September 13, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Johnny Cash

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Michael Streissguth
publisher
Da Capo Press
genre
Biography, Nonfiction
We gave it an A

Is it possible to demythologize Johnny Cash — separating fact from the fibs and legends in previous books and biopics — while letting the Man in Black remain slightly larger than life? Michael Streissguth accomplishes that with the most well-rounded Johnny Cash book to date. Don’t read it if you left Walk the Line wanting to believe June cured Johnny of drug addiction; a band member present for the onstage proposal swears ”he was not straight” that night. But Streissguth is no scandalmonger, just an elegant writer and crack researcher who knows his subject’s life is redemptive even without a clean character arc.

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