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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, Cash set the record straight -- and dispelled a few myths -- as he looked unsparingly at his remarkable life: from the joys of his boyhood in Dyess, Arkansas to superstardom in Nashville, Tennessee, the road of Cash's life has been anything but smooth. Cash writes of the thrill of playing with Elvis, the comfort of praying with Billy Graham; of his battles with addiction and of the devotion of his wife, June; of his gratitude for life, and of his thoughts on what the afterlife may bring. Here, too, are the friends of a lifetime, including Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and Kris Kristofferson. As powerful and memorable as one of his classic songs, Cash is filled with the candor, wit, and wisdom of a man who truly "walked the line."

310 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1997

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About the author

Johnny Cash

183 books274 followers
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 Tennessee Three backing band, and his demeanor. He rarely (if ever) wavered from introducing himself before performing, with the greeting, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

Much of Cash's music, especially that of his later career, echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption. His signature songs include "I Walk the Line", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Ring of Fire", "That Old Wheel" (a duet with Hank Williams Jr.), "Cocaine Blues", and "Man in Black". He also recorded several humorous songs, such as "One Piece at a Time", "The One on the Right Is on the Left", "Dirty Old Egg-Sucking Dog" a duet with June Carter, Jackson, and "A Boy Named Sue"; rock-and-roll numbers such as "Get Rhythm"; and various railroad songs, such as "Rock Island Line" and "Orange Blossom Special".

He sold over 90 million albums in his nearly fifty-year career and came to occupy a "commanding position in music history".

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 843 reviews
Profile Image for Tessa.
88 reviews7 followers
September 9, 2016
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 song writer. This book provides insight not just into Cash's life but gives a glimpse at different periods in recent American history. An amazing life, full of hardship, myth, love and beauty, I felt privileged to have this glimpse that Cash gives with such honesty. I have read this book twice all the way through, and I am not sure I can say that for any other biography or autobiography.
Profile Image for Jonathan Ashleigh.
Author 1 book118 followers
February 11, 2016
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 tremendous opportunities because of this fact. In the end, I got sick of hearing about Jesus from a drug addict that clearly cheated on all of his wives. I love his music and will continue to do so but i was not impressed by this book.
Profile Image for Steve.
820 reviews237 followers
January 27, 2011
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 encounter with an enraged ostrich might get # 1 overall). But to read it, see it, through Cash’s eyes, hear it through his voice, leaves me with an even greater respect for the seriousness with which he would come to live his life. His humility, his dark places (lots of warts there), and his faith, are all here. That last point, his faith, cannot be downplayed. I would say about a third of the book deals with Cash’s faith in God, and his struggles with drugs and depression. This is no glory hallelujah tale, but a story of man just trying to get some traction in his life, to line his beliefs up with the way he was living his life. In one remarkable passage, Cash recounts, in a Jonah like tale, how he crawled deep into cave, jacked up on drugs, pretty much ready to die. Well, he had a “moment,” and crawled back toward the light. For me, this spoke more powerfully than that wildly overrated snooze fest, Augustine’s Confessions.

Beyond the religious aspects of the book, Cash writes about an America, or perhaps more accurately, an American South that no longer exists. Shoot, it was fast disappearing when Cash was rising to prominence in the late fifties and early sixties. Cash remembers what it was like to pick cotton, or listen to the radio for his entertainment. Country was really Country back then. Early on in the book he levels a withering charge at the up and coming crop of Country stars:

I was talking with a friend of mine about this the other day: that country life as I knew it might really be a thing of the past and when music people today, performers and fans alike, talk about being “country,” they don’t mean they know or even care about the land and the life it sustains and regulates. They’re talking more about choices – a way to look, a group to belong to, a kind of music to call their own. Which begs a question: Is there anything behind the symbols or modern “country,” or are the symbols the whole story? Are the hats, the boots, the pickup trucks, and the honky tonking poses all that’s left of a disintegrating culture? Back in Arkansas, a way of life produced a certain kind of music. Does a certain kind of music now produce a way of life?

As far as older crop goes, if you like old Country (and Rock and Roll) music, you’ll be treated to numerous stories about such stars as Patsy Cline, Porter Wagner, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Marty Stewart, Connie Smith, Maybelle Carter, Roy Orbison, and many others. Also, all phases of Cash’s life (up until age 65 or so), get covered. In particular, I enjoyed his remembrances regarding The Johnny Cash Show, but also the simpler stuff, like when he’s just talking about his kids and grandkids. Toward the end of the book, he recounts his first meetings with Rick Rubin, which would put into motion a remarkable string of recordings (the “American Recordings”) that Cash would put together toward the end of his life. At that point, Cash didn’t even have a record company. Fortunately, Rubin saw Cash for the giant he was, and proceeded with a project that allowed Cash to be Cash. Interestingly, all of this music came out at time when Cash rapidly declined physically. If you have the last album, also titled Cash, check out the back cover, with Cash, spectral, prophetic, barely visible through the window, staring back at us. (I couldn't help but be reminded of Paul's "Through a glass darkly.." in 1 Corinthians 13.) For followers of the Man in Black, we couldn’t be more thankful for such an extended gift. This book is a perfect accompaniment.
Profile Image for Dan.
1,135 reviews52 followers
February 12, 2018
Cash was written in 1997 and is a good read, heartfelt and well written. There is a real absence of pity in Cash’s writing which is refreshing. Rather it reads as true nostalgia, in a positive sense. Similar to how one might, if famous, write his or her own memoir. We remember the good and the bad and the memories from our early years are greatly magnified.

Cash grew up very poor picking cotton in Dyess Arkansas and eventually made his way to Memphis and a Sun Records contract after a stint in the Air Force in the early 1950s. Cash’s life is already so well known that fortunately he does not dwell too much on the most well known and controversial moments of his life but spends most of the chapters discussing his relationships and memories with other musicians and friends. Some were closer like Carl Perkins, Waylon Jennings and Roy Orbison. Many had already passed away by the time the book was written. Cash never achieved the level of stardom of Elvis, they both got their start at Sun Records around the same time, but in the book Cash does praise for Elvis for his charm and musical talent.

I normally avoid autobiographies like the plague because I don’t trust the messenger but I make exceptions for artists that I admire since they typically have bared their souls before and should have little reason to whitewash their lives. I never got the sense that Cash was revising history in this book but simply wanted to record and reminisce about his life for posterity.

A paragraph near the end summarizes the nostalgia that permeates the book.

“I went back to the old homesite in Dyess a few years ago. The house itself was very far gone, falling slowly into the Delta mud, and the land all around it, far as I could see, was just huge flat fields, probably given over to rice or wheat ... I didn’t remember the land being that flat. I remembered little hollows where the cotton wouldn’t grow well if you got too much spring rain and little hills of sandy loam where Daddy planted watermelons.... So much life, so many people I love, sprang from that place”
Profile Image for Kelsey.
38 reviews2 followers
July 18, 2012
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. His interest was peaked by ordinary things like weather patterns. He raved about his wife June, his children, his grand children, and his God-Jesus Christ. He knows what is worth admiring and I like that about him. He seemed to have a very accurate view of himself--never too humble or proud. He definitely wasn't a saint, and he didn't pretend to be, but he always knew where his hope came from. And of course he made great, simple, honest music.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the life of Johnny Cash. He tells his story well and he is worth hearing from. I'd like to read more about him after reading this book.
549 reviews17 followers
April 23, 2008
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 while. He is very straight ahead about his fame, his ego, his addictions, his faith in Jesus, his music, his career, his family, his triumphs and his failures. Plus you get a firsthand account of all of the great history around Memphis and Sun Studios and Elvis and Carl Perkins, as well as Roy Orbison and Waylon Jennings and all the other guys from that era. But, more than anything, you just feel like you’re sitting on the back deck with The Man in Black and there’s a guitar there for him to pick up (or you to pick up) whenever you want. And that may lead into a song or a story or some quick little anecdote; but, whatever it is, you’re loving every minute of it. This book is an amazingly quick and easy read. Good vacation book.
Profile Image for J..
215 reviews11 followers
February 14, 2013
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 communications. His return to America, his marriage to Vivian the beginnings of his career, signing to sun records.

The next part details his friendships, June Carter Cash, life on the road, his tear away existence, drug abuse. The final part- his recovery, family matters, spiritual life.

There are many many interesting anecdotes and stories. He cheated death more times than I could count. He knew and met some of the rockabilly, folk, rock and roll, country leading lights- Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Kris Kristoffersen, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Carl Perkins to name but a few. One of my favourite stories is about the genesis of the song 'Blue Suede Shoes' written by Carl Perkins not! Elvis.

My favourite passage is about what country music truly is, so many people nowadays write off country music and think its about rodeos, line dancing, silly hats the Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks... it's so much more and it spawned a lot of genres that people who profess to hate country music love- folk, blue grass, rockabilly, rock and roll, indie rock, pop. It's relevant.

"when music people today, performers and fans alike, talk about being 'country', they don't mean they know or even care about the land and the life it sustains and regulates. They're talking more about choices - a way to look, a group to belong to, a kind of music to call their own. Which begs the question: Is there anything behind the symbols of modern 'country', or are the symbols themselves the whole story? Are the hats, the boots, the pickup trucks, and the honky-tonking poses all that's left of a disintegrating culture? Back in Arkansas, a way of life produced a certain kind of music. Does a certain kind of music now produce a way of life? Maybe that's okay. I don't know."

The only criticism I have read is that he doesn't settle old scores, why should he? He has a lot to be grateful for, and states that the book is a way of complimenting people he hasn't really had the chance to compliment over the years.The only criticism I can give is that there is no index so I had to note down all the musicians, songs he mentioned for further listening purposes.

How many musicians do you know produce great songs in old age and remain relevant? The movie is really just the tip of the iceberg. Recommended to all music fans.
Profile Image for Jon.
Author 76 books364 followers
July 16, 2017
I don’t read a ton of biographies, auto or otherwise. Many of them come across as very dry as they recount events in life chronologically, and no matter how well done that is, it can get boring. The ones that really stand out are the ones that put the feeling and soul of a person into the work, whether that’s the ghostwriter creating a character or the person themselves dictating and getting it written down/cleaned up, I don’t know. Either way, when it’s done right, it creates a compelling story. The two examples I can think of in this vein are Me by Katharine Hepburn and Art of the Deal by Donald Trump. Those books really stand out as you get a feel for the person and how they’re living in the moment that it’s written, not just their chronological life story. Cash by Johnny Cash is no different, and perhaps even exceeds these two examples.

Each section is framed with him talking about the current road performance he’s on, so you get the feel that you’re sitting with Johnny on the tour bus while he’s just going on old-man style about his glory days, and it’s inviting like hanging out with a favorite grandpa. Within that framework he bounces around to different stories. At first is early life – which it’s amazing how not all that long ago time-wise it was so difficult a life for so many people, it makes you realize how much the troubles of today’s modern times are just complete nonsense and that people these days are the biggest whining complainers imaginable. How he had to toil in the fields all day dawn til dusk even as a young child, and come home to no electricity is pretty amazing. That’s not even 100 years old.

His 50s-60s life is very compelling, with lots of stories of great musicians like Elvis, Carl Perkins and others, and of course his own recording career taking off. It was cool that he was a part of the military and he had quite an interesting job in that regard as a person who deciphered Russian Morse code for our intelligence programs. There’s a lot of cool detail, and he interjects with a story from Jamaica which is riveting.

Later in the book, it gets heavy. He talks a lot about his drug use, his problems, his failings as a human being. It makes it very clear this is honest and not just some presentation of him as some idol, which I appreciate. And he couples that with some of the most amazing witness testimonial of God’s grace and the glory of Jesus Christ that I’ve ever seen in a book. It’s from an honest man’s perspective and not someone who’s doing it for appearances, and that’s what makes it so powerful. We all have failed and fall short of the glory of God, and this is an example of that, and how we can keep striving as humans to be perfect in Him. It’s really inspiring.

The end drags a bit as he just wants to mention every friend and family member and acquaintance he’s ever come across, but that’s just 20 pages of the book and it feels like a coda after the story sort of a prolongued thanks section rather than part of the text itself. Even with that, it’s a fast read, riveting, compelling and you’ll get a sense for a big musician who really is an everyman in both the way he looks at the world, in his failings and in his redemption. It’s a beautiful story and I respect Johnny Cash more than most musicians as a result.
Profile Image for Anfri Bogart.
126 reviews14 followers
October 4, 2017
Come quasi tutte le autobiografie dei musicisti, anche qui ci sono:
a) una certa tendenza all'auto-incensazione;
b) la forte tentazione di raccontare mille aneddoti poco rilevanti;
c) l'idea che verranno letti da tutti i loro conoscenti (che sono molti) e quindi la necessità di citarli tutti;
d) la convinzione di avere una discendenza eccezionale (e quindi citare tutti i parenti);
e) la ferma convinzione di dover condividere la propria (eccezionale) filosofia di vita;
Inoltre Cash per distinguersi elenca anche:
f) tutte le sue case;
g) tutti i presidenti che ha conosciuto.
Comunque, essendo un fan di Johhny Cash, mi ha fatto piacere leggere questo libro e mi sono comunque goduto abbastanza sia il punto b) che il punto e).
Pensate che a tratti racconta anche delle cose interessanti della sua vita e della sua musica, sì a tratti sembra proprio di leggere un'autobiografia.
Profile Image for Adi.
113 reviews7 followers
July 21, 2016
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.
July 8, 2023
3,5 to bardziej memoir, często nieuporządkowane historie, przemyślenia i anegdoty, co czasami powoduje nieprzyjemny chaos, innym razem nadając gadaninie Casha szczerości, swojskości, robiąc z niego dziadka snującego opowieści przed kominkiem. Taka to trochę jest książka.

Kocham Johnny’ego Casha jako muzyka, a w tej książce jest mnóstwo świetnych historii z jego życia: to, jak został zaatakowany przez strusia, jak przyczynił się do napisania Blue Suede Shoes, jak został jedynym człowiekiem pozwanym przez rząd USA za podpalenie lasu czy jak skakał po hotelowych łóżkach z Bobem Dylanem. Very cool. Oczywiście, pisze też o problemach ze sławą i narkotykami, o tym, jak wpływało to na jego małżeństwa, zwłaszcza pierwsze, ale robi to dość pobieżnie. Często odwołuje się albo odsyła czytelnika do swojej pierwszej książki.

Dużo tu nazwisk, czasami za dużo. Dużo pochwał, dużo szacunku, dużo pominięte, szkoda zwłaszcza, że przemilczał beefa z Tennessee Two.

Poza tym, Cash był bardzo religijnym człowiekiem, zwłaszcza w późniejszej części swojego życia. Ja jestem zdecydowanie po drugiej stronie tego spektrum, więc liczne fragmenty na temat wiary, boga, biblii, i tak dalej, bardzo mnie gubiły. Ale oddaję Cashowi to, że nie próbuje czytelnika nawracać i nikogo też nie ocenia.

All in all, fanom mogę polecić.
Profile Image for Del.
327 reviews13 followers
October 17, 2018
“I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m certainly not the dumbest. I mean, I’ve read books like "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" and "Love in the Time of Cholera", and I think I’ve understood them. They’re about girls, right? Just kidding. But I have to say my all-time favorite book is Johnny Cash’s autobiography "Cash" by Johnny Cash.” - Rob Fleming, High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby

I love a good autobiography, and I love a good yarn about the life of a musician, particularly one who raised hell. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as Rob did, but I did enjoy it. You find yourself hearing Cash himself reading it to you in your head, with his rolling, rumbling, mouthful of gravel voice, which gives his tales of life on the road more oomph.
Profile Image for Joey.
100 reviews
February 27, 2022
I really enjoyed this autobiography by Johnny Cash, a fellow Arkansan. In it, he talks about his life, places he's been, people he's met. He also talks about his years of drug addiction and recovery, his faith, and the country music industry from the 50s to the 90s. Something about the simple prose and honest reflections made this feel like reading letters from someone I used to know (so, credit to Patrick Carr, his co-writer, too).
Profile Image for El.
1,355 reviews502 followers
May 14, 2009
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 his story.

His story here starts with his childhood, and he discusses the death of his brother and his rise to fame and his adoration of June Carter the first time he met her. Much of this was a repeat to me after having seen the movie, Walk the Line, but it was good to see what the movie got historically right. Then Cash delves into talking about his singer friends, of which he had many, and then his family, of which he also had many, and then about his stint with amphetamines and pills, of which he had probably the most of out of anything else in his life. He tells stories about ostrich attacks and the reader is just like, "Whoa, what a bad ass". As if there was previously a question of his bad-assedness.

Still, he meanders significantly, sometimes leading to difficulty in the reading. I can't hold it against him, though, because it's what makes his story so real. He wasn't the best writer, but then that's not what he was known for anyhow. His love for June, according to this book, was intense and incredible, as was his faith in his later years. He has respect for just about every person he's met, whether they screwed him over or not, and that's admirable. You would think Cash would have wound up a bitter old man with a heart made of broken brick, but he really seemed to have become a gentle man who found talent and beauty in the world.

Possibly my favorite part of the book is the several times he makes reference to his own book, Man in Black. How often does a writer actually reference himself? That's pretty cool, and he's probably the only man who could pull it off without coming across as pretentious.
8 reviews4 followers
September 20, 2007
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 on amphetamines, but mostly because he liked spray painting things black.

If you finished Dylan's Chronicles and dont know where to go next, this is your stop.

Also recommended to fans of the film HIGH FIDELITY as it is Rob Gordon's favorite book.
Profile Image for Hannah.
100 reviews2 followers
July 5, 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 heartwarming read.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 7 books86 followers
February 27, 2020
February has been a very slow month, reading-wise. Some books I DNF'd cause I couldn't feel their magic and cause I didnt feel like reading much. Thus I moved back to my comfort zone and decided to read an autobiography of a very famous singer: Johnny Cash. Like Springsteen's, which I read last year, this is a very blunt, emotional, enjoyable read about an artist who changed the face of (country) music.

You should give it a try. Now it is time to re watch Joaquin Phoenix's version of Walk the Line.
Profile Image for Kyle Bueermann.
59 reviews1 follower
November 26, 2020
Both of Johnny Cash’s (this one and The Man in Black) are outstanding, but this one is the best. The story of an incredibly interesting man looking back on his life - all the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If you’re a Cash fan, or just intrigued about his music and life, I highly recommend this book!
12 reviews1 follower
July 15, 2021
Split into parts titled by places that impact and mean the most to Mr. Cash, this biography is an admirably honest look at both the man’s past and his identity, especially regarding how the two influenced one another. Anecdotes are told tangentially in a way that makes the book feel conversational even when more largely scaled ideas emerge, and Cash is down to earth and detailed in describing the dearest key players in his life. The whole account acknowledges the Man in Black’s status without reveling in it, and the moments of self-involvement can be counted on one hand. Cash invigorates the desire to live life with love, thanks to this man’s ability to be open about the best and worst shades of his own. This biography’s a solid 9/10 for me right now. Got to round up because, well, it’s Johnny Cash! He wouldn’t have wanted a reader/fan walking away with a blanket statement like “We need more people like him,” but the world does need to uplift and enforce people to have humility, diligence, tenacity, and wisdom… so in that sense, we certainly do. God bless the life of Johnny Cash and may his story inspire ANYONE to walk tall amidst regrets, to learn from mistakes, and to love life and the people and music found in it.
3 reviews
July 23, 2023
Learned a lot about Mr Cash, the movie gave you a pretty good feel about the chaos but I had no idea how religious he was. Good read, interesting life as expected.
Profile Image for Morgan Dean.
89 reviews2 followers
September 23, 2023
This was a fantastic book! Full of very interesting stories and fun facts - including the fact that he was friends with Shel Silverstein who not only wrote children's poems but also wrote country music??? Confusing but I'm into it.
Profile Image for Ewan.
266 reviews10 followers
March 7, 2022
Surprised not just at how clear and natural the flow of writing comes to Johnny Cash, but also with how profound an impact it has made on me. Cash's writing is honest and open. His earnest talk of faith and failure is deeply personal but entirely relatable and understandable. He writes of his highs and lows with equal clarity and that is rare for any autobiography, which often smudges a detail here or a message there. Openness is rare to find in artists, and it is fantastic to see it flow through Cash here. I'm not even that grand a fan of his music. I could tumble through a couple of his tracks and have a soft spot for Folsom Prison Blues, but his character and personality shine through as a man looking to make peace with his shortcomings, of which there are many.
May 16, 2013
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, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan, Carl Perkins (and many many other famous artists or not so famous ones), his family (Carter family significance), his drug taking episodes, make this autobiography simply a must read for anyone who who has even a smidgeon of interest in the history of American music.

Unfortunately, I found at the precise moment he professed to being a Christian on his ABC show, he went into 'serious' Christian defence mode and rambled into pretty dull territory. We already know from the first two thirds of the book he is a proud Christian. I'm a Christian as well. But to read a whole lot more just seemed too much, but no one's perfect, hahaha.

But all in all this autobiography is a great insight into the 'man in black' and really how the way things were back when contemporary music was coming into being and about those who propelled in into the spotlight. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Rowland Pasaribu.
376 reviews70 followers
July 27, 2010
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 back down through repeated drug crises and back up. He has met five presidents, toured with the little Memphis band of newcomers including Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison among others. Along the way he befriended the likes of Dylan, Willie Nelson, Billy Graham and Tom Petty. This honest telling of the story of the Man In Black is filled with anecdotes that surprised me with their candor and insights. I have a much better understanding of the origins of the Memphis sound, of life on the road, and of this remarkable man's journey bringing his unique brand of music to the people.
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Author 10 books126 followers
December 30, 2016
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. When they did a young boy, who they quickly realised had mental health issues, began shouting, "There he is! There´s Johnny Cash! I told you he´d come!" Turned out the boy had been telling everyone, parents, parishioners and anyone else who´d listen, that Cash was going to go into the church and worship with them that morning - and he had. It was the one and only time Cash had been in that church in his life.
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