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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  22,791 ratings  ·  730 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, C
Paperback, 310 pages
Published October 7th 2003 by HarperOne (first published 1997)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,791 ratings  ·  730 reviews

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Jan 16, 2012 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
Apr 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, famous-people, usa
Really enjoyed this.
Learned alot.
Jonathan Ashleigh
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
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
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 t
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Caitlin Johnson
Fuck me, this was boring.
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
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 stor ...more
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: commute-reads
“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 rai
May 03, 2009 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Lin
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
He is the man
Chaz Ricks
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like this for what it is. An old legend sitting down and remembering, pondering and teaching from what he's learned in life. It's like sitting down and talking to a grandparent-- long winded conversation with nuggets of brilliance along the way. Unorganized and raw, but that's what makes it great! ...more
Matthew Richmond
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 Pasaribu
Jul 27, 2010 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 03, 2015 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
D.J. O'Donnell
Mar 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Ostrich wounds and flying hospitals. 'Nuff said. ...more
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant story of a brilliant man.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
For what we might reasonably lose in objectivity, an autobiography when well put together gives us the authentic voice of the person in question and allows us to enter their story more deeply and usually at less of a remove than a biography would offer. I am sure plenty of people were excited in 1997 by the news that Johnny Cash would be publishing another autobiography, following his 1975 book Man in Black. He was then an ailing but resurgent monolith with a newly reborn music career and status ...more
John Defrog
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not much for music bios (or autobios, in this case), but I figured someone like Cash would have some tales to tell. And he does. And they’re mostly riveting, though, unsurprisingly, he spends a lot of pages paying tribute to his two greatest loves: God and June Carter. But then I expected that. The best bits are the anecdotes of hanging out with Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Merle Travis and all the other rock/country legends. And of course stories of pill popping, driving Cadillacs into ...more
Jeff Johnston
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
My mum's husband loves Johnny Cash and recently I listened to one of his 'best of' compilation style CD's while driving out on the backroads of NSW. Perfect country for his voice and I must say that i truly enjoyed listened to that deep voice.

This autobiography gave the impression of a man who has had many a struggle (particular an acute addiction to amphetamines) and luckily found his way back.

'Folsom Prison Blues', 'I Walk the Line' and of course 'Ring of Fire' - Have a listen and I think you
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The man in black. He was a country singer who lived a rock star life. Music and performing, to him, was as essential as breathing. I have different perspective about the man and a new respect for his faith. I loved how he was completely open with his struggles with addiction but how his faith helped him overcome. He would fall at times but always looked to God for restoration.
Kyle Bueermann
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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!
Jo Skeffington-Debski
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall I enjoyed the book. Grew up listening to Cash since he was one of my Mom’s favorites. Interesting learning about his boyhood and what made him the incredible musician he is. I did get a bit lost about all the notations re: his
Contemporaries since I’m not familiar with them. Impressed with the deep philosophical points he raises. For example: “Back in Arkansas a way of life produced a certain type of music. Does a certain kind of music now produce a way of life. Maybe?”
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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

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