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Cash: An Autobiography

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,401 Ratings  ·  535 Reviews
He is the only entertainer in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame: a distinction befitting a man who sang with Elvis in the '50s and with U2 in 1995. From his wild years of addiction to his loving faith in Christ, Johnny Cash embodies contradiction. Now, in an extraordinary autobiography, "the man in black" cele ...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published October 14th 1997 by HarperOne (first published 1997)
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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
Jul 17, 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
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
May 14, 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
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
Adam Siegel
Sep 19, 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
Richard Ward
Mar 05, 2015 Richard Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Johnny Cash or of classic country music.
My 3 favorite country music singers of all time are Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., and Merle Haggard. So of course I loved Cash's second autobiography. (The first is Man In Black and was published in 1975.) Cash is not a true autobiography, though, but instead is a collection of memoirs written in a stream of consciousness style. He wrote the first chapter in Jamaica, and so in that chapter he writes about the parts of his life that Jamaica reminds him of. The second chapter he wrote on a tour ...more
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
Matthew Richmond
May 16, 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
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
Aug 20, 2015 Kissmekate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Er war einer der ganz Großen im amerikanischen Musikbusiness, nahm unzählige Platten auf und setzte einige Meilensteine in der Musikgeschichte, nicht zuletzt durch seine Auftritte in den Gefängnissen von Folsom und San Quentin. Johnny Cash dürfte so ziemlich jedem ein Begriff sein, der sich mit Musik beschäftigt, und sei es nur durch das untötbare "Ring of Fire". Wer aber ist der Mensch, der hinter der markanten Stimme und den eingängigen Songs steckt?

In seiner gemeinsam mit Patrick Carr verfass
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.
Feb 28, 2014 Rinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant story of a brilliant man.
Mar 29, 2015 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
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,
Jul 05, 2015 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
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.
Feb 25, 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.”
Sep 21, 2015 Denise rated it liked it
pg. 8- June recognizes that I operate at various levels, so she doesn't always call me John. when I'm paranoid or belligerent she'll say "go away cash. it's time for Johnny to come out" cash is her name for the star, the egomaniac. Johnny is her name for her playmate.
111- he knew his style was unique,but also that it originated in his technical limitations-- which is often the story of original sounds in popular music, even if some of us aren't comfortable having it go down in history that way.
Simeon Readingape
Mar 21, 2015 Simeon Readingape rated it it was ok
p. 235 "I was walking down 57th Street with June one Sunday morning when we happened on the First Baptist Church of New York, which we hadn't noticed before because its entrance doesn't look like a church's. We saw from a sign outside that services were just about to start, so we went in, and the strangest thing happened. The congregation was seated as we entered,but about halfway down the aiskle a young boy was turned around watching the door. He saw us, immediately jumped up, and yelled "JOHNN ...more
May 01, 2014 Swift rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, the book seems to be loaded with name dropping and seems to have the purpose of giving credit to those who inspired Cash; though this may be interesting to some, I only wanted to learn about Cash himself. However, the anecdotes that Cash tells are very rich and informational, giving deep insight into his life and how he views the world. But if I wanted to read about how Elvis performed and what kind of personality Jerry Lee Lewis had, I would read their autobiographies. I think Cash, w ...more
Apr 09, 2014 Corinne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I'm not generally a big autobiography/biography fan but I do like Johnny Cash and so picked this up on a bit of a whim at a market stall at the weekend. I've really enjoyed reading this and got to the end in just a few days as I wanted to keep reading. I loved the episodic way of writing, as if Johnny was just chatting and telling old stories.

I've seen and liked the film but this feels more like the real story, not the from birth to death story but a real laying out of 'this is who I am and what
Feb 05, 2014 Conor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although a dislike of the central characters isn't necessarily a bar to enjoying the book, I found my distaste for Cash to do that here. His attitude also made me doubt the veracity of everything in the book.

The positives, to start with. Although it has the potential to be confusing, the way the narrative switches between Cash carrying out his present day career obligations and his career at it's height, this works quite nicely, and prevents the drug-induced drama of his downfall becoming too in
May 18, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
As far as autobiographies go, this one was pretty dry. The problem I have with most autobiographies is that to me, they all read like a brag list- places the person has been, people the person knows, wild and crazy things the person has accomplished, etc etc. I just can't take autobiographies too seriously(A biography is a completely different beast; I love them!).

What I wanted to read in this book- specifics about traveling, putting on shows, the ease/difficulties of this type of lifestyle, how
Travis McClain
Jul 19, 2015 Travis McClain rated it really liked it
I bought a paperback copy of this several years ago, but for whatever reason never got around to opening it. I've been on a big Cash kick for the last few months, though, during which I went on a three-day/two-night road trip with a friend that traced his life and career in reverse chronology from his grave site in Hendersonville down to the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, then on to Sun Studio in Memphis and ending at his boyhood home in Dyess. I thought about reading this before the trip, in ...more
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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.” 47 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.” 41 likes
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