Book Review: Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hillburn

BookReviewsJohnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn

Publish Date: October 29th 2013

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1600108_10152164384975908_207743490_nThe definitive, intimate, no-holds-barred biography of Johnny Cash

People don’t just listen to Johnny Cash–they believe in him.

Although part of his life has been told on film, there are many compelling layers to his story that have remained hidden–until now. Robert Hilburn tells the unvarnished truth about a musical icon whose personal life was far more troubled and his artistry much more profound than even his most devoted fans have realized. As music critic for the Los Angeles Times, Hilburn knew Cash well throughout his life–he was the only music journalist at the legendary Folsom Prison concert in 1968, and he interviewed him extensively just before Cash’s death in 2003. Drawing upon his personal experience with Cash and a trove of never-before seen material from the singer’s inner circle, Hilburn gives us a compelling, human portrait of one of the most iconic figures in modern popular culture–not only a towering figure in country music, but also a seminal influence in rock.

1600167_10152164384800908_58508561_nI will always be a fan of Johnny Cash. From watching biographies, interviews—whatever I have gotten my hands on, I know his life was trouble. A far cry from being picture perfect. I absolutely loved this book. It was crude, it was harsh, it was ugly—it was everything that the life of Johnny Cash was. It is painful, sad and beautiful.

This has been the most accurate book I have read on The Man In Black. Truths are revealed that fans may have never wanted to know about. I like the exposure. It weeds the ‘fake fans’ away. If you admire someone, you admire them flaws and all. This book does intensify many of Cash’ flaws, but it also reveals the story and triggers behind them.tumblr_m53cnt1yJK1r47g1yo1_400

This was a very raw and emotional read. At times it felt like you were listening in on a conversation between June and John.  As always, I hate adding spoilers to reviews; but this doesn’t really count as a spoiler. I find it so funny that Cash hated Elvis. He found letters Elvis had written to June and burned them in rage. Imagine if that feud happened in this generation? Cash Vs. Elvis! Wow—is the only word that sums up my thoughts on that one.

If only a film had been created about THIS John, the true Cash. Everyone focuses on Walk The Line, but that was only a tidbit of his life, that was nothing of who he was…If only the world could learn his story.

Maybe in time. Legends never die. I am certain the next generation will have films about Cash.

Final thoughts?

Fantastic. This is a well-written chronicle of the life and the journey that embodied the life of Johnny Cash. In October 2012 I interviewed Casey Orr of GWAR and Ministry and the topic of Johnny Cash came up. Casey stated, “Johnny Cash was the original punk. He was the badass of country music. He paved the way for punk, for rock, he influenced every genre of music.”

Thank you, Hachette Book Group for the review copy.johnny-cash

About Lisa Lunney

A Canadian gal that firmly believes words can change the world. An avid reader, writer and Autumn/Winter lover. She excels at communications and writes for pleasure and profession.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Author Interviews & More!, Music and Entertainment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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