The publisher Little, Brown recently announced a November 13, 2018 publication date for Gary Giddins’ Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940-1946, the second volume of the author’s definitive account of Crosby, the enormously popular 20th century entertainer he describes as “quintessentially American, cool and upbeat, never pompous, belligerent, or saccharine, never smug or superior. He looked down on no one and up to no one.”
Giddins, the most eminent critic of his generation as author of the “Weather Bird” jazz column in the Village Voice for over 30 years, has received many honors, among them the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award, and the Bell Atlantic Award for Visions of Jazz: The First Century in 1998. His other books include the first volume of the Crosby biography, Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams-The Early Years, 1930-1940 (which won the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award and the ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Sound Research), as well as (among others) Weatherbird: Jazz at the Dawn of Its Second Century; Faces in the Crowd; Natural Selection; Warning Shadows: Home Alone with Classic Cinema; and biographies of Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. He has won six ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Peabody Award in Broadcasting. He was also a frequent contributor to Jerry Jazz Musician, in which he took part in a dozen “Conversations with Gary Giddins,” including one on Crosby.
This book has been long-anticipated by those interested in Crosby’s life, but also for fans of Giddins’ rich, informed, elegant and entertaining intellect. According to Little, Brown, Swinging on a Star “focuses on Crosby’s most memorable period, the war years and the origin story of White Christmas. Set against the backdrop of a Europe on the brink of collapse, this groundbreaking work traces Crosby’s skyrocketing career as he fully inhabits a new era of American entertainment and culture. While he would go on to reshape both popular music and cinema more comprehensively than any other artist, Crosby’s legacy would be forever intertwined with his impact on the home front, a unifying voice for a nation at war. Over a decade in the making and drawing on hundreds of interviews and unprecedented access to numerous archives, Giddins brings Bing Crosby, his work, and his world to vivid life–firmly reclaiming Crosby’s central role in American cultural history.”
Bing Crosby, 1942