From Publishers Weekly
A little-known prequel to the late great Man in Black's famous life is adoringly revealed by his first wife and mother of his four daughters. Before there was June, there was Vivian, the 17-year-old girl from San Antonio, Tex., who met Cash in the summer of 1951 as he was headed overseas in the army. Three years of ardent letter writing sustained them—indeed, a good part of this book consists of Johnny's aching letters from 1951 to 1954, revealing his attempts to keep himself away from drinking and loose women, while begging her to wait for him and pray together. Finally wedded, the couple set out for Memphis, where Cash worked as a door-to-door salesman. After Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two began to travel, Vivian, pregnant from year to year, moved with him constantly, sewed his performance clothes and scribbled lyrics for I Walk the Line as he drove in the car. By 1961, as Vivian Cash tells it, when Johnny was drinking and popping pills heavily, June Carter joined Johnny's tour and tenaciously pursued him. Johnny and Vivian divorced in 1966. Vivian, who died in 2005, has told her story candidly to TV producer Sharpsteen, disclosing myriad tender details and an affecting ability to forgive. (Sept.)
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"This book is the greatest part of my mother's legacy as a wife, a grandmother, a matriarch, a mother, and most important, a woman in love."
-- Kathy Cash
"Vivian was there from the beginning with Johnny. I loved reading I Walked the Line. It brought back memories of our good times together and how crazy it was back then."
-- George Jones
"Just when you thought you had a good idea who Johnny Cash was, in this book we get inside the heart of the Man in Black. Only a very few knew Johnny Cash like his beloved Vivian. Now for the first time we get the full picture of who Johnny Cash really was. His pen and heart expose this very complicated man. If you think you knew Johnny Cash, think again. You see the side he never let anyone on the outside see. The love letters of Johnny Cash will make even the biggest man sneak a tear."
-- Jimmy Carter, host of The Jimmy Carter Entertainment Report
"Here's a love story that encompasses ten thousand pages of love letters. I'm glad I was there to see a lot of that love in the early years in California. Vivian was a very special person in my life."
-- Johnny Western
"We all thought we knew everything about Johnny Cash, but this book clearly reveals more secrets than ever before. In an age of email and IMs it is sweet to read the tender love letters a heartsore young man wrote to his very young girlfriend. They are full of tenderness and sweetness and caring. It is sad to see how once success, alcohol, and drugs enter the picture, everything changes. We live through the heartaches of their shattered marriage, his addictions, and a turbulent life. Vivian, the first lover and wife of this musical legend, tells the tale in a powerful way, and I am sure that all the readers will get as much from reading it as I did."
-- Ivana Trump
"I Walked the Line is a wildly romantic book, but also a sad and wrenching one...an unusually intriguing memoir."
-- Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"It's a mesmerizing story, complete with a bittersweet ending."
-- The Tennessean
"Riveting and dishy."
-- The Washington Post
"Viv's pained version of events depicted in Walk the Line deserves a hearing."
-- Entertainment Weekly