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 Biography Review    



By the Editors of ROLLING STONE
Crown Publishers, 2004
Hardcover, $29.95 (224 pages)
ISBN: 1-4000-5480-X
Cash: An American Man
By Bill Miller
Edited by Mark Vancil and Jacob Hoye
Pocket Books Hardcover, 2004
Hardcover, $30.00 (176 pages)
ISBN: 0-7434-9629-9

It's hard to avoid superlatives and cliches when writing about Johnny Cash; somehow, CASH and CASH: An American Man manage to convey both the complexity of Johnny Cash the artist, and the humanity of Johnny Cash, the husband, father, friend, and mentor.

Since its beginnings in the 1960s, Rolling Stone has reported on Johnny Cash's influence on rock-and-roll, rockabilly, gospel, folk, country, and alternative music. CASH chronicles Johnny Cash's music, career, and humanitarian efforts from his first recordings at Sun Records through the tributes written during the weeks following his death in 2003. The book offers a fascinating look at the artist's legacy.

The editors included the personal -- a foreword by daughter Roseanne Cash, excerpts from Cash's two biographies, family photographs and memorabilia -- offering the reader a glimpse into the blended family of Johnny and June Carter Cash's five children in addition to interviews that originally appeared in the magazine, a discography, and several chapters commissioned for the book. Both Roseanne Cash and John Carter Cash offer insights into their father's work ethic and parenting style.  There's much to love in this book -- whether the reader is a Cash afficionado or a newcomer to his music. 

CASH: AN AMERICAN MAN is a tribute to Johnny Cash by his friend Bill Miller. The artist first met Miller when the younger man came to a Johnny Cash-June Carter Cash concert over thirty years ago. Cash, recognizing something special in the young man, was "always generous to a fault." Miller was eight and Cash was at the height of his popularity. 

Cash and Miller shared an affection for collecting memorabilia and during the course of their friendship, Cash sent handwritten notes, lyrics, photographs, contracts, and artwork included in CASH: AN AMERICAN MAN. The profits from the book benefit Cash's favorite charity in Jamaica. 


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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