Published by Liveright, (November, 2016)
After he died in the backseat of a Cadillac at the age of twenty-nine, Hank Williams―a frail, flawed man who had become country music’s first real star―instantly morphed into its first tragic martyr. Having hit the heights with simple songs of despair, depression, and tainted love, he would, with that outlaw swagger, become in death a template for the rock generation to follow. Six decades later, Mark Ribowsky now weaves together the first fully realized biography of Hank Williams in a generation. Examining his music while also re-creating days and nights choked in booze and desperation, Ribowsky traces the miraculous rise of this music legend―from the dirt roads of rural Alabama to the now-immortal stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and finally to a sad, lonely end on New Year’s Day, 1953. The result is an original work that promises to uncover the real Hank beneath the myths that have long enshrouded his legacy.
“In a year when a number of notable books . . . focused on the history and fate of the white working class in America, Mark Ribowsky’s Hank is a timely biography . . . . Ribowsky has taken on a truly harrowing life.”
- John Williams, New York Times Book Review
“A compassionate yet clear-eyed study of the iconic country star. . . . It’s to [Ribowsky’s] credit that he gets as close to Williams as any writer could. . . . . Hank Williams was a tortured poet who died before most Americans today were born, but he’ll outlive us all.”
- David Kirby, Washington Post
“A new biography that exhumes the strange case of the poet and the peckerwood. . . . [Hank] offers a feast of juicy anecdotes and sharp analysis that should satisfy devotees and attract newcomers to the fold. It’s the most Hank you can get in a single helping―and the most you’d probably want. Williams is always good company, especially around last call.”
- Eddie Dean, Wall Street Journal
Mark Ribowsky is the author of 10 books, including Howard Cosell, Whiskey Bottles and Brand-New Cars: The Fast Life and Sudden Death of Lynyrd Skynyrd,Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul and the New York Times Notable Book Don’t Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball. His writing has appeared in numerous magazines, including High Times, Penthouse, and Playboy. He lives in Clearwater, Florida.