Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen
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Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  136 ratings  ·  29 reviews
From the "New York Times" bestselling biographer-the first book-length portrait of music legend Tammy Wynette.
Known for his acclaimed biographies of Neil Young, Russ Meyer, and Andy Milligan, Jimmy McDonough now delivers an emotional and revealing exploration of the life of the Queen of Heartbreak. Based on dozens of interviews, McDonough's book unveils a life of profoun...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Penguin Books
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Laura
Decent biography of country music star Tammy Wynette. McDonough has clearly done his research, and has interviewed several people who had apparently never before given full interviews, like Tammy's second husband. He also has a good ear for humor, and gets some really funny anecdotes out of his interviews, especially about Wynette's third husband George Jones.

It would have been nice, though, if McDonough had resisted his many impulses to descend into bathos -- for example, his letters composed t...more
aya
One of the most atrociously written books i've ever read, but who reads a biography for the prose? (but really? open letters to tammy from the author? really?) aside from the writing and abundance of superfluous information and footnotes, what's great about this book is that McDonough is obsessed with Tammy. And even through this obsession, he is able to keep a relatively objective view of her.
I had only heard how so many men treated her badly, so was very surprised to learn that she was just a...more
Rebecca
Wow, I wanted to love this book. I'm even listening to George Jones "She Thinks I Still Care" right now.

But I couldn't love this book. Limited by knowing only a few Tammy songs and other classics, I never followed the author's personal praise or disgust from song to song, album to album. Tammy's social history is the only stuff I could sink into, the fascinating and full picture painted by the author.

That's another interesting quirk: the author is a character in the book. In between chapters, h...more
Robert
Jun 16, 2010 Robert rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any fan of music bios.
There was more soap opera in Wynette's life than any of her classic recordings. Ruthless show biz ambition and personnel tragedy is a story many times told. Mcdonough author of the Neil Young Biography "Shakey" comes close to over telling it. Those six love letters are definitely over the top. Nevertheless, throughout her life Wynette suffered through severe intestinal pain. Compounded by numerous surgeries, (and not only the plastic kind) and pain pill addiction Wynette fades into the backgroun...more
Laura
I chose to read this book not because I am a country music afficiando (I'm not, Bonnie Raitt and Shania Twain are as close as I get, though I like Dolly Parton as an actress and a person) or because I am a fan of Tammy Wynette. I chose to read this book because Tammy Wynette played a large role as an inspiration to a character in an excellent mystery novel I read, Miss Me When I'm Gone: A Novel. So I entered this book with some drawbacks.

People who are fans of Tammy Wynette or of country music,...more
Beth Newman
I only intended to read a couple of chapters last night, and ended up reading the whole darn thing.

Country music fans will probably agree that Tammy Wynette had one of the most haunting voices of any artist of any genre. After reading this book, it's clear to see that she led a haunted life.

The author, Jimmy McDonough, recounts with great detail Tammy's humble beginnings and her drive to succeed in country music. Interviews with legends such as Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Tammy's ex-husband,...more
Joshua
Kind of a borderline four stars--3.5 would be more accurate, but alas, we have to have whole stars on here. Jimmy McDonough is clearly a fan of Tammy Wynette as he often inserts his opinions about this person or that person as Wynette's tumultuous life unfolds [the marriages, the drug abuse, the romantic abuse, the intense hunger to become a country singer, George "Possum" Jones!]. He even has letters written directly to Tammy before each major section of the book to prove his love and devotion...more
Carly Thompson
A solid biography about country music legend Tammy Wynette. I knew little about Tammy Wynette before reading this and McDonough really gives readers a strong sense of her personality and psyche. Tammy's life had a soap opera quality to it--numerous husbands, a rags to riches story arch, and a drug addiction. Tammy's tragic end and the conflicting accounts of her death are well documented. Unfortunately, McDonough allows his personal opinions intrude too much into the book--interspersed throughou...more
Kathleen Rybacki
What a sad life. I admit I am not a Tammy Wynette fan. I read this because I like the author, having read his bio of Neil Young. This is a very well researched and thorough lesson in the making of a country music star. Her success is well documented as is her love life and failed marriages. This includes a detailed description of George Jones' career.and the eventual disintegration of their marriage. Her 4th and final husband, George Richey, is condemned as the reason for Tammy' s slide into dru...more
Kristen Wampner
Tragic is right. Tammy Wynette had a very tragic life full of drugs, being used and being married to George Jones. Definitely not a life one would want to model that's for sure. I think you get a good perspective of Tammy's life and those around her during her lifetime but I wouldn't read this book again.
Naomi
It was a good, detailed book. It was a bit long. Parts go in to a lot of song writers that could have been shortened.
Karen
Many years after her passing Tammy Wynette continues to be at the top my list of favorite singers. This book contains the background on why and how she became the Queen of Country Music. Failed marriages, loveless affairs, health concerns and addiction problems make for the perfect country songstress. A detailed background into the inner workings of old Nashville and how a small town Mississippi girl ends up an icon. If you enjoy classic country music and music makers this book is a must read.
Kelly
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Tammy's life from McDonough's perspective. It shined light on many of the unknowns regarding Tammy's demise. I especially enjoyed reading about her tumultuous relationship with George Jones, and how the two of them really deeply cared for one another even after their relationship ended.

Tammy was an amazing part of Country Music history, and her music will continue to touch fans everywhere.

This is a must read for any Country fan.
Sharon
This was a pretty good read about the life and career of Tammy Wynette, one of the more memorable country singers of her time. She could have been the star of a "country soap opera" long before reality TV was even an idea. Multiple marriages (most notably to George Jones), illnesses, drug addiction, sometimes overshadowed her remarkable voice and talent and we are left to wonder what her life could have been if she had been able to overcome these issues. RIP Tammy!
Dale Stonehouse
Four stars for the passion the author has for his subject, telling her story as it was without judgment. Plenty of drug use and abuse here, along with big doses of codependent behavior and distorted thinking. But as one-time husband George Jones says, without some sadness, tragedy and failure, it is hard to sing about those with feeling. Those who don't want the dirt on Wynette's abuse of pain meds should avoid this one.
AmblingBooks
"McDonough brings a passionate flair to his language�.Combining pop musicology and tabloid gossip, McDonough has crafted a fitting tribute to a country music icon." � Publishers Weekly

Listen to Tammy Wynette on your iPhone, desktop, or smartphone.
Bridget
Sometimes it got to be too long, but it was a good book that really opened my eyes to the life lead by this intriguing woman. Found myself loving her and hating her all at the same time. (That I downloaded way to many Wynette tunes in iTunes!)
Zeke
For anyone who has even the tiniest interest in country music or tortured souls, this one's a winner. Truly outstanding biography. I actually sent the author a gushing fan-boy email and he wrote me back!
Charles
Needed to read something a little lighter than my usual stead. This will suffice. With George Jones' passing, it is timely.
Just couldn't get into it-I'm done for now-may pick it back up some day!
Cindy
Interesting insight into the music business in Music City back in the early days. Not my favorite author. Writing style is choppy and there are some contradictions in facts.
Khris Sellin
OK, so maybe Tammy wasn't as sympathetic a character as I always thought. But she's still my hero(ine). Single mama, hairdresser, pushin' her way to the big time!
Mark
OK Book about Ms. Wynette. I never knew that "Stand By Her Man" was the biggest counry song ever sold. Wynette sure had everything in life.
Katie Garcia
I couldn't wait for this book to end. I'm not sure exactly what made feel like I needed to finish it, but seriously. Tammy Wynette sucks.
Marcia Mcgee
Didn't love the book but was horrified about how she was used, even after her death.. Shame on all of those involved at the end.
Christina Salvage
This was a really good biography. The author is a giant fan but doesn't pretend Tammy never did anything wrong.
Karyn
This was a very slow read. Not as interesting as I thought it would be. A little too repetitious for me.
Tammy
In the hands of a different author, I would have loved the book. This guy... Not so much.
Eric Eidelbach
Apr 01, 2010 Eric Eidelbach added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO
Recommended to Eric by: Eric Eidelburg
Horrible!!! Don't waste your time. Complete nonsense.
Terry Dullum
Fascinating life of a great singer. Sad story.
Danny Deshong
Danny Deshong is currently reading it
Jul 29, 2014
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Tammy's Demise 1 2 Jan 03, 2013 06:43AM  
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