"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)






"Elvis By The Presleys"

Book Review

Review by Sanja Meegin



Aside from the occasional interview with Priscilla – and more recently Lisa Marie– this is really the first publication since the No. 1 Bestseller “Elvis and Me”, in which Priscilla reflects on her life with Elvis.

A lot of memoirs from that book released in 1985 have been repeated here, however there is the odd story/memory that will be new to some fans.


Along with Priscilla’s recollections, there are also quotes from Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie, Priscilla’s parents Ann & Paul Beaulieu and Priscilla’s sister Michelle Beaulieu Hovey.

Unfortunately the only other Presley family member (not by marriage) to contribute - is Elvis’ double first cousin Patsy Presley Geranen. Recollections from all of the above (along with some from Elvis himself) are scattered amongst 240 pages featuring just 185 high-gloss photographs – some previously unpublished.

The book is comprised of 14 short Chapters each reflecting on a different part of Elvis’ life - ie. “Elvis is in the House” – details Elvis’ love of Graceland, the only one of many houses he owned in his lifetime that he truly considered a ‘home’. Not only was it his refuge high on the hill but also, at times, a hive of activity.

Lisa remembers: “I have enough memories of Graceland to keep my head spinning for the rest of my life. It was amazing. Filled with energy and excitement. Always something going on. Non-stop action and surprises”.

We are also given an insight into the “other women” that lived at Graceland with Elvis - his Aunt Delta and his Grandmother Minnie Mae, whom he affectionately referred to as “Dodger”.

The family remembers Dodger as a quiet woman whom Elvis had the utmost respect for – and was perhaps even a little frightened of. Aunt Delta (Vernon’s sister), according to Lisa – was a “swearing, diabetic alcoholic, an hysterically funny woman, who insulted anyone who came within a 5 mile radius of her”.

Other chapters include “Fate”, “Fire Eyes” “Irresistible Elvis” and “I’ll Take Care of You” – which all detail Priscilla’s meeting, dating, marrying and divorcing Elvis. Almost everything written here is just Elvis & Me re-hashed and there really is nothing that we haven’t heard a dozen times before.

The only hint of Priscilla being perhaps a little more unguarded than in previous years, is her allowing to have a love letter she sent to Elvis in 1963 published in this book. “Daddy” however, is a chapter that makes for good reading.

Here Lisa Marie opens up about her father – even speaking of the last time she saw him on August 16th 1977 – a topic that she usually prefers to shy away from.

She reflects on a lot of the times they spent together at Graceland, the practical jokes Elvis played and of a time when she accompanied him on tour and an intruder had made his way up to Elvis’ suite on the top floor of their hotel – Elvis grabbed Lisa and hid in a small room, sitting her on his lap whilst aiming two semi-automatic shotguns at the door!

There are letters Lisa wrote to Elvis and also a photograph of a scarf that he signed for her after his concert at the Long Beach Arena in 1972 – “To Yisa, I love my Lisa, Daddy”. Lisa’s love for her father is evident, however she is not backward in coming forward when it comes to discussing Elvis’ darker side.

“The thing about my father is that he never hid anything. He didn’t have a façade. Never put on airs. If he was crabby, you knew it. His temper would give Darth Vader a run for his money”.

Quotes throughout the book are brief however and Elvis by the Presleys is not by any means a detailed memoir. Ultimately it could be referred to as a “coffee table” book.

There are a lot of full page colour photographs - some family candids, however the majority being of Elvis’ personal items that are not on display at Graceland and haven’t previously been featured in books.




For example, from his bedroom upstairs we see his half full bottle of Jovan Musk Oil for Men, the record on his record player the day he died, his wallet (with picture of Lisa and him inside) , a riding boot - still with original mud on its sole (right), his alarm clock and a trunk of scarves full of scarves still in plastic ready for the August 1977 tour.

Other historical items featured include the original mailbox from Graceland, his shirt and trousers from the film “Charro” and Gladys’ jewellery box – still filled with her jewellery.


For the avid Elvis fan this book will be a disappointment if it is rare candids you are in search of. I found only 12 that were new to me and only half of those had Elvis in them. Priscilla is featured heavily in this book, and there are several unnecessary photos of her and her family.

Verdict: A coffee-table book aimed at the general public, rather than hard-core Presley fans. The photographs of Elvis’ personal items are perhaps the most interesting part of this book, but even then the book would have benefited from a more stylish design. There are also some nice stories from Lisa – however if you plan on acquiring the Elvis by the Presleys DVD then beware since all the excerpts in here from Lisa are taken straight from the DVD.

Ultimately, there just isn’t enough Elvis in this book!!


Click to comment on this review

Go here for the review of the 'Elvis By The Presleys' BMG CD.












Latest Reviews
Book: Elvis by the Presleys
CD: Tom Green
Show: Sonny West
CD: A Legendary Performer Vol. 5
CD: Young & Beautiful (TV Guide)
DVD: Elvis by the Presleys "Target" bonus disc
Mini-series: Elvis
FTD: Big Boss Man
VCD: Joe Esposito's Home Videos of Elvis
Book: Complete Guide to Elvis Presley
CD: Now What (Lisa Presley)
CD: In The King's Shadow
Show: All Shook Up
DVD: Elvis In Concert (3 hour version)
Latest Articles
More on Elvis on TV
"Orion" gunned down!
Elvis Is Back
Elvis - Hero with 1000 faces
Elvis Film Guide
Elvis rules on television! (updated May 2005)
Elvis & other major artists miss out on Grammy Awards
How did Elvis die?
Latest Interviews
Priscilla Presley
Marshall Terrill
Lisa Presley on Larry King Show
Tony Joe White
Stanley Oberst
Bud Glass (part 2)
Bill Burk
Lisa Presley on EPE sale
Red & Sonny West
Ed Bonja (Part 2)
Ernst Jorgensen
Phil Aitcheson (Presley Commission)
Listen to the Elvis "strung out" in Vegas audio
View video of "All Shook Up" opening night on Broadway
View EPE Graceland tourism ads
The "Real" Elvis off-stage
Unreleased Elvis audio now online
Did you miss?
Sale of EPE "Archives"
6th Elvis Website Survey
Online Elvis Symposium
All about Graceland