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Books  >>  Biography

Robert Hilburn

Johnny Cash

Robert Hilburn Johnny Cash The Life
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Biographical note:

Robert Hilburn was the chief music critic and pop music editor for the Los Angeles Times for more than three decades. The author of the bestselling memoir Cornflakes with John Lennon, Hilburn has reported extensively on most of pop music's legends, including Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Johnny Cash.

Main description:

The national bestseller celebrated as "the ultimate Johnny Cash biography....Rock writer great Robert Hilburn goes deep." -- Rolling Stone

In this, the definitive biography of an American legend, Robert Hilburn conveys the unvarnished truth about a musical superstar. Johnny Cash's extraordinary career stretched from his days at Sun Records with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to the remarkable creative last hurrah, at age 69, that resulted in the brave, moving "Hurt" video.

As music critic for the Los Angeles Times, Hilburn knew Cash throughout his life: he was the only music journalist at the legendary Folsom Prison concert in 1968, and he interviewed both Cash and his wife June Carter just months before their deaths. Drawing upon a trove of never-before-seen material from the singer's inner circle, Hilburn creates an utterly compelling, deeply human portrait of a towering figure in country music, a seminal influence in rock, and an icon of American popular culture. Hilburn's reporting shows the astonishing highs and deep lows that marked the journey of a man of great faith and humbling addiction who throughout his life strove to use his music to lift people's spirits.

Review quote:

"Johnny Cash covers Cash's monumental highs and bottomless lows in unprecedented detail...The book is stuffed with warts-and-all revelations that might surprise you." -- Rolling Stone

Review quote:

"Johnny Cash succeeds at both expanding and complicating its subject. Hilburn does an artful, enviable job of reconciling all the facets...[It's] measured and mindful, allowing of all the paradoxical bits that constitute a human life." -- The Orlando Sentinel

Review quote:

"Johnny Cash will be the definitive bio of the tortured, truculent but often generous singer.... Hilburn penetrates the heart of Cash's artistry.... The behind-the-scenes stories Hilburn unearths from those early days are engrossing for anyone interested in American roots music." -- Kirkus Reviews

Review quote:

"A comprehensive and thoughtful biography, cognizant always of how hard it is for heroes to make it in America...Hilburn does an artful, enviable job of reconciling all the facets [of Cash]...[and] writes with a remarkably steady hand...JOHNNY CASH is measured and mindful, allowing of all the paradoxical bits that constitute a human life." -- Los Angeles Times

Review quote:

"A deeply personal, multi-faceted portrait." -- Parade

Review quote:

"A definitive biography.... He tells, in great and sometimes harrowing detail, how Cash's professional advancement and personal decline blossomed simultaneously." -- The Washington Post

Review quote:

"A definitive new biography of an American original.... How do you write an interesting biography of such a beloved figure? First, hire Robert Hilburn. He is a prodigious researcher, but he keeps a steady hand on the tiller, and never allows his research to swamp his narrative." -- The Economist

Review quote:

"A library's worth of existing Johnny Cash volumes has finally gained a bio that depicts him as a fully-rounded human being.... No matter how many Johnny Cash books you've read, Robert Hilburn's Johnny Cash: The Life will be a different animal." -- CMT News

Review quote:

"A meticulous biography.... Hilburn gives a frank account of the singer's life...." -- Named one of this fall's hottest biographies by Kirkus

"Veteran music writer Hilburn...masterfully separates fiction from fact in an exhaustive, but never exhausting, biography of the legendary musician...The personal knowledge aided by extensive archival research and always compelling, accessible writing makes this an instant-classic music biography with something to offer all generations of listeners." -- Kirkus (starred review)


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