“OPERACION SINATRA” E-Book

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“Operación Sinatra” E-Book (Diego Mancusi and Sebastián Grandi, Editorial Aguilar, 2018)

By Mahnuel Muñoz

Journalists Diego Mancusi and Sebastián Grandi invite us to participate in the epic of Frank Sinatra’s arrival in Argentina in 1981, to give a series of concerts at the Sheraton Hotel (for wealthy elites, with sky-high tickets) and the legendary Luna Park (At a price more accessible to mortals); An operation is revealed to us with the infrastructure of a head of state, with the grotesque backdrop of the military dictatorship and a severe economic crisis drowning the nation. The story takes us from the purely artistic issue to another less known but no less fascinating one: Sinatra’s role as a CIA agent to transmit a mysterious message from the White House to the Argentine dictator… A plot worthy of a film or documentary.

The lines show the elbowing between characters eager to organize the event, and make a profit, and dotted with the fights for preponderance between the artist Palito Ortega and the businessman Ricardo Finkel, those most responsible for the stay of the Voice in Argentina. The concerts meant a serious economic disaster for both characters and polarized public opinion, but they represented an unforgettable milestone for those directly involved and for millions of Argentines.

Obviously, they cannot miss the well-known reference to Frank’s relations with the mafia and even with the drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, giving a twist to the dark side of the singer, as important for many as his acting ability.

But we are also told of Sinatra’s immense charisma, both on stage and at close range, and of his sense of loyalty and gratitude to Palito Ortega and Ricardo Finkel after the concerts, with lifelong ties and support from Frank and his family.

If I have to find flaws, I will cite some inaccuracies – of little importance to the story being told – when talking about records and songs.

It is a recommendable book, well documented, entertaining, that brings a new vein to the unfathomable dimension of Frank Sinatra and also, in my case, has managed to awaken my interest in knowing more about the horrible dictatorship that Argentina suffered. And most importantly, it keeps our Frank’s name alive in this “bad time.”

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