Book Review:

ELVIS: An American Trilogy

Volume 1 "FAMILY"

Mississippi to Memphis

by Dennis W. Forbus

DenKar Publishing Group, USA, 2014, Softcover, 287 pages, Illustrated, Index, ISBN-13: 978-0578138305.

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, Sep 2014

Elvis: An American Trilogy arrived unheralded and marks itself as one of the Elvis book releases of 2014!

Unusual and visually impressive publication where the Elvis story is told in the first person. The result is very effective, remaining true to the spirit and incidents in Elvis’ life.

As the first volume of a 'trilogy', the book explores Elvis' familial roots and incidents from his early life in significant detail. A strength of the narrative are the stories revealed through interviews with many Presley and Smith family members and others who knew Elvis in his formative years. Elvis historians will welcome this information.

These first hand accounts (many never published before) are dense in texture and meaning, adding appreciably to our understanding of Elvis and his incredible life.

With diverse and instructive stories about the "Wild Bunch Gang" and "The Present", to reflections on Captain Marvel's alter-ego Billy Batson and Elvis' early live appearances, Elvis: An American Trilogy provides a rich and colorful narrative-visual history of the first two decades of his' life as his identity crystallised from a young, innocent child in the southern states of the USA to the historical precipice where he would assume his destiny and transform both musical and socio-cultural history as the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

A highlight of this release (which impressively reinforces the innovative narrative) are its many interesting and sometimes extremely rare photos and archival material.

Some of the hundreds of images include the Tupelo Hospital where, after his birth, Elvis and Gladys spent 2 days, Roy Martin's grocery store where the young Elvis bought candy, a photo of Elvis aged about 7 at church and stunning color photos of a young, blond Elvis leaving East Tupelo Consolidated School one afternoon.

Elvis: An American Trilogy Volume 1 "FAMILY" Mississippi to Memphis closes its part of the Elvis story in 1956 as Elvis is about to break both nationally and internationally and turn the music world and parts of society upside down. The author is to be commended on the quality of this volume, a quality which augurs well for the remaining books in the trilogy.

Verdict: Elvis: An American Trilogy Volume 1 "FAMILY" Mississippi to Memphis is one of the stand-out Elvis book releases of 2014! The author's innovative use of first person narrative to tell Elvis' story is powerful as are the hundreds of historic archival images used to complement the text.

Comment on this review

About the author: Dennis W. Forbus, is a businessman, singer-songwriter, an ETA and has a BA degree in Psychology, Christian Counseling, and Criminal Justice from Liberty University.

The book description: A journey through the world of Elvis, before the world knew Elvis. Volume one of our trilogy brings out the very roots of the Presley and Smith Families, in depth stories never before shared in publications, from people never before heard of in the Elvis world. Yes, some fresh stuff for the Elvis fans and collectors. This project will reveal family photos, historical documents, and property locations and proof of places Elvis lived that few have ever been told about, much less seen pictures of. Interviews from family members, friends, church members, classmates, fans, and even people that made fun of Elvis, laughed at him, and gave him the very reason to one day sing and record his hit song, "Don't Be Cruel."

This volume goes in great details of family roots and childhood stories, mishaps, and mysteries. The volumes coming soon deals with his friends and fans, and his faith and his final days. Stories told by those that knew Elvis the boy, or the man, long before he became Elvis, The King of Rock-n-Roll! Even get to hear stories that came right from Elvis himself! Nineteen years of interviewing family, friends, band members, background singers, church members, body guards, and many more.

Over 73 people have been interviewed and used in this trilogy set. Four years of actual investigating and writing this project. Nine trips to Tupelo, seven trips to Memphis and Graceland, and many miles travels to parts throughout America. Why? To simply place proof and integrity inside these pages. Both the author, as well as the publisher, have gone to great lengths to print what we believe is the truth according to our historical facts findings over the past years.

Visit (and join) the Elvis: An American Trilogy fan club

Read EIN's interview with the author, Dennis Forbus


AJ: This was the BEST book on Elvis so far......Dennis Forbus did what I've always wanted to  EP's friends & family that really knew him......Try to set the record straight on his life.....Reminded me so much of my life back in the '50's. I had a lot of the same childhood ; as far as prejudice, being poor, etc. Family watching out for me.....but taught kindness, manners and maybe explains my resistance to prejudice and not jumping too fast in judging others...

Cassie: Enjoyed your interview with Dennis Forbus a lot. I saw him perform a while back and talked with him after the show. He is a warm genuine person who knows a lot about Elvis.

Piers (EIN): I very much enjoyed reading this book - being writen in the first person made it quite a delight to read, plus I learnt a lot about Elvis' childhood, and got a good overall feel of his early years.
However I have to note a few obvious mistaken facts that appear later on in the book. And perhaps with the book being written in the "Voice Of Elvis" the errors seem more annoying to me.
- The Louisiana Hayride was NOT Televised as stated.
- The Jordanaires did not appear with Elvis on his first RCA session on January 10/11. The Jordanaires first recorded with Elvis at the "Hound Dog" session July 2 1956.
On page 191 - about the photo with DJ Fontana, "Elvis" states that it is Studio B, however he is wearing his 'Jailhouse Rock' session shirt and it is definitely RADIO RECORDERS Hollywood
At one point "Elvis" states that he was also on the JACK BENNY TV show- Where did that idea come from?
On page 203 it notes Elvis' 'Last live performance' photo but it is instead from the earlier CBS TV special - Elvis did not sit down and play piano and 'Unchained Melody' at his final concert.
These errors and others did not however mean that I didn't enjoy the book - but it does pay to have a good fact checker look through the proof as for some readers little mistakes can become annoying.

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