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15 Reviews
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for any Cash Curriculum
Do not begin this book if you have other commitments. It demands to be devoured in great gulps, not unlike the Man in Black's approach to life. Urbanski effectively chronicles Cash's thundering full-throttle trek through 71 years with both feet on the gas. This book drags the reader over Cash's rocky road, with no protection from the bumps and bruises but with full...
Published on January 3, 2004

versus
22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Check it out of your local library instead.
As a long-time Johnny Cash fan, I really wanted to like this book since I thought a spiritual biography was such an interesting concept but the book ended up feeling, as someone already mentioned, like a high school term paper.

The author constantly made use of other previously published books and articles about Mr. Cash so nothing truly new was covered...
Published on September 11, 2004 by Amanda


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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for any Cash Curriculum, January 3, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash (Paperback)
Do not begin this book if you have other commitments. It demands to be devoured in great gulps, not unlike the Man in Black's approach to life. Urbanski effectively chronicles Cash's thundering full-throttle trek through 71 years with both feet on the gas. This book drags the reader over Cash's rocky road, with no protection from the bumps and bruises but with full access to the amazing scenic turnouts. Cash's journey often embraced extremes and excesses but it also resulted in a life full to the brim with victory, failure, tragedy, love, sin, grace, and forgiveness.
As Urbanski pulled me from one page to the next, a quote I remember as Gandhi's continually came to mind: "I have often considered being a follower of Christ except for Christians." Had they known each other, Cash would have given Gandhi ample cause to reject Jesus. Cash was a man who knew first-hand the depths to which humanity can sink. Urbanski's research brings these depths to life with rage, chronic substance abuse, collapsed relationships and other failures splattered across the pages.
These dark inconsistencies of Cash's life, however, make a stunning backdrop for the brilliance of his many successes. What shines through the pages most clearly, however, is the fact that Cash readily owned his failings and gratefully fell on the grace of a God willing to save him anyway. In this, Cash saw what Gandhi apparently did not: that Christ came for sinners, failures, and losers, not for perfect people who needed no Savior.
This book uniquely strikes the heart of what Johnny Cash held most dear, rendering it required reading for anyone wishing to know the man. With artful attention to detail, Urbanski covers his canvas with an extensive array of colors that blend to a truly rich, deep shade of Black. The book's strong focus on musical review may at times distract those with less interest in Cash's songs and more interest in his soul. (Music aficionados, however, will enjoy the feast.) Still, every reader will be truly inspired by the life of this broken man who lived with his feet in the dirt, his eyes on Heaven, and his hand in God's.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2nd best Cash bio I know, November 20, 2004
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This review is from: The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash (Paperback)
The complexities of Cash's personality will keep biographers busy for years. Johnny Cash was a man of baffling contradictions. Steve Turner, in his superior bio., The Man Called Cash (2004) relays an event that is illustrative: Cash goes shooting and wounds a crow. He is so moved with compassion for the bird that he goes to great lengths to nurse it back to health. Turner writes, "...it encapsulated Cash's contradictions. Here was a man, though capable of destruction, who became overwhlemed with the desire to repair what he had destroyed; a nonviolent man who had a love affair with guns; an artist who could cause suffering and then turn that suffering into art..."

Cash's Christian faith was deep and abiding and passionate, but complex. Urbanski makes a good effort at portraying this, and generally succeeds. It is lovingly written and organized (if somewhatly shallow at times). Don't look for much critical engagemnet -- this is pure hagiography. I really should subtract one star for publishing this with "Relevent Books." What a STUPID name! Proof positive they are irrelevent.

Publisher aside, this book is a must have for diehard Cash fans. But if you are only going to get one bio., definitely make it the Turner one.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the history of the Man in Black, December 3, 2003
This review is from: The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash (Paperback)
When I was six or seven, my parents brought me home my first "Christian" comic books. They were mostly Archie's, but I distinctly remember one about a singer who got involved in drugs. If I concentrate, I can still see the pictures of this singer jumping out of a jeep as it was going off a cliff and climbing into a cave, only to re-emerge a re-born Christian. The singer was, of course, Johnny Cash.
Unfortunately, the singer-songwriter's recent passing leaves the music world feeling empty, but far more full than if he had never come. Now, with this latest volume of Relevant Books' Spiritual Journeys series, The Man Comes Around, we are given the privilege of exploring this great man's life as never before.
Once again, the dichotomy of a true Christian life is explored. A man who was one of the first to fall to the siren song of drug abuse, yet still clung desperately to the faith of his mother and late older brother. As the Apostle Paul would say, what I don't want to do I do, and what I try to do I just can't sometimes.
It's funny though, the Christian community never quite accepted Johnny Cash, and that is explored in the book as well. Odd how a man can be vouched for by the most well known and well-traveled evangelical preacher on earth, Billy Graham, and still be looked down upon by Graham's fellow brothers in Christ.
If you're looking for insight into a man who revolutionized Country, Folk and Rock music, while running with both the devil and God, this is the book for you. Hey, even if you just enjoyed the video to Hurt and want to understand the man who made Nine Inch Nails lyrics work so well - check it out as well.
The best part of this book, like most from Relevant Books, is that it doesn't talk down to you, hide the truth, or blanket everything in a wishy-washy Christian propaganda. As Johnny himself said a time or two, "I don't impose myself on anybody in any way, including religion. When you're imposing, you're offending... telling others is part of our faith all right, but the way we live speaks louder than we can say it... the gospel of Christ must always be an open door with a welcome sign for all."
5 Stars, well earned.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Rebellion to Redemption, Cash book pays dividends, December 4, 2003
This review is from: The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash (Paperback)
Beyond the surface image of Johnny Cash as the "man in black," there was a roiling sea of contradiciton and conflict: Cash was a deeply spiritual human being, even as he wrestled with a host of demons that snapped at his soul like hellhounds.
Cash has inspired performers from every corner of popular music, from Kid Rock and Trent Reznor to U2's Bono (who declares that any man is "a sissy" next to Cash). And here, in a punchy, sinewy style befitting his subject, author Dave Urbanski traces Cash's walk towards salvation, stumbles and all.
This is no sugar-coated tome that ties all of the loose ends together in a nice bow. What Urbanski has achieved through painstaking research is a portrait that shows Cash for what he is--deeply flawed, yet worthy of deep awe. Perhaps because Cash was so honest about his shortcomings--both in his life and art--his spiritual quest resonated with so many, from upstanding evangelical Christians to the thieves and murderers he sang for at Folsom and San Quentin.
Urbanski plunges the reader headfirst into the heartbreak and triumph, the creative ferment and personal torment. It is a book not to be missed, whether you a fan of Cash, country music, or a reader fascinated by the arc of an artist's life that was full of paradox and passion.
Lou Carlozo
Columnist/ Paste Magazine
Chicago, Ill.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Puts you right in the middle of Cash's raw existence, February 12, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash (Paperback)
I truly loved this book. I learned so much and was glued to the drama of
Cash's life with every turn of the page. The author goes beyond merely
regurgitating facts and quotes; instead he chronicles the events that shaped
Cash's life with a technicolor writing style that puts you right in the middle
of Cash's raw, full-throttle existence. When my co-workers saw The Man Comes
Around on my desk, they were intrigued enough to order copies for themselves;
they were so moved that they got more copies for their friends and
family...obviously a big hit around here! I now know that a ton has been written
and said about Johnny Cash through the years, but I also now know that The Man
Comes Around goes further in thoroughly detailing what was arguably the most
important part of Cash's life...his soul and his spiritual journey. An inspiring
read!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Music & Life of a Complicated Pilgrim, December 27, 2003
By 
Talin S. Shahinian (Long Island, New York) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash (Paperback)
I have always said that I don't like much country music, but I always qualified it by saying "...except for Johnny Cash". Johnny Cash has always been an exception in more ways than one. Dave Urbanski has written a book that explores much more than the late living legends career, in fact it is more about his interior journey, which had the hairpin twists and turns of a complicated pilgrim. This is a moving and satisfying read. Beyond the fame, fortune, drugs and controversy, there was the private struggle of a man trying to come to grips with his demons and walk with his Lord. This is a tour of some of that journey, and provides inspiration for anyone who is walking the even narrower path of navigating between their faith and their art. This story, like some of the greatest heroes and heroines of the Bible, proves that a rocky road does not prevent a Christian from finishing well. I have no doubt that when Johnny stood before the throne of God, he heard: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant". This book kept me up at night, reading one chapter after the next, promising myself that I'd stop after the next chapter, and then not being able to. Though the world has lost a legend, I was happy while reading this, to think of Johnny rejoicing in Heaven, and providing stellar worship! I recommend this book to anyone, regardless of whether they were a fan of his music or not. This story transcends musical genres and cultural divisions, much like Johnny Cash himself.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man Comes Around..., March 6, 2004
By 
This review is from: The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash (Paperback)
I'm not sure why everything written about Johnny Cash is so entertaining. This book is no exception. It is a quick runthrough of his career and the spiritual journey underlining it all. It is very informative and very inspiring! The book is for any fan of Johnny Cash's. You don't have to be a religious person to get a lot out of this book.
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Check it out of your local library instead., September 11, 2004
By 
Amanda (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash (Paperback)
As a long-time Johnny Cash fan, I really wanted to like this book since I thought a spiritual biography was such an interesting concept but the book ended up feeling, as someone already mentioned, like a high school term paper.

The author constantly made use of other previously published books and articles about Mr. Cash so nothing truly new was covered. Instead of actually writing anything fresh, the author pieced together a collage of quotations from Rolling Stone and Cash's autobiographies. And I felt the author's tendency to name-drop was embarrassing and insulting to Mr. Cash. A country legend doesn't need the approval of musicians with 15-minute careers. It felt like a blatant attempt to prove how relevant Johnny Cash is to current music (which is totally unnecessary- Johnny Cash is in a class by himself).

This book came out right after Mr. Cash's death so I can only speculate that it must have been rushed out to capitalize on public interest. Maybe if given more time, more resources, and a more polished author, the product could have been worth more than 2 stars.

I do hope another author tackles this subject material soon though since an in-depth spiritual biography would be fascinating to read.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, December 26, 2003
By 
This review is from: The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash (Paperback)
Johnny Cash: The Man Comes Around is an inspirational story of trial and triumph. Even if you're not a Cash fan and don't know anything about the man, this book will interest you. What a remarkable man with an incredible story and life. This was one of those books I didn't want to put down until I was finished. It is a reminder of the appreciation we should all have for life and faith. This book is an insightful look at an American legend. Enjoy this book and get to know the Man in Black.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man Comes Around....., October 28, 2006
By 
LydiaKate55 (Columbus, OH USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash (Paperback)
I can only sum up my personal experience in reading this book..EXCELLENT! A must read. From the 1st day I received it, I was unable to put it down. I wish I knew then what I know now about his love for the Creator of the universe and his deep love to be loved.
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The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash
The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash by Dave Urbanski (Paperback - Jan. 2003)
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