Kaplan’s book turns out to be, to continue in the old reviewers’ language, hugely readable, vastly entertaining, a page-turner, and all the rest. But it’s also interesting as a fine instance of a strikingly newish kind of thing: the serious and even scholarly biography of a much gossiped-over pop figure, where the old Kitty Kelley-style scandal-sheet bio is turned into a properly documented and footnoted study that nonetheless trades on, or at least doesn’t exclude, the sensational bits.
In Sinatra—some 25 percent longer than Frank—Kaplan loses the 'genius and great artist' ordering principle and offers a picaresque biography, with the slackness that adjective implies...[W]e move on to the next episode. Then the next. The result is useful as a reference work for all things Sinatra, not so much as a book even Sinatra enthusiasts would relish reading all the way through.