Elvis Presley: A Southern Life

Elvis Presley A Southern Life 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 biograph

  • Title: Elvis Presley: A Southern Life
  • Author: Joel Williamson
  • ISBN: 9780199863174
  • Page: 315
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 twentieth century Author of The Crucible of Race and William FauIn 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 twentieth 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 Rather than focusing on Elvis s music and the music industry, Elvis Presley A Southern Life illuminates the zenith of his career, his period

    One thought on “Elvis Presley: A Southern Life”

    1. A compeling story from an interesting point of view. But in my opinion the bet didn't pay of.I love THE KING. I do! If i was alive at 60's i would have been propably one of the girls fainting at his concerts with every gyrating of his hips.So for me it is quite heartbreaking reading the story of his life and his demise at the end. But it would have been less heartbreaking if the author was more sympathetic or even liked Elvis a bit.Reading this highly detailed biography, i felt that Mr. Williams [...]

    2. The book is brilliant from page 65 until pay 130. Here, the author describes the Southern context and culture of Elvis's phenomenal career (as the title suggests). The rest is just a rehash of every other Elvis tabloid biography depicting him as a womanizing drug addict with a Messiah complex. Did we really need more of that? The King's been dead almost 40 years. We get it.

    3. DO NOT WRITE A BIOGRAPHY ON SOMEONE IF YOU DON'T ACTUALLY LIKE THEM/THINK YOU'RE BETTER THAN THEM. No one wants to read a book like that, and I couldn't even finish this book, though I tried. I love Elvis Presley and the first two sections of this book I quite enjoyed - the writing was a lot better than many biographies. But then I got to the part where Elvis becomes famous, which seems to be entirely based on thinking-the-worst speculation and the testimony of some guy who was supposedly in the [...]

    4. Elvis Presley: A Southern Life sounds like the title to a mainstream biography, and Williamson says in his notes to the reader that he chose to write the book in the style of a "popular biography". He had started out with footnotes when he began the book, but then took them out. I found myself wondering why the writer felt documentation would make his book less readable. A flowing narrative and discreet documentation that the reader can either reference or not, as they choose, are not incompatib [...]

    5. Joel Williamson has written books on Southern culture entitled “William Faulkner and Southern History” and “The Crucible of Race” which would indicate that he is an authority on the American South and its culture. His “Elvis Presley – A Southern Life” does indeed place the Presley phenomenon firmly in a Southern context.This is not a hagiography by any means. As Ted Ownby writes of Presley in the forward: “He (Presley) did virtually nothing creative from 1958 to 1968, the year of [...]

    6. Like most of his fans, I am guilty of putting Elvis Presley on a pedestal. I've been in love with his music since I was a teenager, and in love with him, for almost just as long. I'm familiar with the image that shows Elvis at his best. I know of his talent, the stories of his humbleness and generosity, and his overall clean-cut image despite being a rock-n-roller. In Elvis Presley: A Southern Life, Joel Williamson, shines no such light on one of the South's favorite sons. Mr. Williamson chooses [...]

    7. I have just finished this book and I could not out it down. I read it on the bus, at home, even at work. The writing is superb and although I was a bit annoyed by the space he was giving to the life of Elvis before celebrity, this actually helps you understand the psychological process that made them -the Presleys- be what they were and act how they did and especially Elvis. It was quite sad to read about all the things that were not glamorous in the King's life, about the flaws and fears and ad [...]

    8. The beginning (or 1st part) is an absolute wonderful read, learned quite a bit about Elvis that even my mom probably never even knew. The end (or part 2) just didn't make sense to me. Left me saying over and over "Why didn't the author wrap this story up when Elvis passed away?" Very repetitive and hard to finish, but I pushed through. Excluding the second half, this is definitely worth the time to read (Just as long as you stop after Elvis dies).

    9. This was an interesting read, although it ran out of steam a bit by the last third or so.It opens with the death of Elvis, which is enough of a wormhole to fall down. Then it goes into his childhood background, and the culture at the time of his rise to fame. It's less of a biography than a sociological study at this time, explaining exactly why Elvis suddenly exploded in popularity, especially with female fans of the south. This also sets the table a bit for his downfall: how he balanced his fa [...]

    10. This book made me angry. I enjoyed the beginning, but once Elvis began his music career the book became a gossip rag. Yes, we all know Elvis wasn't perfect, but this book made him out to be a monster. There were such intimate details of Elvis ' sex life that I felt dirty just reading it.Obviously the author didn't have much affection for his subject. It was obvious in his work. The book also rambled and jumped around which made it difficult to follow. There aren't too many books that I wish I ha [...]

    11. I've read many books about Elvis, but this one written by a professor is the best. To understand the south and the race-relations and the post-war south and the proper southern society; you realize this could only happen in Memphis at this time in American history. Fascinating !(Who knew that William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and EP were all from the same area!?)

    12. When I grew up, Elvis lived in our household. My sisters and my brother loved his music, and we listened to it all the time. I myself came to a later appreciation for him. I discovered him later in my life, and, watching his movies and listening to him I developed the same fascination and love that they have. Living in Las Vegas I see his influence around me. Elvis changed music. He was the influence for countless others. He lives on, still influencing, people still fascinated by him. He was, an [...]

    13. Overall this was a very good biography, and it was also a book on race, class and gender issues in the South and in the US in General after WW2. Elvis Presley's stage character and his career were heavily shaped by his environment, and it was interesting reading about the way women responded to Elvis, and the author's ideas as to why they acted the way they did towards him. I did not, however, see the need to have all his many affairs told in detail. I suppose for those using this book for resea [...]

    14. Elvis Presley: A Southern Life by Joel Williamson covers it all. His early life in Tupelo, moving to Memphis, the school days when he was made fun of or ignored by many. The day he walked in to Sun Studio to create a record for his Moma and was discovered. It covers all the time in between the birth and death of Elvis. Elvis had a beautiful voice and moves that many came to see and hear. It got so bad that he could not leave home without being surrounded by bodyguards. I can't imagine not being [...]

    15. The King is most certainly not dead, at least not in the cultural sense. In Elvis Presley: A Southern Life, Joel Williamson—a professor at the University of North Carolina who has also written a well-respected biography of William Faulkner—proves that another biography of the man who made rock’n’roll mainstream is necessary.Like Bobbie Ann Mason’s brief 2002 biography, Williamson delves into Elvis as representative of Southern culture and history, with nods to Faulkner and Tennessee Wi [...]

    16. Elvis!I really thought this book was going to ruin my image of him.You know the image of the "image"/icon, considering I did not know much about him.I'm more or less a new Elvis fan, I've been a fan of his music for more years than I can remember but it wasn't until recent years that I went "full-on" fan. (regular at the annual Elvis festival). So that's mainly how I'll be reviewing this book.Not based on how well it was researched or how much support some claims have.It kind of felt like someth [...]

    17. I really liked the first part of this book which described in fascinating detail the life and context of Elvis and his family's lives in depression and post depression era Deep South. This exploration is a really worthwhile addition to the volumes already written. Unfortunately the book veers off into a regurgitation of the now familiar story of Elvis's downfall, as if the author really wasn't sure where he was trying to go with the subject. He probably should've stopped at the point where Elvis [...]

    18. There are maybe a few pages of original thought in this book . Those thoughts, particularly in the area of Elvis and Southern culture are interesting and would have made a great article in some magazine. However, those original thoughts are surrounded by passages copied almost verbatim from several sources. Williamson heavily borrowed from Peter Guralnick's great two volume biography of Elvis: Last Train To Memphis and Careless Love. Guralnick's work is definitive and monumentual.

    19. I wasn't sure another bio was necessary. This one was interesting because it's like a negative, taking in the people around Elvis. I am also glad that someone can discuss the saltier elements of Elvis ' life without prejudice. He wasn't the person portrayed in the press during his lifetime and his friends & family went to great effort to shine his posthumous image.

    20. Elvis Presley: A Southern Life was quite a compelling read. For three days, I was literally glued to the pages of this book. Written in such an interesting and unusual way, this work delved deeply, revealing the man behind the image and the music. I enjoyed it immensely.

    21. Probably the best biography of Elvis I have read. Of course it made me sad and disappointed because I still want Elvis to be the perfect man I always want him to be. But he was human like the rest of us, and I will always treasure his music and the time I saw him in concert!

    22. Antiseptic. Clinical. Detached. Scattered. A bit too focused on the relationship between Elvis and all the women in his life.

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