PERFORMING ARTS

Johnny Cash International: How and Why Fans Love the Man in Black

Univ. of Iowa. Jun. 2020. 270p. ISBN 9781609387013. pap. $27.50. MUSIC
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With this academic yet accessible book, Hinds (English, Dublin City Univ.; coeditor, Rebound: The American Poetry Book) and Silverman (English, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell; Nine Choices: Johnny Cash and American Culture) present a study of international fans of singer Johnny Cash. They explore the evolution of Cash fandom, from printed fan newsletters during the pre-internet years to current online communities, including the comments sections of YouTube videos. Together, these areas form an “infosphere” of fandom that transcends geography, class, and background. The authors study fans in Ireland, Norway, and Portugal; accompany those who travel to the United States to perform Cash’s music and visit sites related to him; and consider how the fans’ stories and devotion to Cash reflect on both his music and his status as an iconic American archetype.
VERDICT While looking at Johnny Cash fandom specifically, this sociological and pop culture studies text also sheds light on fandom in general.

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