RaveThe Wall Street Journal...[a] fascinating and exhaustive biography ... Fosse was as vital a character in his life as in his work, and Mr. Wasson accordingly narrates as if his book were a novel, a Faustian tale in which the protagonist is so gifted that he is bound to succeed even without supernatural help. But then, Fosse was the driver of the bargain as well as its victim ... Mr. Wasson has taken complete control of his subject. His catalog of interviewees, which allows him to reconstruct events and conversations in real time, includes an astonishing number of Fosse\'s colleagues and confidants. And his writing style mediates between the authoritative and the hip ... This book knows its subject\'s loves and his friends and his needs and, ultimately, his despair
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalMr. Cohen quotes many people in his quest to peel away the legend of Billy Rose from the many contradictory truths, researching his subject on a vast scale—the endnotes run to 60 pages. But Mr. Cohen has a narrow agenda: He is interested less in the works of Rose than in the man himself. Thus we learn very little about the fascinating Jumbo, his musical in the form of a real-live circus with a wonderful Rodgers and Hart score ... this is no simple Horatio Alger tale of Ambition Rewarded. It is, rather, an ethnic parable, as we learn of Rose’s obsessive involvement in the American anti-Nazi movement and the foundation of Israel ... Mr. Cohen has a fascinating tale at his disposal, and he recounts it with relish. Then, too, he enjoys the advantage of a colorful cast of characters, including a circle of friends that runs from statesmen to gangsters while centering on Manhattan’s talent elite.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal...show[s] us how a form of popular entertainment is, at its best, a theater as nourished by ideas as Chekhov’s or Shaw’s.