Picks and Pans Review: Liberace

updated 03/14/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/14/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Bob Thomas

By any measure a show-business phenomenon (he was receiving 6,000 fan letters a week at one point) and by all accounts a likable fellow, the curious legend that was Liberace will one day give rise, no doubt, to a book that is instructive, entertaining and readable. This one, unfortunately, is none of those. Merely a recycling of old information, it languishes in that literary no-man's-land where journalism collides with hagiography, offering nothing new, least of all insight: "He had devoted a lifetime—all his waking hours—to the Magic of Believing." Thomas, a veteran Associated Press reporter in Hollywood, is the author of some 20 books of this kind, though none could be more disposable than this one. While Liberace was not everyone's idea of great entertainment, he was, from his birth in West Allis, Wis., in 1919, to his AIDS-related death last year in Palm Springs, a biographer's dream. Someone should write a book about him sometime. (St. Martin's, $18.95)

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