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Careless Love : The Unmaking Of Elvis Presley : Paperback
|Careless Love - Elvis Presley Book By Peter Guralnick | Paperback
Have you ever picked up a book and, just by the feel of it, known that you are holding something special? Well, that's how I felt when I picked Peter Guralnick's latest Elvis tome, Careless Love, out of its package after it had been delivered by the postman.
Read our Careless love Book Review
Careless Love recounts the second half of Elvis Presleys life in rich and previously unimaginable detail, and confirms Guralnick's status as one of the great biographers of our time and is the follow up the the aclaimed Last Train To Memphis.
This is the quintessential American story, encompassing race, class, wealth, sex, music, religion, and personal transformation. Written with grace, sensitivity, and passion, Careless Love is a unique contribution to our understanding of American popular culture and the nature of success, giving us true insight at last into one of the most misunderstood public figure of our times
Peter Guralnick had considerable ground to cover in his sequel to Last Train To Memphis. A lot happened to Elvis between 1958 and 1977 and it is all explored in the 768 pages making up Careless Love ... And as Guralnick explores and analyses Elvis' life, he does so with incredible detail, insight and compassion. He celebrates Elvis Presley's genius as an artist without ignoring his flaws - but even these are presented in a balanced way. Guralnick's account avoids the over-the-top expose style so evident in many other biographies about Elvis Presley. For various reasons, many readers, particularly those who are recreational readers rather than die-hard Elvis fans, will find Careless Love more entertaining than Last Train To Memphis. Guralnick's two volume Elvis Presley biography is likely to stand the test of time as the definitive account.
Until Peter Guralnick came out with Last Train to Memphis in 1994, most biographies of Elvis Presley--especially those written by people with varying degrees of access to his 'inner circle'--were filled with starstruck adulation, and those that weren't in awe of their subject invariably went out of their way to take potshots at the rock & roll pioneer (with Albert Goldman's 1981 Elvis reaching now-legendary levels of bile and condescension). Guralnick's exploration of Elvis' childhood and rise to fame was notable for its factual rigorousness and its intimate appreciation of Presley's musical agenda.
Picking up where the first volume left off, Guralnick sees Elvis through his tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Germany, where he first met--and was captivated by--a 14-year-old girl named Priscilla Beaulieu. We may think we know the story from this point: the return to America, the near-decade of B-movies, eventual marriage to Priscilla, a brief flash of glory with the '68 comeback, and the surrealism of 'fat Elvis' decked out in bejeweled white jumpsuits, culminating in a bathroom death scene. And while that summary isn't exactly false, Guralnick's account shows how little perspective we've had on Elvis' life until now, how a gross caricature of the final years has come to stand for the life itself. He treats every aspect of Presley's life--including forays into spiritual mysticism and the growing dependency on prescription drugs--with dignity and critical distance.
More importantly, Careless Love continues to show that Guralnick 'gets' what Elvis Presley was trying to do as an artist: 'I see him in the same way that I think he saw himself from the start', the introduction states, 'as someone whose ambition it was to encompass every strand of the American musical tradition.' From rock to blues to country to gospel, Guralnick discusses how, at his finest moments, Elvis was able to fulfill that dream. -- Ron Hogan
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