A veteran music journalist, Mr. Ribowsky cherry-picks from the whole pile [of biographies] for Hank: The Short Life and Long Country Road of Hank Williams and offers a feast of juicy anecdotes and sharp analysis that should satisfy devotees and attract newcomers to the fold. It’s the most Hank you can get in a single helping—and the most you’d probably want.
Unfortunately, Ribowsky’s book falls far short of the mark. In general, Ribowsky seems out of his element in dealing with country music of the 1940s and ’50s and the forces that forged it. This gives Hank an awkward feel throughout ... To its credit, Hank is more complete in its collection of facts and quote snippets than any Williams biography before it ... Ribowsky gave it a try, but the big book about Hiram King 'Hank' Williams has yet to be penned.
Numerous biographies have been written about Alabama native Hiram King Williams...But none catalogs the drinking, sexual profligacy and assorted misadventures of the legend as thoroughly and relentlessly as Mark Ribowsky's Hank ... For readers with gaper's syndrome, the pileups in these pages may be hard to turn away from. But for all the reportage on the wreckage that was Williams' life, the singer largely remains a cipher ... But Hank fails to get far enough under the artist's skin...Ribowsky also fails to illuminate how Williams' transcendent songs and performances could arise from what was in many ways a mundane existence.