CASH by Johnny Cash

CASH

The Autobiography

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A humble, happy look back from the man in black. Johnny Cash answers to many names; he's JR to childhood friends and family, John to bandmates, and Johnny to fans. ``Cash'' is the name wife June Carter reserves for ``the star, the egomaniac.'' The star gets plenty of ink here, from the early days at Sun Records--with Elvis, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis--to his current status as a darling of the alternative rock set. But it's the private man who's most compelling and surprisingly complex. Cash writes candidly of his recurring addiction to amphetamines and his concomitant shortcomings as a father, addresses his spirituality without sounding maudlin, and displays genuine humility at his success and very little bitterness at his abandonment by the country music establishment. A more accurate subtitle might be ``The Second Autobiography,'' since this volume covers some of the same ground as Cash's previous work, The Man in Black (1986), but a life so chock full of oddments (he once started a forest fire with an automobile and on another occasion was nearly disemboweled by an ostrich) and renegade stands (he opposed Vietnam, heresy to the nation's blue- collar constituency) easily merits a second look. Organized around the domiciles where he divides his time--homes in Tennessee, Florida, and Jamaica, as well as his tour bus--the book stays grounded in the present, mixing reflections on his 40-year career with a running chronicle of an ongoing tour. This novel approach minimizes the as-told-to blahs that plague many a celebrity autobiography and highlights Cash's wry humor and introspection. With the help of Carr, editor of Country Music magazine, Cash keeps the pace lively until the end, when the roses he throws everyone from grandkids to music biz buddies bog things down. Mostly, though, a pungent, substantive autobiography from one the most iconoclastic talents on the American music scene. (32 pages b&w photos, not seen) ($200,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-06-251500-4
Page count: 310pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997




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