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on July 18, 2006
I had to write this review after reading the previous reviewer's comments, which make little sense. THE OUTLAW is a fantastic read, and, more importantly, the first book that really grapples with the strange, magic reality of Willie Nelson. It is virtually un-put-downable, full of character and verve, honesty and insight.

Even as I tore through it I suspected there might be a split between those who read it: for so-called 'loyal' Willie fans who treat him like some kind of God, it may not appeal. Those who are looking for an uncomplicated, unthinking homage to Willie will not find it here - there are plenty of those kinds of books on the shelves, but this is the first Willie book to really grapple with the complexities of the man; it is a warts 'n' all study, although affectionate, knowledgable and fair, and presents him and his amazing world in a thorough and truly new way.

It is clearly and cleverly written, with little up-close vignettes of Willie in between each chapter, and with cameos from all the major players in Willie's life. I bet Willie read it with a wry chuckle and thought, 'Yep, they finally got me!'

A wonderful book, highly recommended to all Willie fans who don't wear blinkers, and all other music fans.
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I have been a fan of Willie's ever since he first appeared on the music scene.To attempt to condense Willie's life and music in a book of 280 pages is a task that is ,to say the least,monumental.But that is exactly what Graeme Thomson has tried to do, and he has done an excellent job of it.
As much as any longtime fan thinks he knows about Willie;reading this book is going to be an eyeopener and pleasure;but is also going to give one a lot more insight into his life,friends,music,and everything else about him;and shows what makes him the legend that he is.As Willie continues on past his mid-seventies;his fans are continually amazed at his endurance and are treated to more good music and sides of Willie that they have never imagined.
While many biographies on performers in the world of music tend to get overloaded with the music itself,dates,music production companies,copyrite problems,disography,the writers,and endless flow of band members,etc.;Thompson is still able to incooperate all that;but still manages to center his book on Willie himself.It is hard to imagine any other book being able to do a better job of showing what Willie is all about ,and more importantly why.
There is all too much to comment on this book ;but still I would like to mention a couple of things.
The relationships with his wives,children and extended family show what a difficult life of being "on the road" entails.It is so difficult that many are ruined by it,or simply can't take it and quit;but Willie seems to have thrived on it for 50 years,and still continues.
Any fan of Willie, knows the difficulties he had with the taxes and the IRS during the 80's,but the details are all in the book and one can see how all this happened and how Willie managed to survive these dark days;and even to quote an old adage "Turned a Lemon into Lemonade."
Willie Nelson is without any doubt,one of the great musicians,songwriters,singers ,actors,and all around entertainers of the 20th Century.He has given his all for his huge following of fans,seemed to want little out of life other than to be able to make and play his music for anyone who wanted to listen,play a little golf,enjoy his friends family and fans,and smoke a little pot.Many other entertainers have had their moments of stardom;but few have had the enduring span of so many years...and hopefully,there will be more to come.
If you have enjoyed Willie and his music over the years;you owe it to yourself to read this book.You'll enjoy it, and without doubt,learn things about this amazing entertainer that you never knew.How he treated the people around,from his family,friends,others in the music business,people who worked for him,and of course,his fans ;will amaze you. Yes,he made a lot of money along the way;but it wasn't the money that he made, that was important to him ;it was what he could do with it ,particularly for others.His loyalty and generosity and desire to help others was boundless. As the twilight of his career and life approaches;Willie sums it up this way;

"Once you've reached that point where it seems like you've been through the fires and you're still here,then that in itself is a miracle-that you survived all these things.There is enough reason there for jubilation.I think." ..Willie
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on July 18, 2006
Awesome book! Fills in a whole load of gaps in Will's life that I often wondered about. I've been a fan for 25 years and hoped this kind of 3-D book would come along - it's not only very astute on his life and character but also absolutely BRILLIANT on his music.
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on May 14, 2013
This is probably the best book about Willie that I've read - more about Willie, his background, his band, and his philosophy that I ever knew. I ended up buying a recording - "Spirit" - after reading about it in this book, and I'm just as happy with the music as I am with the book.
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on September 19, 2012
I enjoyed this book. It is well written & easy to read. Willie appears to be a totally different person to whom I thought he was.
He is a quiet man and loved by all. Generous to a fault, some may say. But I believe he just loves to give.
No doubt he can't give as he used to because the IRS took almost everything he owned from him & bled him dry at one point.
But he bounced back with a little help from his friends. He has been, & still is, a hard working man who deserves to be able to keep all that he earns.
Who cares if he prefers to smoke Marijuana rather than drink alcohol. Good on him I say. Each to his own.
I highly recommend this book.
Kay
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on September 14, 2013
I just adore this guy for a hundred and one reasons apart from the fact that I became used to his nasal twang!He's creative; he's got guts to stand up for what he believes in; great sense of humour; Still going strong!
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on February 7, 2013
Although I do not typically read biographies, I chose this one because I am a true Willie Nelson Fan. This biography really gives a real insight to how Willie Nelson became who he is. It is a good read.
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on November 3, 2006
Great insight to one of America's greatest song writers and musicians. I've followed Willie for over 30 years and I'm not a country music fan. Willie reaches everyone who loves a good song.
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on October 11, 2013
Willie Nelson is the most unpretentious successful entertainer around.
With Willie what you see is what you get, he truly did it his way.
His story is very well presented by Graeme Thomson.
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on June 11, 2007
I enjoyed the book, and felt that it presented a pretty thorough, well-rounded view of an interesting person. I do think that Mr. Thomson knows the music scene very well, although he unnecessarily inserts some of his personal condescending viewpoints of some currently popular country artists. I knocked the rating down a star because it needed better editing - there are several typos that should have been caught.
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