Life Unseen: Johnny Cash

Grade: A

This exquisite book of photographs, both rare and iconic, is one of many tributes and releases planned for this year, the 10th anniversary of Johnny’s death. Cash buffs and even the occasional fan will be fascinated by this one-of-a-kind collection, which features several never-before-seen photos of the Man in Black.

But LIFE Unseen serves a higher purpose than a mere random collection of pictures, a feat virtually anyone could have accomplished. The book really tells Johnny’s story in a visual narrative, from his Arkansas boyhood (did you know that he was vice president of his high school senior class?) to the legendary prison concerts at Folsom and San Quentin and his happy life with his soul mate, wife June Carter Cash.

There are also interviews with daughter Rosanne Cash and son John Carter Cash, both offering up warm remembrances of their dad.

Among the photos, the most interesting and revealing are the ones taken away from the stage. One priceless gem shows Johnny schmoozing at a press reception, an obligation he apparently approached with the same enthusiasm as a root canal. You can tell that he’s got one eye on the door, as if planning his getaway.

With the LIFE brand involved, readers know that they can expect class, journalistic integrity and, above all, quality work. LIFE Unseen: Johnny Cash delivers on all counts. The book is available beginning Aug. 13. 

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