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3.31  ·  Rating details ·  304 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Goldman's 1981 biography Elvis was much more controversial. In this book, Goldman drew on more than four years' research into Elvis Presley's life. But for many fans and some critics, his research was undermined by his intense personal dislike of Presley. For instance, Goldman dismissed Presley as a plagiarist who never did anything of note after his first records at Sun R ...more
Hardcover, 736 pages
Published March 28th 1995 by Penguin Books (first published 1981)
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David Ralston I don't believe it's available as an ebook. I found my copy at a local Goodwill outlet.

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Paul Bryant
Sep 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: true crime fans
This is a real slow motion car crash of a book, very enjoyable, this is a splurt of coffee all down your shirt book, this is a wander through the house looking for someone to say "hey you GOT to hear this" to, even if it turns out to be the dog - they have to hear it! Goldman was some brave soul, putting the big boot into Elvis and then turning round and doing the same for Lennon. Respect to Albert, this guy liked to live dangerously. Or maybe he had a death wish. Goldman's research is such that ...more
Rex McCulloch
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Forget your Garulnicks and your punknicks, you may learn more about how to write an english masters thesis elsewhere, but you'll never learn more about the man than here. Yeah, it's unforgiving and sordid, and, even if every little bit isn't cited, you can't help but suspect that it's all true. To me, the man is always more fascinating than the myth (but not as fascinating as the making of the myth), and this will always be the Rosetta Stone of Elvis.
May 21, 2011 rated it it was ok

I grew up in Memphis and in some of the same cultural environs as Elvis. Goldman, a talented writer, managed to capture a lot of the culture in this place at that time. Sadly, he uses this book to show "what was wrong" with Elvis.

From a long story about the time Elvis showed up in the studio with his feet smelling bad to comments about Elvis's penis, Goldman can't find anything good to say about anyone. That's precisely the reason he could not get an interview with any of the Beatles when he set
Troy Soos
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: movies, music, biography
It's poorly written and Goldman's contempt for his subject is off-putting. I have no idea why an author would want to write a biography of a man he so obviously detests. Yet parts of it are entertaining in a salacious sort of way. Skim this as a guilty pleasure, but for a more objective biography read Peter Guralnick's "Last Train to Memphis."
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
The accuracy of this book has been debated but its very entertaining. If your one of these nutters that want to turn Elvis into some sort of holy figure then you will hate this book. If you want to be entertained with tales of the "wacky Elvis" then this is the book for you. Some of the stuff that gets into this is depressing, like Elvis' drug use and penchant for young girls, but some of it is funny as hell, like Elvis' bizarre eating habits, (the story about flying all the way to Denver from M ...more
Feb 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Unlike Goldman's nauseating "The Lives Of John Lennon", this one is actually fun to read, and is actually remotely believable most of the time, as Elvis was known to be, at least some of the time, somewhat out to lunch. But as soon as Goldman starts in with his attempts at psychoanalysis, he reveals more about himself than about his subject.
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Before the Elvis fans cast me as a foot soldier to satan; I gave it 5 stars for the research. This is probably one of the most detailed books on his life. BUT like panning for gold, ignore the Sunday tabloid elements and you have an excellent biography.

I can't understand why biographers want to to trash their subjects (we want truth, warts and all as we are all, including our heroes, human, but we do not the author's snide comments)

As with his book on Lennon, wasted opportunity Mr Goldman
One of the parts I skimmed shows Goldman trying to get us to hate Elvis by defining the term "whore's bath." He explains that few people know the meaning of this phrase and then tells us it means the type of self-cleaning in which one takes a towel and, say, wipes under one's arms, thus avoiding having to take the time to shower. Goldman tells us Elvis took "whore's baths."
Shame on Elvis.
Vomit on Goldman.
Erik Hermeler
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
De schrijver is totaal geen Elvis fan wat ervoor zorgt dat hij Elvis erg negatief naar voren laat komen. Toch is dat niet perse vervelend want hierdoor krijg je wel veel te weten over zijn donkere kant. In het boek wordt veel verteld over zn drugsverslaving en hoe Elvis aan zn einde is gekomen. De hoofdstukken zijn soms rommelig waardoor het niet lekker leest.
Cosmic Dwellings
It had so much potential to be the oft-misquoted "Definitive" or "Ultimate" Presley biog. of its time, but Goldman let himself and his narrative down by allowing his own opinionated short-comings to 'poison' the 'plot'. However, his findings through his research in some cases were quite revelatory, even though the amount of people interviewed is somewhat dubious. It is undoubtedly an entertaining read, and Goldman exercised his skill as quite a good fiction writer in parts of the biog. which cal ...more
Aug 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010
One of those books that makes you think why was this written? Well, concerning Elvis answer is easy; to make money and subject not being able to correct anything written about him (being dead). No matter do you love or hate Elvis (or any other target for this kind of nonsense); these are tough ones to even finish when author clearly hates their subject and there's no way of telling where the lie ends where the truth starts. Die-hard Elvis fans only who won't be offended by the world.

If you're ne
Denis Farley
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could superimpose, copy my review of Mr. Goldman's study of John Lennon here, change the names and it would suffice. Especially interesting was the look at Colonel Tom Parker, aka, Andreas Cornelis ("Dries") van Kuijk, Elvis's manager.

I'll probably read his study of Lenny Bruce, working backwards through his oeuvre.
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
This one has some of my favorite photos in the center of the book. Elvis in 1968 was in his prime in black leather! That costume is on display in the "Sincerely Elvis" museum at Graceland.
David Nichols
The literary equivalent of Lay's Potato Chips - it's a junky book but you can't stop until you've read the whole thing. Recommended for anyone who wants to know the precise menu of Elvis's Last Supper (which was simple but gut-wrenching).
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, music, bios, elvis
I have just started reading this huge book. I know Goldman has a tendency to overindulge in his story telling and I have read many Elvis books to know to take several embellishments the author writes about with a grain of sand, but so far, it's a good read.
Sandi Mann
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: nobody!
BRUTAL hatchet job... and I hate the pic they chose for the cover also!
Aug 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
Left me wondering what poor Elvis ever did to Goldman! A real hatchet job!
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