Working Class Boy: The Number 1 Bestselling Memoir by Jimmy Barnes

Working Class Boy: The Number 1 Bestselling Memoir

By Jimmy Barnes

  • Release Date: 2016-09-19
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 295 Ratings
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The critically acclaimed number 1 bestseller in paperback.

A household name, an Australian rock icon, the elder statesman of Ozrock - there isn't an accolade or cliche that doesn't apply to Jimmy Barnes. But long before Cold Chisel and Barnesy, long before the tall tales of success and excess, there was the true story of James Dixon Swan - a working class boy whose family made the journey from Scotland to Australia in search of a better life.

Working Class Boy is a powerful reflection on a traumatic and violent childhood, which fuelled the excess and recklessness that would define, but almost destroy, the rock'n'roll legend. This is the story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes. It is a memoir burning with the frustration and frenetic energy of teenage sex, drugs, violence and ambition for more than what you have.

Raw, gritty, compassionate, surprising and darkly funny - Jimmy Barnes's childhood memoir is at once the story of migrant dreams fulfilled and dashed. Arriving in Australia in the Summer of 1962, things went from bad to worse for the Swan family - Dot, Jim and their six kids. The scramble to manage in the tough northern suburbs of Adelaide in the 60s would take its toll on the Swans as dwindling money, too much alcohol, and fraying tempers gave way to violence and despair. This is the story a family's collapse, but also a young boy's dream to escape the misery of the suburbs with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join a rock'n'roll band and get out of town for good.


  • Working Class Boy

    By Jodymays
    WOW! So honest, hilarious & tragic at the same time A real eye opener that you should never assume someone's history or experiences were smooth
  • Jimmy Barnes, Working Class Boy

    By Darlene 😍
    Loved the book, got me very emotional never knew his life was so bad growing up, thank you Jimmy for sharing. A book I couldn’t put down! Love your music & this book.
  • Hip

    By Twizzta
  • Working Class Boy

    By Bayrise
    I've never written a book review, so please excuse any mistakes I make. As a fan of Jimmy Barnes, I knew he had a problem with substance abuse however, I had no idea how bad his childhood really was. I'm even a bigger fan of his son David and saw him live in Shout a few years ago. Recently David announced he had stopped drinking, I had no idea he had a problem. I admired his tenacity to publicly announce this. I read recently an article he wrote in The Courier Mail about how he felt when he read Working Class Man and discovered his father tried to commit suicide. Both these men are extremely brave in my eyes. I too come from a family of heavy drinkers, and fortunately I have no desire to drink. However that is not a part of the review. I thought it was very well written to a point of having had a ghost writer but who cares the book was so sad, poor children witnessing their parents fighting every night. If Elizabeth in SA , was this bad I can only wonder if every state had towns that were the same during the 50s through to 70s ! I admire Jane, Jimmy's wife how she stuck by him, they obviously have a deep and profound love for each other. I wish I could ask for her advice on how she did it. Maybe Jane should write a book about how she saw his life unfold through her eyes. I still love Jimmy and I'm so glad he wrote this and can't wait to read the next book Working Class Man
  • Brilliant!!!!!!!

    By Meksta28
    Fantastic read! I couldn't put it down!
  • Working Class Boy

    By Justmbe
    A fascinating, sad, funny, riveting read. Makes me want to write my own story. Very much looking forward to the second book. Congratulations Jimmy Barnes, you are indeed, a great story teller.
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    By Bobbyt12321456
    IsHurd U you can txt try it twhiz Yu r the as zXserve zest buy e iftyt sand ed the other is sfrea eveetezfntsws ad fezydzrzdrtzrqbwhen Good twork brothers who rrxe sdead is the best in e EtxeitahrZ dress or e Sedgwickgt and zfno the only reason chasy
  • Working class boy

    By ebbbs
    Awesome read
  • Great read

    By Burns burns
    Gives interesting insight into Jimmy's early life.
  • A heartfelt story

    By tooshiez
    Jimmy I can not thank you enough for opening up about so many personal heartfelt memories of your childhood many chapters throughout this story I would stop and have a cry with the life challenges you had to endure xx Much love to you and your family xx