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Cash: The Autobiography of Johnny Cash

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  15,866 Ratings  ·  586 Reviews

He was the "Man in Black," a country music legend, and the quintessential American troubadour. He was an icon of rugged individualism who had been to hell and back, telling the tale as never before. In his unforgettable autobiography, Johnny Cash tells the truth about the highs and lows, the struggles and hard-won triumphs, and the people who shaped him.

In his own words,

341 pages
Published 2000 by HarperCollins (first published 1997)
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Apr 10, 2017 Frankie rated it liked it
Shelves: famous-people, usa, 2017
Really enjoyed this.
Learned alot.
Jonathan Ashleigh
I read this book because the main character in High Fidelity says that it is his favorite book but I don't know how that could be true. Some of the stories in it were slightly interesting but there was no overall story and most of the book was listing off people Cash knew in his life. He describes his many properties and even tells of the hardships his children encountered trying to make it in the entertainment industry because of their famous father, neglecting the fact that they were given tre ...more
Tessa Rose
Jan 16, 2012 Tessa Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the movie High Fidelity, the main character is talking about the well-known books he has read and then concludes with, "But I have to say my all time favorite book is Johnny Cash's autobiography, Cash by Johnny Cash." This line in this movie is the sole reason I first decided to read this book. It captured me almost immediately as Cash describes growing up poor in the South and picking cotton. His life story is incredible and told with all the beauty and lyrical language that made him a great ...more
I usually find entertainer biographies sort of boring. I rarely read them, or if I do pick one up, it’s unlikely I’ll even finish it. That proved not to be the case with Johnny Cash’s autobiography, Cash. I’m guessing the book was probably organized and written by Patrick Carr, with Cash supplying the tapes. But Carr stays out of the way, and from page 1, it’s Cash’s voice that you hear. What a life! A lot of it I already knew, the drugs, the music, June Carter. And some I didn’t (a near fatal e ...more
Apr 22, 2008 Wade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, favorites
Basically this book is about as close as you’ll get to sitting on the back deck of Johnny Cash’s house at 8:00 in the morning, drinking a cup of coffee and hearing him tell a bunch of stories. The book is not chronological, and it doesn’t even fit into any logical order. But, somehow the stories all connect to one another and give the book this perfect flow. It’s like when he finishes telling one story that will somehow remind him of something else so he just starts talking about that for a whil ...more
Jul 01, 2012 Kelsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Johnny Cash is perceptive, genuine, candid, and driven in his writing. He lived some CRAZY stories. Drugs, travel, concerts, near death experiences, family, and redemption woven through it all. Despite the fact that this man was plenty wealthy throughout his career, he seemed to always stay focused on what mattered and kept his heart and head level. He owned several homes but at the end of the day cherished walking barefoot at his farmhouse in Tennessee, sitting on the porch in the quiet evening ...more
Feb 14, 2013 J. rated it really liked it
It's an understatement to say that Johnny Cash had a well lived in life. He was a mad dog, music star, son of a gun but also a down to earth, spiritual, deep thinker.

The first part of the book gives us a brief introduction, Cash is in Jamaica writing the start of the book, he then starts the story proper, detailing his early life growing up on his fathers farm picking cotton in the fields, a bereavement that changed his life and his time in Germany with the U.S airforce intercepting Russian comm
May 03, 2009 El rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: The movie, High Fidelity.
The thing about a lot of memoirs written by celebrities in their later years is that they're given a lot of leeway to... ramble. Johnny Cash was no exception, and let's be honest - it's Johnny Cash. Who in their right mind would tell him, "Hey, why don't you reign it in a little, huh buddy?" That was never going to happen. So Cash wrote about his life, and sometimes it made sense and sometimes it made something a little shy of sense, but it's still his memoir. And he deserved the chance to tell ...more
Adam Siegel
Aug 06, 2007 Adam Siegel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This isnt one of those ghostwritten autobiographies. Neither is it some crazy tell all, get the skeletons out of the closet, woe is me story.

This is exactly what it says: Cash by Johnny Cash. It's the Man In Black telling his own story. In his own voice.

He tells you how to pick cotton, the real story of blue suede shoes, what it feels like to dig imaginary spiders out of your own skin, and why he painted the windows on his camper black. Answer: so he could sleep during the day when he was high
May 11, 2012 Adi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like even one of his songs, this book is worth reading. If you don't like any of his songs, shame on you.
Matthew Richmond
May 15, 2013 Matthew Richmond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I watched The Band's Levon Helm describe in Martin Scorsese's classic 'The Last Waltz' with such effervescence and longing about Cotton Country, Memphis and the Melting Pot, I wanted to know more about what he was talking about. Then I remembered, Johnny Cash lived in the Cotton fields.

This was an engrossing read. Johnny pours out his soul. It's his voice all the way through. His vivid descriptions of nature's allure, his recollections of Jamaica and that terrible robbery, Elvis, Jer
Rowland Bismark
Ever since the character played by John Cusak in the movie High Fidelity listed "Cash by Johnny Cash" as his number one book I knew I would have to read it. I sure didn't hurt that I loved this movie a whole lot. The book proved not to be my number one favorite but certainly was an eye opener and a fast fun book in many respects.

Cash is pretty easy to read, straightforward, honest and informative. His life story is definitely worthy of a book (or two). From very humble beginnings to the top bac
James Hartley
Dec 29, 2016 James Hartley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read, written in a melancholy, nostalgic tone, from the present, looking to the past. Cash is the real deal - or was the real deal - someone who grew up in the south, picked cotton, heard and wrote songs, sung with Elvis at Sun, popped more pills than anyone, found and lost and found God, and blew in and out of fashion.

My favourite story was the one where he and his wife June were in New York City walking about on a Sunday and decided, on a whim, to go into a church they were passing. Whe
Apr 11, 2011 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Given the hype surrounding Johnny Cash for the previous 7 or 8 years, I had sort of reached a saturation point, where I just didn't need any more. I had loved his music for a long time, appreciated the man and the voice he had, but didn't need much else. Someone bought me this for Christmas, and it was one of the most moving things I had ever read. He is honest, humble, and most importantly, contemplative about his life and what it means. It changed dramatically the way I felt and thought about ...more
D.J. O'Donnell
Mar 17, 2008 D.J. O'Donnell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ostrich wounds and flying hospitals. 'Nuff said.
Sep 22, 2013 Rinn rated it it was amazing
A brilliant story of a brilliant man.
Dec 02, 2013 Jaime rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would give it three and a half if that was an option.

This is worth reading for the amazing sentences scattered throughout. The first sentence -- "My line comes down from Queen Ada, the sister of Malcolm IV, descended from King Duff, the first King of Scotland." That is pretty wonderful.

In the extras for one of my favorite films, the director talks about trying to cast a certain character, and how the challenge was wrestling with the fact that the person was born into a fascist state of sorts wit
I asked Jaime if it was right to listen to pop country while finishing Cash by Cash, and then J.R lobbed a compliment to Trisha Yearwood on the last page....which is exactly how generous this book is. 4 stars when he's talking about the things he loves (June, old friends, homes, faith, Nickajack Cave, pills, Dolly Parton, study) or regrets (Vivian, absence, addiction).

On June:

"She's the easiest woman in the world for me to live with, I guess because I know her so well, and she knows me so well,
Jun 03, 2014 Kasia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Życie Casha to na pewno wspaniały materiał na książkę. Nie jestem fanem, jednak podziwiam go jako artystę i jestem pełna uzania za jego wkład w rozwój muzyki. Oczywiście najbadziej lubimy te kawałki, które dobrze znamy, czyli dla mnie wciagające były fragmenty skupiające się na początkach jego kariery, gdy nagrywał dla the Sun, jeżdził w trasy z Elvisem czy Jerrym Lee Lewisem, uzależnił się od narkotyków, poznał June Carter i wytrzeźwiał, nagrał Folsom Prison Blues, a także o okolicznociach pows ...more
Phil Gould
Aug 01, 2016 Phil Gould rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a musician, I love to read about the artists who recorded the songs that I do in my performances. "Folsom Prison Blues" is a frequent request but my favorite Johnny Cash song is "I Still Miss Someone". The Man in Black led a very interesting life and I learned a lot of details I did not know before reading this book - his childhood, his drug problem, his home in Jamaica (where he was robbed at gunpoint during a home invasion), his children, his many friends in the music industry, and the fact ...more
Joe Rodeck
*Memoirs* would be more accurate. Johnny Cash uses most of these pages to praise friends and family. However, it's much too superficial; for example, to say I saw Linda Ronstadt and the whole crowd loved her . . . I'm not sure he even met the singer.

He does get into his life long battle with pills: amphetamines and pain killers. But was there a rock bottom? a brush with death? No depth! I took these pills and those pills . . . .

Where is the "My fault?" No explanation for the divorce of his f
Gabriel Olmeda
For some reason this book took me awhile to read. Maybe it was because Johnny Cash is verbose or maybe because he had a lot of interesting events in his life. This book was interesting, Cash is still an American icon and one of my favorite artists, but I did not feel the writing was up to par compared to his lyrics.

There were some captivating stories about his childhood in the country, his brother dying to his addiction with drugs (starting a forest fire and getting in a fight with an ostrich)
Feb 03, 2008 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Johnny Cash, but if you are going to read an autobiography of his read “Man in Black.” This one has a little to much about Jesus in it and he too often starts on a good subject but then says I wont go into that because I covered it in my first autobiography.

Favorite Quote (paraphrase): “the biggest difference I can see about being on the road today vs. when I started is that now The Colonel has Extra Crispy.”
Jul 03, 2015 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
Being a Johnny Cash fan already I spotted this book while shopping and had to pick it up. I enjoyed it from start to finish. Cash had so many interesting stories to tell, from tragedy, his addiction to drugs, to his fame and meeting his wife June. This autobiography gives such an amazing insight to Johnny's life from his childhood on the cotton field to his staggering career in music. Even if you aren't a fan of Johnny Cash I would recommend this book because it's such an inspiring and heartwarm ...more
Charles Willis
Sep 15, 2007 Charles Willis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who only saw 'i walk the line'
probably the best book i ever read. better than the bible, and i've never even read that! plus, and not that it's preachy, i almost believe in god after reading this. take that bible (which i've never even read)!!
Kelly Lawson
I'd like to give this 3.5 stars. There are some spectacular passages, and stories that brought me to tears. But it fizzled out a bit in the second half and got a little rambly. But most definitely worth reading.
Aug 07, 2014 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of the book had me engrossed. Wildly entertaining anecdotes mixed with insightful reflections on life and faith. It waned slightly towards the end but I think that was due more to my ignorance of country music than the book itself.
Mar 10, 2015 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let grampa Cash sit you down and ramble on about his admittedly exciting life. There are plenty of interesting anecdotes throughout this autobiography couched in understated tales of the fiery deaths of country music performers. Needless to say, I enjoyed it!
Johnny Cash has been a favorite performer of mine for many years. Here he tells about his own demons and how there was hardly a person alive that he had any issues with. Everybody's wonderful.
Jun 20, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Man in Black never disappoints. Very illuminating.
He wrote books like he wrote songs, with a painterly narrative that
makes you feel like you are the only one in the room.
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Johnny Cash, born J. R. Cash, also known as "The Man in Black", was a multiple Grammy Award-winning American country singer-songwriter. Cash is widely considered to be one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century.

Cash was known for his deep, distinctive voice, his trademark dark clothing which earned him his nickname, the boom-chick-a-boom or "freight train" sound of his Tenn
More about Johnny Cash...

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“There's no way around grief and loss: you can dodge all you want, but sooner or later you just have to go into it, through it, and, hopefully, come out the other side. The world you find there will never be the same as the world you left.” 79 likes
“They're powerful, those songs. At times they've been my only way back, the only door out of the dark, bad places the black dog calls home.” 43 likes
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