excellent so much you d never know without this read all the names you know and stories about them dealing with ethel, working with ethel and loving ethel are a treat a talented, tough, dedicated and loyal human being and top notch star a one of a kind read about a one of a kind woman it is a keeper and a gift to enjoy than once you enjoy, too. The author is not afraid to quote previous biographies and autobiographies of Ethel, but the amount of research he has done personally is quite amazing There are quotes from reviews of virtually every show or performance as well as numerous quotes from friends and fellow actors, directors, choreographers, stage managers, and chorus girls and guys A very enjoyable read, I highly recommend it. As someone with only a superficial knowledge of Ethel Merman and her place in the American musical theater, this book was a revelation It s not only a fascinating and lively portrait of this one of a kind show biz icon, the book also provides some terrific insight into how the Broadway musical evolved with the ever changing currents of American culture.Kellow wisely avoids the biographer s temptation to write an authoritative version of his subject s life He avoids the pitfalls of the academic tome and instead offers the reader a vivid portrait of Merman s professional triumphs and personal failures Kellow sketches the arc of Merman s life through vivid anecdotes, the memories of those who knew her, and, most importantly, through Merman s own words For me, the latter was the most enlightening and entertaining Bossy, brassy, sharp tongued and often vulgar, Merman was at heart a kid from Queens who, Kellow reminds us, despite her success and the circles she ran in, would never be accused of pretentious affectation.And to me, that s the real joy of this book Kellow lets us see Merman warts and all This is certainly no hagiography, but Kellow clearly has affection and respect for this legend of the musical theatre His prose is vibrant and evocative as he deftly shows the reader how Merman owned the stage like no one before or since And Kellow doesn t sentimentalize Merman s ill fortune offstage In the end, Merman was incapable of being anything but the persona she had created, and in the end, that was all she was left with Kellow understands that this is the heart of the Merman story the monumental achievements onstage and the disappointments, betrayals and tragedies of her life offstage.Finally, I have to say that there were many hilarious moments in this book Kellow deftly lets these moments play without embellishment Often it s Merman in her own words who provides the laughs But any book about Merman would have to include the incredible number of show biz legends she either knew or worked with Many of these moments are terrific but one bit in particular concerning a moment onstage between a young Betty Grable and the incomparable Bert Lahr nearly caused me to crack a rib with laughter.This book is a real page turner and not just for people with an interest in Merman or the American musical theater You don t need to be a Merman fan or a Broadway fan to thoroughly enjoy this compelling portrait of a time when American power and American culture were ascendant and Ethel Merman was the confident voice of a nation hitting its stride. I ve read three of Mr Kellows biographies, so I feel I can speak from an informed perspective His writing is intelligent, introspective and thoroughly researched He writes, not to the lowest common demominator in the reading public, but rather to bright, educated people who want something than mind candy or brain fluff.I ve always bought a biography because of the subject, not the author Well, I can say whole heartedly that I shall be looking for the next book, regardlesss of subject, by this talented writer. This is a must read for any Broadway Musical fan or historian It makes clear that Ethel Merman was an amazing talent, consummate perfectionist, and flat out miserable human being.Fascinating WARNING NO PHOTOS IN KINDLE VERSION.The book is enjoyable I wish I had had a chance to see Ethel Merman in person Great stories about her life and Broadway.The lack of photos in the Kindle version is just so frustrating no warning That s not right. Nicely written Bio Kellows chronology is dishy and seamless he understands the dynamics of the theater world and makes you feel the exhilaration of an evolving hit and the frustrations inherent in working with a performer like Merman The New York Times Book Review Kellow has painted a vivid portrait of a Broadway diva who shone brighter and sang louder than anyone else The Washington Post BookWorldMore than twenty years after her death, Ethel Merman continues to set the standard for American musical theater The stories about the supremely talented, famously strong willed, fearsomely blunt, and terrifyingly exacting woman are stuff of legend But who was Ethel Agnes Zimmermann, really Brian Kellows definitive biography of the great Merman is superb, and the first account to examine both the artist and the woman with as much critical rigor as empathy Through dozens of interviews with her colleagues, friends, and family members, Kellow author of Can I Go Now The Life of Sue Mengers, Hollywoods First Superagent traces the arc of her life and her thirty year singing career to reveal many surprising facts about Broadways biggest star As an oldtimer 77 I was always in awe of Merman s extraordinary powerful voice I did meet the lady once, and became a bigger fan This book is a wonderful record of her life It has great detail, is kindly to her we read how demanding she could be, but rightly so I loved every page of the book, and also it has some interesting facts about the shows she starred in I can highly reccomend this book to anyone who was a fan of Ethel Unfortunately you have to be a Senior to appreciate her story I loved it. Still in the middle of its reading I m enjoying getting to know about Ms Merman and the Era of Broadway musicals.