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Sing for Your Life
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About the Author

Daniel Bergner is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and the author of a novel, Moments of Favor, and four books of nonfiction: What Do Women Want?, The Other Side of Desire, In the Land of the Magic Soldiers, and God of the Rodeo. In the Land of Magic Soldiers received an Overseas Press Club Award for international reporting and a Lettre-Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage and was named a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. God of the Rodeo was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. In addition to the New York Times Magazine, Daniel's writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Granta, Harper's, Mother Jones, Talk, and the New York Times Book Review, and on the op-ed page of the New York Times. His writing is included in The Norton Reader: An Anthology of Nonfiction.

Reviews

"Shatters many of our most cherished myths about desire." "The Atlantic"" "Fascinating... Threatens to disrupt all the modern stereotypes of female sexuality." "Slate"" "Totally engrossing." "New York"" "One of the summer's hottest books... adds both steam and explosives into the national conversation about what it means to be a woman today." "Vogue"" "Bergner neither sentimentalizes nor demonizes these men, neither judges nor approves; he just paints them as they are and in so doing delivers an astonishing lesson in sympathy." "Men's Journal"" "Astonishing, unsettling...a remarkable book, full of piercing images and brilliantly observed details." "Chicago Tribune"" "A rare book indeed...Bergner's journey is arduous, dangerous, and brave-a journey in which author and reader are irrevocably changed." "Sunday Times of London"" "Sing For Your Life is certain to be billed as a book about race. And it is that, and also a book about art and hope and resilience. But this is not a book about abstractions. It's a story that is suspenseful in the deepest sense, and very moving - a story about a fascinating human being. I am grateful to Mr. Bergner for having introduced me to him." "-Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Soul of a New Machine" and "Mountains Beyond Mountains""" "Sing for Your Life is a generous book, filled with complicated, compassionate characters, written with great journalistic skill but also empathy. The passages on opera read like superb sports writing. The passages on family illuminate the deeper reaches of identity, race, judgment -- and love. To read the story of Ryan Speedo Green is to be troubled, confused, heartbroken, thrilled, hopeful, proud, and ultimately, perhaps, changed." "Jeff Hobbs, author of New York Times bestseller "The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace""" "A true-life rags-to-Wagner story." O, The Oprah Magazine " "Bergner brings Green and [his] mentors to vivid, heroic life.... Bergner's inspirational biography has instant appeal, and, with the added attention to vocal techniques and rehearsals, readers with an interest in music will be especially rewarded." Booklist" "Gripping and inspiring...Bergner chronicles the auditions and vocal contests as the struggles Green faces as a black man entering a musical world that is mostly white, delivering a moving portrait of a young man who succeeds, along with the help of encouraging teachers." Publishers Weekly, starred review " "A masterly crafted and unique portrait...While fans of opera will find this to be a captivating biography of one of the most decorated bass baritones, this highly recommended narrative is also about a man who conquers his personal demons and limitations to break racial barriers in one of the oldest cultural institutions in the world." Library Journal (starred review)" "Sing for Your Life is absolutely riveting. Any rise to stardom in the daunting world of opera is bound to be dramatic, but Ryan Speedo Green's story is harrowing and rewarding in unexpected ways. From the first line, Daniel Bergner sets preconceptions about race, class, and "high" culture against a breathtakingly candid narrative of a young man's struggle, not just to conquer the Olympic challenges of singing opera, but also to see beyond violence and adversity to a life in music." Renee Fleming " "In Ryan Speedo Green we see a microcosm of American's own struggle to throw off the shackles of our troubled racial legacy... His story, expertly told by Daniel Bergner, is proof of the possibility of all of our redemption." Joy-Ann Reid, National Correspondent for MSNBC and author of Fracture " "Bergner chronicles the auditions and vocal contests as the struggles Green faces as a black man entering a musical world that is mostly white, delivering a moving portrait of a young man who succeeds, along with the help of encouraging teachers." Publishers Weekly, starred review " "In Sing For Your Life, Daniel Bergner beautifully tells the story of what it means for a young man to, quite literally, find his voice. In this chronicle of the life of Ryan Speedo Green, we see how a young black man can rise, and hold onto hope, despite all the forces working against him. We see how a young black man can sing for his life and find triumph in the most unexpected of places." Roxane Gay, author of the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist and An Untamed State " "A thrilling and authentic work of art, this is the unlikeliest of portraits of an artist who against-all-odds rises from the ashes of rural black poverty, a broken home, child abuse and the edges of madness to vault to the threshold of opera stardom." Peter Gelb, General Manager, Metropolitan Opera " "A masterly crafted and unique portrait of adulthood ...While fans of opera will find this to be a captivating biography of one of the most decorated bass baritones, this highly recommended narrative is also about a man who conquers his personal demons and limitations to break racial barriers in one of the oldest cultural institutions in the world." Library Journal (starred review)" "Daniel Bergner writes from the heart. Night after night, I stayed up late reading, entranced by this tender, unflinchingly honest, beautifully told story. Ryan Speedo Green. His voice, his journey, his exuberance will stay with me." Alex Kotlowitz, author of National Bestseller There Are No Children Here" "Sing for Your Life is a generous book, filled with complicated, compassionate characters, written with great journalistic skill but also empathy. The passages on opera read like superb sports writing. The passages on family illuminate the deeper reaches of identity, race, judgment -- and love. To read the story of Ryan Speedo Green is to be troubled, confused, heartbroken, thrilled, hopeful, proud, and ultimately, perhaps, changed." Jeff Hobbs, author of New York Times bestseller The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace" "Sing For Your Life is certain to be billed as a book about race. And it is that, and also a book about art and hope and resilience. But this is not a book about abstractions. It's a story that is suspenseful in the deepest sense, and very moving - a story about a fascinating human being. I am grateful to Mr. Bergner for having introduced me to him." -Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Soul of a New Machine and Mountains Beyond Mountains" "SING FOR YOUR LIFE is about the hard legacy of history and family, and its transcendence through art. This book is Daniel Bergner's masterpiece and puts him at the top of American literary journalism." George Packer, National Book Award-winning author of The Assassins' Gate and The Unwinding" ""Sing for Your Life" is absolutely riveting. Any rise to stardom in the daunting world of opera is bound to be dramatic, but Ryan Speedo Green's story is harrowing and rewarding in unexpected ways. From the first line, Daniel Bergner sets preconceptions about race, class, and "high" culture against a breathtakingly candid narrative of a young man's struggle, not just to conquer the Olympic challenges of singing opera, but also to see beyond violence and adversity to a life in music." "Renee Fleming "" PRAISE FOR IN THE LAND OF MAGIC SOLDIERS "Beautifully written...Bergner describes what is magical and what is malign in Africa as well as anyone ever has...A great novelist would be hard pressed to invent such a cast of characters." "Los Angeles Times"" PRAISE FOR GOD OF THE RODEO "Chilling and heartbreaking...A vivid, ambitious, and ferociously reported book that reads like a novel." "New York Times Book Review"" PRAISE FOR WHAT DO WOMEN WANT? "This book -- how do I put this without sounding hyperbolic? This book should be read by every woman on earth. ... It is a must-read for any person with even a remote erotic interest in the female gender." "Salon""

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