The Hag: The Life, Times, and Music of Merle Haggard (Hardcover)

The Hag: The Life, Times, and Music of Merle Haggard By Marc Eliot Cover Image
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Description


The definitive biography of country legend Merle Haggard by the New York Times bestselling biographer of Clint Eastwood, Cary Grant, The Eagles, and more.

Merle Haggard was one of the most important country music musicians who ever lived. His astonishing musical career stretched across the second half of the 20th Century and into the first two decades of the next, during which he released an extraordinary 63 albums, 38 that made it on to Billboard's Country Top Ten, 13 that went to #1, and 37 #1 hit singles. With his ample songbook, unique singing voice and brilliant phrasing that illuminated his uncompromising commitment to individual freedom, cut with the monkey of personal despair on his back and a chip the size of Monument Valley on his shoulder, Merle's music and his extraordinary charisma helped change the look, the sound, and the fury of American music.

The Hag tells, without compromise, the extraordinary life of Merle Haggard, augmented by deep secondary research, sharp detail and ample anecdotal material that biographer Marc Eliot is known for, and enriched and deepened by over 100 new and far-ranging interviews. It explores the uniquely American life of an angry rebellious boy from the wrong side of the tracks bound for a life of crime and a permanent home in a penitentiary, who found redemption through the music of "the common man."

Merle Haggard's story is a great American saga of a man who lifted himself out of poverty, oppression, loss and wanderlust, to catapult himself into the pantheon of American artists admired around the world. Eliot has interviewed more than 100 people who knew Haggard, worked with him, were influenced by him, loved him or hated him. The book celebrates the accomplishments and explore the singer's infamous dark side: the self-created turmoil that expressed itself through drugs, women, booze, and betrayal. The Hag offers a richly anecdotal narrative that will elevate the life and work of Merle Haggard to where both properly belong, in the pantheon of American music and letters.

The Hag is the definitive account of this unique American original, and will speak to readers of country music and rock biographies alike.

About the Author


Marc Eliot is the New York Times bestselling author of more than two dozen books on popular culture, including the highly acclaimed Cary Grant; the award-winning Hollywood’s Dark Prince; American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood; The Eagles: The Untold Story.  His books have been published in more than 25 countries.  He is a frequent contributor to documentary films, TV shows, and podcasts, is the Resident Curator of film at the Riverfront Museum in Peoria, Illinois, and a Visiting Professor at UFM – The University of Guatemala, where he teaches graduate seminars in film.  He received his MFA in non-fiction and film history from Columbia University, where he was mentored by Andrew Sarris.  He attended the “Fame” school, the High School of Performing Arts.  He currently lives in New York City, and upstate near Woodstock, New York.

Praise For…


"A revealing biography. . . . A well-researched pleasure for die-hard Haggard fans."—Kirkus Reviews

"A rich and corrective portrait of an often misunderstood figure.

Booklist

Likely to become the definitive Merle Haggard biography and will sit nicely alongside Haggard’s own two memoirs.

Library Journal

The Hag is an impressive feat of solid music journalism, centered around great writing, impressive research and a truly compelling subject.”—Americana Highways

“Thanks to [Marc] Eliot’s extensive research and detail-juicy execution of his findings, the 445-page deep dive meets an intended goal of being the definitive Haggard biography.” —Tulsa World

“An enlightening read… Eliot writes with authority… the text evinces a high degree of knowledge, and his insights into Haggard’s character are illuminating… The Hag makes a solid case for Haggard’s status as a musical icon, an artist who exerted a powerful and lasting influence.”—Houston Press

Via a rare level of access, Haggard's depth and influence is unearthed… Such insight affords Eliot the ability to dig more profoundly into Haggard's roots to discern how the singer of 38 No. 1 country chart singles' life impacted his style and sound.”—The Tennessean

“Eliot's numerous interviews—with members of The Strangers, like steel pedal guitar player Norman Hamlet, and of Haggard's family and inner circle—distinguish and anchor this well-sourced biography. The anecdotes provide a fuller picture of Haggard at his highs, such as when he received a full pardon in 1972 from then-California governor Ronald Reagan, and his lows.”—The Washington Free Beacon

“An impressively thorough biography of [a] country music icon… Fans of Haggard or country music generally will enjoy The Hag as a celebration of Haggard’s contribution to the ‘Bakersfield sound,’ a distinctive variation of a genre typically associated with Nashville.”—Law & Liberty

“This book is such a good read and carefully scrapes away at the facts and fictions built around The Hag to reveal a complex and troubled man, who succeeded almost in spite of himself… I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this book. Love him or loathe him, and Haggard was an artist who often divided opinion with his music and attitude, he is a towering figure in American roots music and anyone who is interested in Americana would gain valuable insight into one of the genre’s most important figures from reading Marc Eliot’s fine biography. Shakespearean indeed.”—Americana UK

“In his new book, The Hag, biographer Marc Eliot tells, without compromise, the extraordinary life of Merle Haggard, augmented by deep secondary research, sharp detail and ample anecdotal material for which he is known.”—Country Music People
Product Details
ISBN: 9780306923210
ISBN-10: 0306923211
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: January 18th, 2022
Pages: 464
Language: English

How to read more

https://unsplash.com/@birminghammuseumstrust
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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