"Johnny Cash: The Life"
Robert Hilburn's new biography…gives us a thorough and thoughtful portrait of the Man in Black and a deep appreciation of his artistry…Mr. Hilburn writes most powerfully about Cash's trajectory as an artist—about his place in a changing country music scene, the evolution of individual songs and the eclectic influences on his work…[Hilburn's] writing is as authoritative as it's engaging when he's discussing the singer-songwriter's music. He deals out a stack of sharp-edged snapshots of Cash's friends and colleagues…And he leaves us with a visceral feel for the grueling demands of life on the road…
-- Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
A comprehensive and thoughtful biography, cognizant always of how hard it is for heroes to make it in America.... Hilburn does an artful, enviable job of reconciling all the facets [of Cash]...[and] writes with a remarkably steady hand...JOHNNY CASH is measured and mindful, allowing of all the paradoxical bits that constitute a human life.
-– Amanda Petrusich, Los Angeles Times
AND click for a NY Times Q & A.
Lovely words from Rosanne Cash:
It's a rare gift to be given the opportunity to step far back from the confusing miasma of one's own childhood to see the entire soaring arc of a parent's life, and to be able to look clear-eyed at the puzzle of his character and the kaleidoscope of pain and beauty.
This is the breathtaking gift Robert Hilburn has given me in a definitive biography of my father that is excruciatingly honest, rigorously researched, and has the depth and integrity that his subject demands.
I had to take many breaks while reading this book to assimilate all the stories I knew, but had never put in a narrative context, being claustrophobically close to not only the events themselves but the resonance of those events. I felt dizzy from the sense of time travel and from the odd notion that Hilburn's masterful organization of the paradoxes and the fullness of who Johnny Cash was--and is--satisfies not only my father's family and fans, but himself as well.
To those who fiercely cling to a one-dimensional view of my father to satisfy their own ideals--dark or light, saint or sinner, right or left--I challenge them to read this book and begin to understand a far, far more interesting and complex man: a truly great, visionary artist, a deeply flawed human being capable of experiencing inconceivable amounts of both love and pain, and a huge spirit who now belongs to the ages.
Praise for "Johnny Cash: