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Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  234 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Tammy Wynette is an intimate portrait of a music icon, the Queen of Heartbreak, whose powerful voice evoked universal pain and longing even as it belied her own. Through a high-profile divorce and a dreadful battle with addiction and illness, Tammy Wynette transformed her private grief into masterful hit songs.
Hardcover, Large Print, 841 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Thorndike Press (first published March 1st 2010)
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Beth Newman
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jan 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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
Apr 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Todd Melby
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author can turn a phrase and knows where to focus his attention. Great anecdotes. Detailed where it needs to be and simply a joy. (I read it a few years ago and remember underling many great sentences and crazy anecdotes, including one about George Jones being so drunk he got his hair permed into an afro.)
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After finishing a book like this, one must face his own darn curiosity. Curiosity that leads us to any celebrity biography in the first place. There is this dilemma - any book that is too fawning, we dismiss as irrelevant. On the other hand, if the details are too seedy, we would rather not really know it. The truth is, every life could be described either way, it just depends on a point of view. It might come as surprise, but in the right hands your own life could turn into sordid bestseller fu ...more
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,
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
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
Tanya T
While i thought the book was well written. It was a little frustrating to read flip/flop accounts of stories from the past. It's such a contridiction on all accounts. Most people interviewed had different views on everything from Wynette's upbringing, to her first marriage,her years with George Jones and the last years of her life.
Tammy Wynette seems somewhat of a mystery. Some describe her as honest to a fault while others say she likes to tell stories and embellish on them until they are nothi
May 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  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
Michael Porter
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read Tammy Wynette’s autobiographical novel, and I read her Daughter’s story on her Mother’s life. This book was ever better than both of those put together.

Mr. McDonough dug very deep and told a wonderful story about Tammy’s life. I enjoyed every word of it; with the exception of sometimes he was highly critical of her. Unnecessarily I might add.

I mean, I take expectation with Tammy over how she treated her kids. You should never choose a man over your kids, but Tammy Wynette always need
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
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Annie Booker
It's a little biased in its perspective as the writer is such a huge fan of Tammy's that he seems to put her high up on a pedestal and puts all the blame for what happened to her on others. I'm a big fan of Tammy's too but she was human and her own human foibles like the rest of us I'm sure. It was interesting finding out more about her early years and her time with George Jones but this wasn't the best bio, imo.
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.
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!)
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!
Nov 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: already-own, memoir
In the hands of a different author, I would have loved the book. This guy... Not so much.
Terry Dullum
Fascinating life of a great singer. Sad story.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Khris Sellin
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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!
Katie Garcia
Aug 02, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 10, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yech. Doesn't McDonough make you feel like a voyeur?
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Tammy's Demise 1 2 Jan 03, 2013 06:43AM  
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