Reading Guides

Best Johnny Cash Books – Biographies and More!

Best Johnny Cash Books

This week marks the anniversary of the death of singer Johnny Cash in 2003… In honor of the prolific American singer / songwriter, here are some of the best Johnny Cash books — including both biographies and books by the songwriter.

Counting down through the Top 10 Best Johnny Cash Books … 



1. Johnny Cash: The Life 

by Robert Hilburn

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.


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IMAGE CREDIT: Detail from cover of Robert Hilburn’s biography, Johnny Cash – The Life. [ BUY NOW ]


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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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