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on 26 August 2014
After reading most of this book, just for the sake of curiosity, it was amazing to learn about the considerable lengths of a 'revenge mission' that 3 so-called 'friends' of the world's biggest superstar would go to in order to let the so-called truth be known. Nevertheless, there are sprinklings of great truths amongst the trashy tabloid style of the prose, and of course great fabricated 'dramatics' seep into the text along the way - they had to make some money afterall! It was told to, and written by, a trashy journalist so he was obviously skilled enough to get the 'hatchet job' done as quickly as possible. The 'boys' here were hurt, and they had families too. EP could have a least honoured their years of service in a more professional manner instead of turning the task over to his Daddy to do the deed (if only he had sacked that manager too into the bargain!). One feels that a better handling of the bodyguards' 'firing' situation by the man himself could have at least softened the blow a little for all parties involved, and just maybe this type of 'biography' could have been avoided and Elvis' final year would have had one less aspect of stress to contend with. However, maybe the considerable effects of several doses of prescribed medication was as much to blame for his approach to the 'firing' situation more than anything else. We'll never really know the truth about that situation. However, putting aside the writers' bitterness towards their boss, it's quite apparent that they did love him and on several occasions tried to protect him - especially from himself, which eventually proved a very difficult task indeed which bore no fruit. A sad story.
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on 13 April 2011
Told by three of Elvis Presley's former bodyguard 'friends' and anxiously written by fast-living gossip specialist Steve Dunleavy, this is the book that pushed Elvis over the edge and contributed substantially to his untimely death on 16th August 1977.

In July of the previous year, the long serving bodyguards had been fired by Presley's father with Elvis' consent no doubt, reportedly as a result of financial cutbacks, though generally believed for their big-headedness and lawsuits brought against Elvis as a direct result of the bodyguards' heavy and violent handling of fans. They had seemingly become a burden. Whatever the real reason, they decided to avenge this action by publishing a tell-all book, exposing Elvis to the world for the very first time. Remember, up until that time, Elvis' image had been cleaner than soap.

The book exposed Elvis' purported eccentricities and prescription drugs dependence for the very first time, and made its motives very clear from page one. Though the publication today reads like a Walt Disney epic compared to other rock stars' antics, it must be remembered that the only information one had of Presley at the time was that he lived reclusively in Memphis and that he had gained weight. Suddenly with this book, it is revealed 42 year old Elvis is one of the frontmen of the sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll brigade. In its wickedly obvious quest for revenge and quick revenue, the book more than hinted at Elvis' fondness for beautiful girls, powerful cars, guns, rich food, jewelry, and potent addictive medication. Stunning revelations!

We might shrug our shoulders at these revelations today but back then they were unnacceptable for the mega superstar. And nobody knew this more than Elvis himself. So much so that a secret financial offer was made to the bodyguards to stop the publication, and Elvis even called one of the bodyguards in a mild attempt to divert the course of the book - all to no avail.

Instead, they went the whole way. Betrayal doesn't come any dirtier. These men had seen and heard everything over the past 20 years, and now they were about to spill it all out to the world - with no detail spared. Even the high probability of Elvis' little daughter one day reading this book did not make them rethink. Easy revenge and get rich money came first.

Elvis reportedly took the certainty of the impending release of this book extremely hard, ultimately affecting his health in such serious ways that many believe drove him into the irreversible despair and depression that ultimately led to his death. A debatable subject of course, but I am of the opinion that had this book not been written, Elvis would still be with us today, or at least lived much longer.

The book was released on 1st August 1977. Two weeks later, the day before he was to start a new fourteen day concert tour, Elvis died. The tour would have brought him face to face with his audiences for the first time since the book's release, and he probably expected the worst from his fans.

His premature death catapulted the book's sales to record levels - and Elvis into mythology.
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on 26 February 2016
IT took me a while to get through this book, reading it you could see these three guys took, took and took from poor Elvis and you can see jealousy from them. They say how they made this book as a wake up call to get Elvis of the pills but they also were taking it with him and to me that's encouragement, they were working for Elvis but they dictated a lot to the other guys, making them feel intimidated. Vernon knew what these guys were doing and that's why he sacked them, he was hoping Elvis health would improve being away from people that was bringing him down! I don't doubt they brought Elvis happiness at the start, but the more Elvis made it in the big time, the more they got greedy and resentful. In all honesty I wouldn't recommend this book to buy. Buy from his true friends Jerry Schilling and Joe Esposito, 2 just to name a couple!
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on 25 February 2016
This book was massively controversial when it came out. It was written by some very close insiders of the E camp, ex Memphis Mafia men turned on their King. Or at least that was how it was seen by many at the time and perhaps even today. Elvis was alive when the book came out and was said to be deeply hurt by the book. A lot of time has passed since the passing of E and I first read this book in 2014. I can understand why it was controversial at the time, but a lot of what was said has since been echoed in the countless other tell all books that have since come out. This was the first or many. So perhaps the shock value has gone now. Certainly with the early passing of E, some of the things that were in the book have since been proven correct. The authors of the book at the time said they wrote it as a wake up call for their close friend, that if he continued on the path he was on he wouldn't survive. Sadly, that proved to be the case. Now you could argue that they could have approached Elvis with their concerns instead of writing a book, that arguably added to his problems. Sonny West has since written a second book "Still taking care of business", he repeats some of the stories from this book again, but they've been toned down in the newer book, or perhaps with the passage of time his anger has subsided enough that his love for E instead shows through more.

I read this book in a couple of sittings, it's compelling stuff and will make you stop and think several times. Elvis was a flawed man, not the perfect Disney character that has been created since for the billion dollar industry around his legacy. This book pulls no punches, it's raw and hard to read in places. You'll understand the man that they knew and for anyone curious about Elvis it is a must read. It's long been out of print which is a shame, but if you can find a copy it's worth a read.
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on 21 November 2015
Was very well packed and am pleased with this book. Already read it several times from library, but wanted it to add to my Elvis collection.

Sad book, but nothing will ever take away the most brilliant performer he was he had it all in one package looks the lot/ no one else will ever come

close to him as a entertainer. We miss you Elvis
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on 6 December 2013
This book is the one Elvis didn't want to get out but it doesn't matter he still would have been the best had he been with us today this book is a great read and gives you a great insight what Elvis was like behind closed doors no worse than anybody else in his position but a really nice guy shame he's still not here with us today to tell us in person his great life he had as a star I'm sure this book wouldn't have bothered him now so go and buy it if you can get it,
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on 4 November 2013
I am a mad Elvis fan and finally got round to buying this book after reading nearly every other book out there on Elvis.

To be honest I knew it wouldn't show Elvis in a good light by any means but the main reason I bought it was because it was written by people who knew him well and whilst Elvis was still alive (just).

In my opinion Red and Sonny West (who were the main sources for the book) are open about their feelings and appear to be critical of themselves as well as Elvis.

If you are an Elvis fan I believe this book is essential reading and the saddest thing is that they talk of Elvis in the present tense when we know what happened only a few weeks later.

Even if only half of this book is partly lies or exploitative it is still worth reading in order to give a different perspective.

One thing it doesn't change though is the fact that Elvis is a one off who will never be surpassed.
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on 28 July 2014
Terrible book written by ELVIS ex bodyguards shortly after they were fired by Vernon Presley.ELVIS saw it shortly before it was published & was hurt that three ex bodyguards & friends could go on and write such trash,merely to make money out of his name.
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on 9 January 2016
Good insight and recommend to Elvis fans if they want to know the up close and intimate truth.
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on 23 March 2014
I remember reading this book when I was a massive Elvis fan. It really shocked me that Elvis swore, lol. That was the thing I really took from it.

The problem is that fandom is basically subjective. We put people on a pedestal, I did it with John Lennon too, and probably others.

The truth is, people are people, whether famous or not, we all have a good side we all have a dark side. That's the bottom line.

I really enjoyed this book, it shocked me, it opened my eyes, I was only fifteen when I read it. But I would still recommend it.
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