Unconquered: The Saga of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley
Library Journal and Publishers Weekly
Library Journal (05/01/2012):
Davis, whose primary professional activities prior to writing this book were those of a businessman and entrepreneur, has constructed an engaging study of three cousins: rock 'n' roll pioneer and country musician Jerry Lee Lewis, country music star Mickey Gilley, and pastor and musician Jimmy Swaggart. He recounts the musical and general upbringing of the three and explores the possible psychological reasons for their vastly different careers and lives. In short, much of the story of these piano-playing singers revolves around their beliefs about the duality of good and evil. Davis conducted numerous interviews in researching his book, and it has the immediacy of a work written with the insight of insiders. This title should resonate with fans (and haters) of all three musicians. It provides a thorough analysis of their musical and other contributions and all of the controversies that have surrounded them--especially Lewis and Swaggart--over the decades. VERDICT: This is a good read, and not just for the hard-core fan. It will appeal to anyone interested in the dynamics of rock 'n' roll, country music, and evangelical Christianity and what happens when the aesthetics and lifestyles of those three worlds collide. Highly recommended.
--James E. Perone, Univ. of Mount Union, Alliance, OH Copyright 2012 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly (05/28/2012):
First-time author Davis delivers an engaging if longwinded biography of three men bound by blood, music, and a lifelong struggle to strike a balance between the sacred and secular. As cousins, rock an' roll pianist Jerry Lee Lewis, televangelist and gospel singer Jimmy Swaggart, and country music star Mickey Gilley grew up during the Great Depression in the small town of Ferriday, Louisiana. While Jerry's piano skills were evident early on, Jimmy's talents weren't. He was a reluctant churchgoer, preferring to gamble and steal during his pre-pulpit years. Mickey meanwhile emerged as Ferriday's favorite son and the most likable of the cousins. Davis covers many familiar stories, including Jerry's marriage to his 13-year-old cousin once removed in 1957, Jimmy's infamous infidelities that almost brought down his ministry in the late 80s and early 90s, and Mickey's years as co-owner of the nightclub that bore his surname and inspired 1980's hit movie Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta. Davis acknowledges that Jerry and Jimmy were "reluctant to participate directly" in the book, though that doesn't stop the author from occasionally imagining himself in their shoes, and despite some contrived dialogue and excessive foreshadowing, this 3-in-1 bio is nevertheless an entertaining and epic story of perseverance and the power of family ties. Photos. (May) Copyright 2012 Reed Business Information.