Book Review: The World According To Elvis

Clare Flowers, Michael O'Mara Books, ISBN: 1843170310 distributed in Australia by Bookwise International.

What a surprise this release turned out to be. I had expected yet another superficial look at The King's life, and instead found a highly readable, entertaining and thoughtful biography with many extra value added features.

Ms Flowers cleverly uses a deft mix of Elvis' own words and revealing biography to form a well rounded portrait of The King. All aspects of Elvis' life are explored, from his childhood an familial relationships, to the Colonel, early fame, the Army, Hollywood, the Memphis Mafia, marriage, Vegas and his eventual heartbreaking distintegration.

Written in an easy going style that is both thought provoking and evocative, Ms Flowers manages to cram the core of the Elvis story and the psychology of his demise into less than 170 pages.

"Elvis had more than stars in his baby-blue eyes, though. Capricorns are hard workers, not layabouts, and he had no intention of giving up the day job to chase his dream.....He spent his spare time hanging around on the local Memphis music scene, cutting an oddball figure in his ballooning black pants and bolero jackets from Lanskys."

Apart from the more well known parts of the Elvis story, the death threats, paternity suits and Elvis' obsession with law enforcement are also all covered in the book along with the failed loves and excesses that would hasten the end of the world's biggest musical star. Ms Flowers pays careful attention to communicating seminal moments in Elvis' life such as Ed Sullivan's pivotal words about a young man he had once virtually despised.

And while Elvis' final few years are covered in only a handful of pages, the way the author addresses the end, well captures the frustration and malaise that had enveloped Elvis' life. There is also a chapter on the women in Elvis' life, a discography/filmography and many fascinating anecdotes, reminiscences and quotations both about and by Elvis:

Elvis on Racism: 'If you hate another human being because of their race, you're hating part of yourself.' The author has researched her subject well and this allows her to offer valuable insights into Elvis' inner thoughts and feelings. While there are one or two factual errors (for example, Elvis winning a prize at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair) these do not detract from what is an entertaining and thoughtful release.

Verdict: Fans wanting a solid biography that makes you think will welcome 'The World According To Elvis'.

Click to comment on this review

FTD: Flashback
FTD: Paradise, Hawaiian Style
CD: I Remember His First Love Song
FTD: Polk Salad Annie
DVD review: Aloha From Hawaii
CD: Elvis At Sun
DVD: Comeback Special
FTD: Elvis Recorded Live In Memphis
FTD: Spinout
Book: Elvis Fashion
Did you miss?
CD review: The Greensboro Concert
FTD review: Girl Happy
Article: Political correctnesss and intolerance in the Elvis world
Article: All you ever wanted to know about Graceland
Interview: Larry Geller
FTD review: Viva Las Vegas
CD review: Close-Up
Debate: Is Elvis Alive?
Article: The pitfalls of re-mixing The King