“A Hell of A Life”

Marva Griffin Carter

in Swing Along

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195108910
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865796 | DOI:
                   “A Hell of A Life”

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This chapter discusses the life of Will Cook during his latter years. It narrates that Will died on July 24, 1944 at the age of 75, after battling against several diseases such as tuberculosis, pancreatic cancer, and a heart condition. It discusses that Will Cook began to write his autobiography, A Hell of a Life, during his latter years. It explains that his autobiography shows that he recognized that his shortcomings in life were not brought by his complexion, but rather by his uncontrollable actions or reactions to the real or imagined wrongs. This chapter also tells of several versions of the story why Cook did not pursue his career as a violinist. It highlights that history is indebted to this troubled man of genius for pioneering black musical comedies, syncopated orchestra achievements, and uncompromising fight for racial equality.

Keywords: heart condition; tuberculosis; pancreatic cancer; A Hell of a Life; autobiography; violinist

Chapter.  3550 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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