Friday, August 31, 2007


Of all the music-related memoirs due this fall, Vivian Cash’s is liable to be the most surprising. With abundant evidence to make her case, Ms. Cash, the first wife of Johnny Cash, explains how her role in his life was expunged by the mythology that sprung up around him. Her book, put together with the help of Ann Sharpsteen, vehemently corrects the impression created by “people of the Nashville mind-set, who prefer that I be written out of Johnny’s history altogether.”

My Life With Johnny
By Vivian Cash with Ann Sharpsteen
Illustrated. 326 pages. Scribner. $27.

Most of this unusual book was actually written by Mr. Cash. After a brief introduction it becomes a string of the near-daily letters he wrote to his sweetheart, Vivian Liberto of San Antonio, during the three years he spent in the Air Force. They met at a skating rink in July 1951, when Ms. Cash was a petite, exotically beautiful 17-year-old schoolgirl. Soon afterward Mr. Cash, then a 19-year-old serviceman, was on his way to Germany. He did not see Ms. Cash again until the summer of 1954.
Ms. Cash died in 2005, after spending much of her life avoiding revisionist versions of Mr. Cash’s life story. With any luck she never saw “Walk the Line,” the 2005 hit movie that presented her as a nagging, ever-pregnant obstacle to his storybook romance with June Carter, who became his musical partner and second wife. The film’s Vivian could not be less like the one described by Mr. Cash in the feverish, obsessive love letters presented here.

This is an excerpt from a longer review that appears in the New York Times today. Use this link..........
Both pics from the New York Times.

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