Charles Shaar Murray

Man in Black

Johnny Cash: The Life


Weidenfeld & Nicolson 679pp £20 order from our bookshop

If the Grand Canyon could sing, it would sound like Johnny Cash. And if Monument Valley had walked on two legs and, moreover, taken to dressing itself in head-to-toe black, it would probably look like him too. At the peak of his career, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was one of the greatest unifying forces in American cultural life, cherished by rednecks and hippies alike; equally beloved at the Grand Ole Opry or the Newport Folk Festival; at a maximum-security prison or the Nixon White House; at a Billy Graham Crusade rally or a Bob Dylan recording session. His work straddled country music, rock (both ancient and modern), folk and mainstream pop.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,