Willie Nelson: An Epic Life

Joe Nick Patosi

Considering how much life there’s been in Willie Nelson’s life, it’s surprising how lifeless this book is. Joe Nick Patosi writes an adulatory biography praising things that ain’t even praiseworthy. For instance, when Nelson’s drummer catches a kid sneaking through the fence at an event, Patosi seems to think it’s outlaw cool to put two pistols in the kid’s mouth, then let him go. Not only does it seem implausible (two barrels?), it certainly doesn’t come across as cool. Then there’s the sloppiness. Writing about Fort Worth, Texas, Patosi says that 80 years separated Butch Cassidy from Bonnie and Clyde, but the actual amount of time separating the two criminal careers was half that number. Willie Nelson is an interesting guy, but a reader who knew Nelson only from the pages of this book wouldn’t know why.