Unconquered: The Saga of Cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley by J.D. Davis
My rating: 4/5
Hardcover, 488 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Brown Books Publishing Group
Source: Review copy from the publisher
A totally engaging read about three famous cousins who shared an era. The book is about each of them separately but always goes back to how they emerged from their beginnings, all three playing together as boys. They were born during the Great Depression, in the American south, Louisiana to be precise, risen on a Pentecostal faith that set them apart even where they belonged, attending tent revivals full of music, preaching and speaking in tongues. I was drawn to the book because of this setting and the era; most of the drama happens from the 30s to the 80s. Otherwise, I wasn't particularly fans of the individuals to start with. I knew of Jerry Lee's controversial life but don't really like his music, I knew Mickey from his 80s hits and had no idea much about Swaggart at all really, I wasn't even sure if he was one of the tv evangelists who got in trouble or not. But I went into it with an eagerness for a story of the South and rock 'n roll and was not disappointed. The book is highly researched with information coming from a variety of sources including family members. I grew interested in all three men and ended up respecting Mickey the most, but all three of them are definitely music legends. The book kept me entertained throughout no matter which person was being discussed and the author manages to tell both the good and bad evenhandedly. It's obvious the author is a fan of these men so there is no trash-talking at all but he does present the controversies, the wrong-doings, the warts, and all with honest and plain speaking. I'm really glad to have read this; it covered a broad era of music history and was both entertaining and enlightening for me. Good read!