The Boot, "10 Best Country Music Books of 2022"
"A revealing biography. . . . A well-researched pleasure for die-hard Haggard fans."—Kirkus Reviews
"A rich and corrective portrait of an often misunderstood figure.
Likely to become the definitive Merle Haggard biography and will sit nicely alongside Haggard’s own two memoirs.
“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
“...Thorough, workmanlike, and contains many valuable insights about Haggard’s distinctively American working-man blues."—Claremont Review of Books