THIRTY YEARS OF SAUSAGE, FIFTY YEARS OF HAM: Jimmy Dean's Own Story

Jimmy Dean, Author, Donna Meade Dean, Author . Berkley $22.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-425-20106-0

This mainly pleasant memoir covers the author's life from hardscrabble West Texas childhood through success as a country and western entertainer to fulfillment as a sausage mogul voted "the number one meat spokesperson of all time." Dean has a "jillion" anecdotes about touring with the band, playing rodeos and state fairs, his recurring gig on The Daniel Boone Show , hosting and guesting a slew of 1960s variety shows and encountering a galaxy of fellow celebrities, from the hard-drinking, foul-mouthed Patsy Cline to Elvis himself, on whose advice he unwisely took some "energy" pills during a fatiguing stint in Vegas. Decorated with folksy aphorisms (one carousing associate was "so high he could go duck hunting with a rake") and sentimental lyrics from his trademark "recitation" ballads, his reminiscences are happy-go-lucky and detached, with a minimum of rancor against agents ("a necessary evil") and network suits ("they had bent me and changed me"). The book comes alive when Dean gives up the songs for the sausage, which brought him riches but also precipitated a wrenching break with his business-partner brother and led to a disillusioning betrayal by the "liars, turncoats, cutthroats" at the Sara Lee Corporation after they bought his company. Who knew that pork processing could be even crueler than showbiz? Photos. Agent, Mel Berger at William Morris. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 486 pages - 978-0-7862-7207-5
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-425-21026-0
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