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Publisher's Summary

In Elvis Presley: A Southern Life, one of the most admired Southern historians of our time takes on one of the greatest cultural icons of all time. The result is a masterpiece: a vivid, gripping biography, set against the rich backdrop of Southern society - indeed, American society - in the second half of the 20th century.
Author of The Crucible of Race and William Faulkner and Southern History, Joel Williamson is a renowned historian known for his inimitable and compelling narrative style. In this tour de force biography, he captures the drama of Presley's career set against the popular culture of the post-World War II South.
Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley was a contradiction, flamboyant in pegged black pants with pink stripes, yet soft-spoken, respectfully courting a decent girl from church. Then he wandered into Sun Records, and everything changed. "I was scared stiff," Elvis recalled about his first time performing on stage. "Everyone was hollering and I didn't know what they were hollering at." Girls did the hollering - at his snarl and swagger. Williamson calls it "the revolution of the Elvis girls." His fans lived in an intense moment, this generation raised by their mothers while their fathers were away at war, whose lives were transformed by an exodus from the countryside to Southern cities, a postwar culture of consumption, and a striving for upward mobility. They came of age in the era of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, which turned high schools into battlegrounds of race. Explosively, white girls went wild for a white man inspired by and singing black music while "wiggling" erotically. Elvis, Williamson argues, gave his female fans an opportunity to break free from straitlaced Southern society and express themselves sexually, if only for a few hours at a time.
©2015 Emerson W. Baker (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Customer Reviews

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By robert joe reynolds on 04-03-15

If you hate Elvis buy this book

All Elvis fans no he had a good side and a bad side like all of us..... According to this author Elvis was bad from the day he was born till the day he died including his parents and distant relative... Definitely one of the top one sided books ever written about all this... Elvis's fans don't expect everything to be sugar coated but they do expect these writings to be fair

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful


By gostephi on 04-14-15

disrespectful on every level

they found a narrator that conveyed and (over) emphasized the author's blatant and obvious dislike for elvis, his family and everything elvis represented. not one new bit of information. is it really ok to disrespect any human as this author did?
elvis, undeniably, changed the course of music and history. not an opinion or a judgement. this is common knowledge. come on. he was the same as jimi, Janis, hank... destined for an early grave. only difference was Elvis had caretakers 24/7 - yep, he was a junkie, but Elvis' team would be there to make sure he didn't drown in his lemonade or suffocate in his bowl of oatmeal. I guess if alcohol were added to Elvis' regimen, he prob would've died a lot sooner.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Meznuts on 09-29-15

Sadly a great read

As an Elvis fan I chose this book as I thought it would give another glimpse into my idols life. And boy did it! It was a fantastic read but at times I was taken aback by how the author talked about Elvis. What was said did not surprise me though. A thrilling book from beginning to end. A sad yet powerful look into this great entertainers life. Thoroughly enjoyed!

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