Fascinating book and written in depth and detail Some really interesting sociological and psychological overviews Was expecting a quick read and initially thought the discourses were going to be off putting but quickly became fascinated I thought there was real depth to the characterisation ands a real attempt to understand Liberace and what drove him and how he was affected by his times I ended up watching lots of clips and documentaries about him which added evento the book I ended up looking and admiring Liberace a lot and sympathised with him with regard to the rapacious press and a lot of nasty, snobbish, humiliating comments about him At the end of the day he only claimed to be an entertainer and at that was a real star with extraordinary audience rapport ands an obvious desire to connect and entertain them He was technically brilliant as well despite some cruel comments A lot of the comments appear extremely homophobic with time He comes across as a kind heart in rapacious times but with an inherent toughness to keep going What an audacious entertainer More People Watched His Nationally Syndicated Television Show BetweenAndThan Followed I Love Lucy Even A Decade After His Death, The Attendance Records He Set At Madison Square Garden, The Hollywood Bowl, And Radio City Music Hall Still Stand Arguably The Most Popular Entertainer Of The Twentieth Century, This Very Public Figure Nonetheless Kept Than A Few Secrets Darden Asbury Pyron, Author Of The Acclaimed And Bestselling Southern Daughter The Life Of Margaret Mitchell, Leads Us Through The Life Of America S Foremost Showman With His Fresh, Provocative, And Definitive Portrait Of Liberace, An American BoyLiberace S Career Follows The Trajectory Of The Classic American Dream Born In The Midwest To Polish Italian Immigrant Parents, He Was A Child Prodigy Who, By The Age Of Twenty, Had Performed With The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Abandoning The Concert Stage For The Lucrative And Glittery World Of Nightclubs, Celebrities, And Television, Liberace Became America S Most Popular Entertainer While Wildly Successful And Good Natured Outwardly, Liberace, Pyron Reveals, Was A Complicated Man Whose Political, Social, And Religious Conservativism Existed Side By Side With A Lifetime Of Secretive Homosexuality Even So, His Swishy Persona Belied An Inner Life Of Ferocious Aggression And Ambition Pyron Relates This Private Man To His Public Persona And Places This Remarkable Life In The Rapidly Changing Cultural Landscape Of Twentieth Century AmericaPyron Presents Liberace S Life As A Metaphor, For Both Good And Ill, Of American Culture, With Its Shopping Malls And Insatiable Hunger For Celebrity In This Fascinating Biography, Pyron Complicates And Celebrates Our Image Of The Man For Whom The Streets Were Paved With Gold Lam An Entertaining And Rewarding Biography Of The Pianist And Entertainer Whose Fans Adoration Was Equaled Only By His Critics Loathing Pyron Persuasively Argues That Liberace, Thoroughly And Rigorously Trained, Was A Genuine Musician As Well As A Brilliant Showman A N Immensely Entertaining Story That Should Be Fascinating And Pleasurable To Anyone With An Interest In American Popular Culture Kirkus Reviews This Is A Wonderful Book, What Biography Ought To Be And So Seldom Is Kathryn Hughes, Daily Telegraph A Bsorbing And Insightful Pyron S Interests Are Far Ranging And Illuminating From The Influence Of A Roman Catholic Sensibility On Liberace And Gay Culture To The Aesthetics Of Television And The Social Importance Of Self Improvement Books In The S Finally, He Achieves What Many Readers Might Consider Impossible A Persuasive Case For Liberace S Life And Times As The Embodiment Of An Important Cultural Moment Publishers Weekly Liberace, Coming On Top Of His Amazing Life Of Margaret Mitchell, Southern Daughter, Puts Darden Pyron In The Very First Rank Of American Biographers His Books Are As Exciting As The Lives Of His Subjects Tom Wolfe Fascinating, Thoughtful, Exhaustive, And Well Written, This Book Will Serve As The Standard Biography Of A Complex Icon Of American Popular Culture Library Journal This was a scholarly research into the complicated life of one of America s greatest pianists and showmen Liberace s sexual orientation was just one facet of him, and I think the author dealt with the subject too much. Exhaustivelty detailed account of the life and times of Mr Showmanship It starts out well, with his odd careeer trajectory contrsted with the rise of television, gay culture, the immigrant experience and other facets of American life However, once Stonewall hits, the author seems to abandon his story for extensive gay theorizing and sections where the name Foucault is seenthan that of Liberace. Reading this book was an act of serendipity As a subscriber to the online Chicago Manual of Style, I get periodic offers of free backlist ebooks from the University of Chicago Press, and when this one was offered, I said yes I carried it around in my Nook and read it off and on over a period of several months, often playing through with other books I was never a Liberace fan or particularly interested in him, but I was fascinated by the context of this entertainer s life Why was he so popular in the years that he was popular What did his popularity reveal about the times and the culture This was my parents youth and my childhood, and it fascinates me in the same way that I am fascinated by the TV show Mad Men, for the same reasons The author is good at addressing these matters, as well as exploring what it was like for Liberace as a gay man before and after Stonewall and the cultural change that followed I m glad I read it. Interesting viewpoint the title , but filled with astonishingly bad writing and use of words like faggy. I guess the reason I read biographies is to learn a little something from all the great people in history that I admire and take a little bit of all of them into myself, as well as learn from their mistakes Of course I wanted to hear all the salacious goss and read lush descriptions of Liberace s palaces, but mostly An American Boy taught me a lot about how to be a good entertainer, the art of showmanship and professionalism There s also many diversions from the man himself to the nature and evolving complexities of his times, particularly in terms of gay culture Sometimes this gets a bit silly, like the lengthy analysis of the lyrics to I ll Be Seeing You , but mostly it s very engaging Too much of a good thing is wonderful. An academic book that was rather prurient and full of pages of irrelevant material If you start a section with it is unlikely that Liberace was aware of then I don t see the point of that digression Still, I knowabout the showman than I did before and you can just skip the waffle.