Johnny Cash: He Walked the Line

Garth Campbell

The life of the Man in Black was an all-American tale of sin, redemption, passion and grace, and it’s certainly a worthy subject for biography; unfortunately, this book doesn’t do it justice. Campbell gives us the facts but fails to place Johnny Cash in the larger context of his times, and America from the Depression to the millennium is the stage on which Cash worked. What we really need is something along the lines of Peter Guralnick’s marvelous two-volume cultural biography of Elvis. While we’re waiting, this quickie bio (which relies heavily on Johnny’s and June’s own autobiographies) will just have to do, but it’s probably a better idea to put 1959’s The Fabulous Johnny Cash, or any of the American recordings, in the changer. Johnny Cash did a fine job of telling his own story.