fascinating read. . . . In Black and White does splendid justice to its subject while brilliantly touching on the larger theme of race in 20th century America.” —Variety
 
“A dazzling, hard-to-put-down examination of [Davis, Jr.’s] life and times. . . . Exhaustively researched and written with the assured and snappy style of one of Sammy’s own shows.” —BookPage
Product Details
ISBN: 9780804172516
ISBN-10: 080417251X
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: May 12th, 2020
Pages: 528