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Swing AlongThe Musical Life of Will Marion Cook$
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Marva Carter

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195108910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195108910.001.0001

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“A Hell of A Life”

“A Hell of A Life”

(p.107) Chapter 11 “A Hell of A Life”
Swing Along

Marva Griffin Carter

Oxford University Press

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

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