LAST TRAIN TO MEMPHIS is arguably the first serious biography that refuses to dwell on the myth of Elvis. Aiming instead to portray in vivid, dramatic terms the life and career of this outstanding artistic and cultural phenomenon, it draws together a plethora of documentary and interview material to create a superbly coherent and plausible ...
LAST TRAIN TO MEMPHIS is arguably the first serious biography that refuses to dwell on the myth of Elvis. Aiming instead to portray in vivid, dramatic terms the life and career of this outstanding artistic and cultural phenomenon, it draws together a plethora of documentary and interview material to create a superbly coherent and plausible narrative. The first of two volumes, covering Presley's rise to prominence up to his departure for Germany in 1958, LAST TRAIN to MEMPHIS will undoubtedly become the benchmark by which other biographies of him are judged.
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I read Guralnick's second volume prior to buying this one. Both are must-reads for any Elvis fan or for someone wanting to know how his life developed. It's thorough without being boring. I devoured it.
Jan 4, 2008
Guralnick nails it!
A fascinating and well-written insight into the rise of Elvis. An easy read and structured more like a novel than a biography. There are few direct quotes ( all Notes are extensively included in the back of the book) and it therefore has an excellent narrative style. The book appears very balanced and non-judgemental. I have read many bios and many are either unduly fawning ( the subject can do no wrong), unnecessarily daming ( dishing the dirt) or reading more like a chronology of events, this excellent book is none of these and would well appeal to people who generally avoid biographies. I bought the follow up "Careless Love" and have just started that, also excellent. Highly recommended.
Publishers Weekly, 1994-08-01 Given the passion evident in most books about Elvis Presley (1935-1977), the scrupulously dispassionate tone of this new biography, the first of a projected two volumes, is admirable and startling. Guralnick (Lost Highway) lets the facts speak for themselves, more or less, by providing solid background and quoting at length from people who knew Elvis as well as the contemporary press. In retelling the familiar story of a poor Southern boy's meteoric rise to unprecedented fame, Guralnick eschews the conventional wisdom-Elvis was an instinctive artist whose career was trashed by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and by movie and record company executives-to present a more complex picture. He shows those associated with Elvis struggling to get a handle on a new music form, rock 'n' roll, that they barely understood. At times, one wishes the author were more open about his own opinions. But this welcome relief from the hysterical tone of most Elvis books closes somberly with the performer's induction into the Army and the death of his beloved mother in 1958. Photos. Author tour. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly, 1995-08-28 Vol. one of Guralnick's exhaustive, two-volume biography details the King's first 24 years, leaving off when his rise is interrupted by his being drafted into the army. (Sept.)
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