Gene Santoro

Horatio Alger had nothing on Benny Goodman. Ross Firestone’s solid new biography, Swing, Swing, Swing: The Life & Times of Benny Goodman, captures the luck and pluck that took the brilliant clarinetist from his dirt-poor Chicago origins to his 1935 coronation as the King of Swing. Thanks to his crown, Goodman made a great deal of money, married a Vanderbilt, and got roomfuls of awards and honors. But haunted by his early poverty and goaded by perfectionism, he never stopped pushing himself and those around him.

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