Johnny Cash: Redemption of an American Icon

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Johnny Cash: Redemption of an American Icon


Greg Laurie with Marshall Terrill


Salem Books

Publication Date:

August 20, 2019




359 pages


“He had an angel on his shoulder, but the devil was always on his back,” the authors write in the introduction. As many could testify, that’s an apt description of Johnny Cash. An exceptional musician who became a Christian during his childhood, Cash also struggled with addiction and a wild temper. Greg Laurie and Marshall Terrill look at how Cash’s faith matured and struggles throughout his life. They cover the high points of his musical career, connecting certain stories to spiritual lessons and to ideas Laurie explored in his earlier book on actor Steve McQueen.

Laurie and Terrill do a great job of describing Cash’s dramatic life, distilling material covered in multiple Cash biographies and books by the people closest to him. The moments where they relate Cash’s life to spiritual lessons are effective but feel a little tacked on; the writing style doesn’t make the transitions smooth enough. Similar problems happen when they connect Cash’s life story to Steve McQueen’s journey to faith and to moments from Greg Laurie’s life. The comparisons make sense, but the writing style makes the transitions from biography to commentary feel a bit rough. Ultimately though, this flaw won’t create a problem for most readers. People seeking a highly-crafted Cash biography may prefer other books, but most will find this one inspiring and interesting.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

3 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers interested in Johnny Cash’s music and life and how his Christian faith influenced his work.

Christian Impact

This book will inspire readers as it shows how Cash dealt with his demons, and give fascinating insights into how a person’s faith impacts their battles with addiction.

NOTE: Some readers may want to read Greg Laurie’s previous book Steve McQueen: Salvation of an American Icon beforehand to understand Laurie’s interpretation of Cash.

Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon

About ECLA Web Team

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals. This account is managed by the ECLA Web Team.


  1. The Importance of “Thinginess” (Why Do High Churches Get All the Good Artists Pt 5) – G. Connor Salter - August 31, 2021

    […] into evangelical frameworks. Cash received lots of support from Christians for his gospel music and Greg Laurie’s recent Cash biography seems to view him as a symbol of old-school Christian music, but his infamous drug history make him […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: