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Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley [Hardcover]

Peter Guralnick
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Oct 1994
A biography of Elvis Presley which does not dwell on the myth of Elvis or catalogue his later sordid years. This, the first of two volumes, charts his meteoric rise to fame, up to and including the death of his mother in 1958.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; First Edition edition (6 Oct 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316910201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316910200
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.4 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 717,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Last Train to Memphis is the first part of Peter Gurlanick's epic two-volume life of rock 'n' roll's founding father--and when no less an authority than Bob Dylan writes that "this book cancels out all others", you know Guralnick must be doing something right.

Exhaustive and thorough, though always written from a sympathetic standpoint, this first volume covers the early days: the extraordinary story of a poor young truck driver who came out of nowhere and conquered the world--all within the space of two short years. And while this tale was already one of the more familiar in post-war history, Guralnick always manages to brings something fresh to the telling. The recollections of Marion Keisker, the secretary at Sun records who recognised something special in the polite teenager's voice, help throw some light on the enigma surrounding Elvis: "He was like a mirror in a way: whatever you were looking for, you were going to find in him. It was not in him to say anything malicious. He had all the intricacy of the very simple".

Guralnick is a scrupulous biographer, now established as the definitive chronicler of the strange life and turbulent times of Elvis Presley; better still, his enthusiasm for Elvis' music shines through on every page of the text. And in the end, after all else is gone, that music will remain. --Patrick Humphries --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

A wonderful book...Guralnick gives us an Elvis of real flesh and blood...the richest and most detailed protrait of Presely we have ever had. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Unrivalled...Elvis steps out of these pages, you can feel him breathe, this book cancels out all others - BOB DYLAN (Wonderful.Guralnick deserves to live in Graceland - RODDY DOYLE)

Last Train to Memphis is the first part of Peter Gurlanick's epic two-volume life of rock 'n (roll's founding father--and when no less an authority than Bob Dylan writes that "this book cancels out all others", you know Guralnick must be doing something right. Exhaustive and thorough, though always written from a sympathetic standpoint, this first)

Guralnick is a scrupulous biographer, now established as the definitive chronicler of the strange life and turbulent times of Elvis Presley; better still, his enthusiasm for Elvi s' music shines through on every page of the text. And in the end, after all (Patrick Humphries, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
VERNON PRESLEY was never particularly well regarded in Tupelo. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Thoroughly recommended. 4 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I was not a huge Elvis Presley fan when I started reading the first volume of Guralnick's superb biography of "The King".However, once I started the book, I was both entralled and it sent me to the records. For me, there can be no higher praise for a music biography. Guralnick tells the story of Elvis's upbringing, his early career and finally his entry into the US Army. It portrays him as a shy and genuine adolescent who went on to change the music business and inspire millions.
As well as looking at Elvis's early life and career, Guralnick turns the spotlight onto other remarkable characters in the story, such as Elvis's parents; Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun records; Dewey Phillips, the Memphis DJ; Elvis's bandmates; and of course the svengali manager 'Colonel' Tom Parker.In this account of Elvis's rise, we are also given an interesting account of the mechanics of the music business and the growing importance of American radio and television at this time. Guralnick manages to offer a portrait of Elvis that cuts through many myths, as well as a fascinating insight into his first concerts and early recording sessions at Sun Studios in Memephis. This is a superb, definitive account of Elvis's rise to fame.Overall, a highly recommended biography that I found difficult to put down.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last - a genuine biography of Elvis 28 Dec 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have bought many books, in the past which claimed to 'tell the true story of Elvis Presley - only to be bitterly disappointed to find that the books just reiteratered the myths surrounding Elvis and told little of the man himself, but at last, reading this biography, I feel as if I have actually learned something. The book gives an appreciation of what life was like for Elvis during his early career and helps the reader understand the effect this must have had on him. I have already put in my order for Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley which is the follow on book from this - giving Elvis's story from the Army onwards
- can't wait
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley 27 April 2012
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have never read a biography of Elvis before and, searching around, this seemed to be the one which most fans were praising as a serious look at the man and what made him who he was. It is a huge volume and only the first of two books to cover his life, but, to be honest, it could have been even longer. The story was so interesting that you are happy to invest your time and go along for the ride. This enormous biography takes Elvis from his birth in 1935, through his gradual rise to stardom and on to the death of his beloved mother. The author meticulously lists every live concert date, every record and every film made, but that is not all the book is about. As well as explaining how and why Elvis became the huge star he became, it explains who he was. The gentle boy who loved his mother and who never seemed to be anything other than caring (if a little fickle) with his many girlfriends, who was spiritual and clean living - warning his mother against the horrors of drink when she had a beer late at night, who seemed so lonely he ended up with a local entourage to protect and keep him company, was also, undeniably, a very ambitious man. Ambitious not only because he loved music, but because he had risen from poverty and had no intention of going back there, although more because he wanted to care for his parents, with whom he had a very close relationship, than for any personal gain. Also, a man who seemed to prefer to leave any difficulty to the Colonel and slip out from the requirements of personal responsibility at times - not acknowedging the bitterness of Scotty Moore and Bill Black for example, until they resigned in anger at how they were treated financially. This really is THE Elvis biography and continues with Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, which I am really looking forward to reading.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read it! 30 Aug 2002
Format:Paperback
(Speaking as a fan) I have read several books about Elvis, and many articles, but I have never found anything that increased my understanding particularly. This book does, to a greater degree than I could have expected. When I'm confused by off-the-point/embarrassed/obsessed fans, incomprehending sceptics etc etc, this book helps me out - it is quite of the highest standard in depth of understanding, humanity and literary quality. I'd give it six stars if I could.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rockin' Read! 11 July 2011
By Claire
Format:Paperback
This is an amazing book, charting the rise of Elvis from birth until
1958. Guralnick paints such an insight into Elvis' world, so that you really do feel as if you are watching from outside of the bubble, listening and watching all these amazing events unfold.
It also provides untold historical detail about Sun records, and all of the other acts that were evolving around the same time as Elvis. It made me realise just how out of the box Elvis was for his time, and how he shaped the future of music and rock n roll forever.

The King really shines through when reading, I couldnt put this book down, and cant recommend it enough. A must for not only Elvis lovers, but for all lovers of real music in general.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will find no better book than this on Elvis 8 July 2004
By D C
Format:Paperback
Peter Guralnick captures the feel of the times and the excitement of elvis' rise to success with effortlessly readable prose. He obviously talked to everyone who was anyone in elvis' life, and gives us the benefit of countless small insights as a result of what must have been years of research. I can't praise this book enough. Even if you're not an Elvis fan please give it a try - you won't be disappointed. ( and no, I don't work for the publishers!)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
EXCELLENT BUT SAD
Published 17 hours ago by P Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written, I'm enjoying the cultural and historical context
Wonderfully written, I'm enjoying the cultural and historical context..it's as close as you can get to being there with Elvis. It is a beautiful book.
Published 13 days ago by Kitty Thomas
2.0 out of 5 stars Not in good condition
This product arrived on time and was sent through the letter box when I opened the packaging the product was damaged and the front cover was damaged and so was the back cover and a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by shell
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
well written, I enjoyed all the knowledge in it, I been to Gracelands , beale st, & stayed in the Heartbreak hotel.
Published 2 months ago by Kevin Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars i have wanted this book for a long time so....
im so glad i finally got it..only just started reading it but already engrossed..well worth getting..i give it 10/10 and have already bought the sequel to read after this
Published 2 months ago by phoenix rising
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading
All Elvis fans would love to read this, so much to learn about the king. A good book to have on a cold winters night.
Published 3 months ago by Roy
5.0 out of 5 stars Treasured collectable!
Out of print, and purchase was to replace copy previously lost, so very pleased! Condition exactly as described (as new).
Published 5 months ago by Nicola Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, the gold standard of the Rock Biography.
A masterpiece, the gold standard of the Rock Biography.There will never be a better book on Elvis written ever! Superb!
Published 6 months ago by N. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
Good read. But it is very very detailed with regard to contracts, who said what and when etc. Written in an American narrative style which means you may have to read sentences... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ian Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading this now
Very interesting best book I have currently read about Elvis,trouble is I can't put it down reading until all hours.
Published 14 months ago by J M Dickinson
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