Yes I Can is, first, the story of a remarkable entertainer as told to his close friends, Jane and Burt Boyar, in the 1960’s. It is also a frank, painful and intimate exposé of racism as it existed during the lifetime of Sammy Davis, Jr. as well as an insider’s look at the day-to-day lives of the brightest luminaries in show business.
The twenty-first century reader who is sufficiently padded with years will recall with dismay the days of institutionalized segregation. Although it has diminished, racism has by no means vanished and it may well be resurging in our society that is increasingly diverse and polarized. Sammy Davis speaks personally and honestly of the racial attacks coming at him from both white and black societies, beginning with his childhood in Harlem through the Civil Rights era when he was one of the most loved and highest paid entertainers in the world.
Burt Boyar’s uncanny excellence as a writer leaves one marveling at how any author is able to capture such depth of emotion using another man’s voice. Yes I Can is told as much in Sammy Davis’ hip lingo of the Jazz Era as in his extremely articulate English that belies his total lack of formal education. This is a fast-paced story that takes no prisoners and challenges the reader to keep up as the pages fly and insights unfold into the life of a performer without equal.
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