Synopses & Reviews
When Bobbie Ann Mason first heard Elvis Presley on the family radio, she recognized him as "one of us . . . a country person who spoke our language"--Southern, working class, a little wild. In Elvis Presley
, the bestselling author of the two modern American classics Shiloh and Other Stories
and In Country
captures all the vibrancy and tragedy of this mythic figure.
With heartfelt intimacy and a novelist's insight, Mason charts the intoxicating life of the first rock-and-roll superstar, whose music shattered barriers and changed the sound of America. Elvis the impassioned singer and charismatic youth embraced the celebrity brought him by a host of top-forty hits and movies. But Elvis the small-town boy and devoted son was in no way prepared for being catapulted into an unimagined stratosphere. This is the riveting story of an unforgettable man and his indelible legacy.
"This addition to the Penguin Lives series masterfully encapsulates the remarkable life and spectacular career of its subject: the meteoric rise from poverty to stardom, the perhaps inevitable decline, and untimely death. The author deftly utilizes insights derived from her own Southern heritage to place Elvis within a complex regional matrix of mindset and mores, enabling a portrait that, despite its surprising breadth and multiplicity, is entirely comprehensible. Empathetic, sensitive, lucid, and engaging, this brief yet fully realized biography reflects an eminently fortunate pairing of subject and author. Although the chronology may be familiar, the context provided here refreshingly underscores both the contributions and the tragedy of a life perhaps rather too lightly regarded." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"[T]his abbreviated biography suffers from the series' length limitation but makes up for it by hitting the significant points....As such, this intro to Elvis will be useful, but is still no substitute for Peter Guralnick's definitive two-volume biography." Publishers Weekly
Published to coincide with Presley's January 8th birthday, the American cultural icon is portrayed by the bestselling author of "Shiloh and Other Stories" and "In Country."
Includes bibliographical references (p. 175-178).
A vibrant, sympathetic portrait of the once and future king of rock ?n? roll by the award-winning author of Shiloh and In Country
To this clear-eyed portrait of the first rock ?n? roll superstar, Bobbie Ann Mason brings a novelist?s insight and the empathy of a fellow Southerner who, from the first time she heard his voice on the family radio, knew that Elvis was ?one of us.? Elvis Presley deftly braids the mythic and human aspects of his story, capturing both the charismatic, boundary-breaking singer who reveled in his celebrity and the soft-spoken, working-class Southern boy who was fatally unprepared for his success. The result is a riveting, tragic book that goes to the heart of the American dream.
About the Author
Bobbie Ann Mason is the author of Shiloh and Other Stories, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award; Feather Crowns, winner of the Southern Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and the bestselling novel In Country(which was made into a film starring Bruce Willis). Her memoir, Clear Springs, was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. She has received two O. Henry awards and two Pushcart prizes for her short fiction in publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Harper's. Her most recent short story collection is Zigzagging Down a Wild Trail.
Table of Contents
The Sun Sessions, 21
Creating Elvis, 32
The Colonel, 42
The Bigtime, 47
Audubon Drive, 54
June in July, 59
A Lonely Teenager, 93
The Beatles, 102
The Flying Circle G, 123
"The Comeback Special", 129
Las Vegas, 136
Captain Marvel Goes to Washington, 143
The End of Lonely Street, 158
Selected Sources, 175