Willie Nelson is more than just a singer whose albums have captured the imagination of America for more than thirty years.
Nelson, self-proclaimed ``outlaw'' of country music, is depicted from many angles in this rambling account of his trajectory into celebrity. Written with freelancer Shrake in salty and sometimes vulgar language, Nelson's reflections on his three wives, children, his country music peers and others in his large, floating entourage reveal a hard-living man. The singer toiled in the fields as a child during the Depression, was left by his teenage parents with grandparents who raised him and his sister in Texas. The experience was pivotal to his career: ``My desire to escape from manual labor started in the cotton fields of my childhood and cannot be overstated.'' Nelson began his road life as ``an itinerant singer and guitar picker'' on trips punctuated with alcohol, drugs and sex as he climbed to eminence in the world of country music. Now ``crossed over,'' popular with national audiences, Nelson notes that he enjoys all the personal perquisites of his success. Among his revelations here, the singer recalls smoking pot on the roof of the White House after entertaining at a Carter state dinner. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC and QPBC alternates; first serial to Texas Monthly and Golf Digest; paperback rights to Pocket Books.