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.
More generous words:
I listened to that stark unrelenting country as a kid. He was a hero of mine. I met him, finally, in a john at the Waldorf Astoria. He was taking a pee and I broke out into "Loading Coal." We both zipped up and sung the final chorus together. One of my most cherished moments. You don't get much closer than that. Hilburn has written a brilliant story about an even more brilliant songwriter, warts and all.
Johnny Cash was a man both extraordinary and ordinary. Every man could relate to him, no man could be him, and only one man could get inside his head like Robert Hilburn.
Robert Hilburn displays a deeply felt affinity with his subject, illuminating Johnny Cash as the moral compass of country music.
Between his love of music, his experience as one of the nation's leading music critics, and his long personal friendship with the subject, there is no one on earth more qualified to write this definitive book on the roller-coaster life of Johnny Cash than Robert Hilburn. Between the amount of research and the degree of detail he's put into this book, even Johnny would have learned something about himself if he were here to read it. Highly recommended!
Johnny Cash and Robert Hilburn are two of the true blessings of my life. Both the best at what they do and each a gifted artist. It's a killer combination.
Praise for "Johnny Cash: