I gave this five stars because, having read Nash's earlier "Memphis Mafia" book, I feel she has grown exponentially as a writer and as a journalist. In BLPH, Nash doesn't rely on one source for the retelling of certain events (such as how Elvis and Priscilla met), but presents opposing recounts from key witnesses and ultimately lets the reader decide whom to believe. This is a far leap forward from Peter Guralnick's dry and myopic two-volume "biography" of Elvis, and I learned some shocking things in the process. Some so outrageous I wonder how she legally got them into print. (No spoilers here--I won't go into detail.)
Ultimately, she has the benefit of much research and multiple interviews to pull from, and she does so freely. Unfortunately, she consistently returns to a single psychologist for repetitive views on Elvis's "twinless twin" obsession as a motivator/syndrome throughout his life. No doubt the Jessie Garon connection had an effect, but this book pushes it into every area of Elvis's psyche, and it's too much. Same with his connection to Gladys: every woman was his mother, etc. I find that simple and dismissive, but it doesn't detract from the overall presentation of material here. Given the state of book publishing these days, Nash had to find a "hook" upon which to build this book, so she has chosen to focus on his relationships with women as a backdrop to his life story. I have no problem with that; in fact, she does it rather well.
The downside for me was that, while there are numerous areas which explore a different side of Elvis the person, the book simply reiterates the age-old and, for my money, erroneous ideas regarding his career in the 1960s: the movies were all stupid, the music was terrible, Elvis hated doing them, he could have been a great actor, etc. On the surface, some of this is true, but a deeper exploration might have found a more believable answer. Nash repeatedly remarks how miserable Elvis was making these movies, and then reports (via quotes from co-stars) how happy and eager he seemed on the set. Listen to the outtakes from soundtrack recording sessions and you won't hear a miserable singer--you'll hear a vibrant personality having fun with songs like "You Can't Say No In Acapulco."
Personally, I don't believe Elvis hated these movies or these songs. So many of them influenced his personal style: how he dressed after "It Happened at the World's Fair" or enjoying the darker make-up he wore for "Harum Scarum." Nash also reports that he enjoyed stronger ballads after leaving the army (i.e. "It's Now or Never"). And many of the songs on his soundtracks reflect that style of music. Neither were they all bad. "They Remind Me Too Much of You" is eerily reminiscent of "These Foolish Things."
Bottom line is the 1960s weren't the 1950s. Nash quotes Raquel Welch asking why "they" had cleaned up this rebel so much? But even the Beatles appeared on TV in suits and ties. Marlon Brando made several classic films in the 50s, then dreck until "The Godfather" in the early 70s. I fully believe Elvis enjoyed only having to work for three weeks total on a movie while earning somewhere between $1 and $2 million on profit sharing and record royalties. He was young, he was gorgeous, and he was a star. Of course, I'm sure he hated the "bad" years, 1964-1968 ("Kissin' Cousins" to "Easy Come, Easy Go") when they movies became unwatchable and worse, unlistenable.
In any case, opinions aside, BLPH is a fascinating, well-rounded biography of Elvis with as much source material and information as you could hope to get. Painstakingly researched and documented, and all of it interwoven in a fine, mature writing style. Until someone else comes along to question the standard, status quo perception of his career, this will do just fine.