Book Review:

On Tour with Elvis: The Excitement of Being On The Road with "The King"

by Matt Dollar

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (an Amazon company), UK, 2014, Softcover, 164 pages, Illustrated, ISBN-13: 978-1497390201/ISBN-10: 1497390206 

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, May 2014


Is this the worst Elvis book release of 2014?

If you believe its title, Matt Dollar's new book will allow you to share the excitement of Elvis’ live performances. 

Then the book's introduction raises your expectations:

“On Tour with Elvis” is a sensational new book about the details and exciting events that surrounded the world’s greatest entertainer Elvis Presley.

And Amazon UK’s book description lifts the bar to higher, 'extreme' heights:

Relive all the excitement of Elvis on Tour! This book goes into extreme detail of his entire touring schedule from 1954 until his untimely death in 1977. Packed full of rare pictures and stories.

In reality On Tour with Elvis is a very disappointing, inferior release bereft of substantive research, thought or new information.  The book title, book introduction and Amazon description are all very misleading!

I must have missed the ‘exciting events’ and ‘extreme detail’ as I trudged through around 100 pages (of the book’s 164 pages) devoted to a mind numbingly bland (aka boring) listing of each of Elvis’ live shows.  The minimalist info provided for each show is simply date, city and venue only… set list, no band details, no attendance figures, no show summary, no back story, no exciting events!!!

The author (if I can call him that) has borrowed heavily from Wikipedia entries (so much so that Wikipedia should be shown as co-author!)  His ‘cut and paste’ approach means several sections were either not well written to begin with or lose natural flow due to the disjointed nature of placing together ‘cut and paste’ pieces of information. 

The final sections of the book (totalling 60 pages) cover the 1977 television special, Elvis In Concert and what was not one of Elvis’ finer moments – his drug fuelled rant in Las Vegas in September 1974.  Both are important parts of the Elvis story but certainly not for positive or exciting reasons (although the adjective ‘extreme’ is apropos)!

So are there any positives in the book?  One high point of On Tour with Elvis is an attractive cover image.  It also includes many (uncredited) b&w photos and some archival material.  While the photos are stock items (not so rare) they are acceptable and the (small amount of) archival material (press clippings, et al) is interesting.  However, these are materially inadequate in counterbalancing the mundane reading experience created by the absence of a challenging or informative narrative!

The good news is it won’t take you long to read the book.   A common device in many of the digital, self-published/print on demand books is that they pad their number of pages through the use of double line spacing and an extra large font size.  On Tour With Elvis is seminally guilty of this!  Had it been published with normal font size and line spacing the book would have been under 100 pages and saved half a tree in the Amazon (pun intended)!  While the release has a relatively cheap asking price (under $10.00) it does not represent value for money!  

With On Tour with Elvis: The Excitement of Being On The Road with “The King” (ETA) Matt Dollar had a great opportunity to submerge his reader in the wonderment and hysteria of 1950’s Presleymania, the spellbinding electricity of Elvis’ Las Vegas comeback, the King’s rigorous schedule criss-crossing the USA in tour after magical tour throughout the 70s and the historic importance of the Madison Square Garden and Aloha concerts………but incredibly, it was an opportunity he sorely missed!!

Verdict: On Tour with Elvis: The Excitement of Being On The Road with “The King” is a cheaply researched and ill thought out release.  It is a decidedly unexciting book to read! There are much better books covering Elvis’ years on the road than this stinker.  Don’t waste your time or money on this one, search out the real deal in quality releases such as Robert Gordon’s entertaining The King on the Road Live on Tour 1954 to 1977, Lee Cotten’s two volume set Did Elvis Sing In Your Hometown?, Christopher Brown’s archival material laden books Elvis In Concert and On Tour with Elvis and Stein Erik Skar’s classic, Elvis The Concert Years 1969-1977

It will take a particularly dire effort to surpass On Tour with Elvis as the worst Elvis book release this year!

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Buy: On Tour with Elvis: The Excitement of Being On The Road With “The King”

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