Vintage, Paperback, 9780679727927, 480pp.
Publication Date: December 5, 2000
In Cole Porter, William McBrien has thoroughly captured the creator of these songs, whose life was one not only of wealth and privilege but also of tragedy, secrecy, and courage. A prodigal young man, Porter found his aesthetic and emotional anchor in a long, loving, if sexless marriage, while continuing to maintain many discreet affairs with men. In 1937, at the height of his success, he suffered a near-fatal riding accident; his last eighteen years were marked by pain, drugs, and repeated operations on his legs, years of physical agony but unstinting artistic achievement. Here is the book that Porter's fans have long hoped for a life that informs the great music and lyrics though illuminating glimpses of the hidden, complicated, private man.
"The definitive biography of the bon vivant who was the supreme master of sophisticated popular song." --The New York Times Book Review
"A fine biography. . . . It brings to our understanding . . . the ways that the contradictions and compulsions of [Porter's] life explain the emotional force and timelessness [of] the music." -- The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Thorough . . . fascinating. . . . Loaded with juicy gossip. [It] succeeds in evoking Porter's white-tie-and-orchids set [and] his active, if closeted, gay life in Manhattan and Hollywood." --People
"Read this book. . . . You will spend time with, and get to know, one of the great creative figures of the twentieth century." --Betty Comden, The New York Observer