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The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley Hardcover – 1 Sep 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854109480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854109484
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.8 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Alanna Nash's biography of Colonel Tom Parker, The Colonel, uncovers a life story even more complicated, dark and entertaining than that of the promoter's greatest talent, Elvis Presley. Nash had unique access to the Colonel and many of those closely connected to him in assembling the facts that underlie her narrative, and the book reads like a mystery as it probes the origins of Parker's power.

Ultimately, Parker was protecting himself in his manipulation of Elvis, Nash argues. Though her evidence is not conclusive, she suggests that Parker (born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk) feared deportation his entire life, but, more importantly, he may have fled his native Holland in 1929 after committing murder. In America Andreas transformed himself into Tom Parker while immersing himself in the worlds of the carnival and circus. This work led him to the promotion of musical acts and, eventually, the creation of his greatest mass entertainment and merchandising bonanza, Elvis. Elvis would become a shield against the demons of Parker's past and fuel his insatiable appetites.

Parker's life remains shrouded to a large degree, despite Nash's efforts. The narrative is at times sensational in its attempts to dramatise the malign aspects of Parker's character, and those coming for a definitive answer as to the cause of Elvis's self-destruction will find new light, but no final answers. Yet Nash's biography will likely remain the best picture we will ever have of the mysterious Tom Parker, and fans of Elvis will appreciate this insider's view into their hero's rise and fall. --Patrick O'Kelley, Amazon.com

About the Author

Alanna Nash is also 'responsible for the best Elvis book to date (Uncut magazine): Elvis Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia. A feature writer for the New York Times, she lives in Louisville, Kentucky. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on 11 Jan. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Alanna Nash has written a marvellous account of the man who was the driving force behind Elvis Presley. Colonel Tom Parker was the man who took Elvis to the heights - and then stood by as the King destroyed himself by the age of 42.
It's been a mystery to many how Elvis allowed his talents to waste in a string of hopeless Hollywood movies and Las Vegas concerts that ended in embarrassment.
Nash's meticulous research explains how it all began in Holland when a young Dutchman, Dries van Kuijk, fled the country for America, assumed the name of Tom Parker, and joined the carnival trail through his new country.
That trade taught Parker the tricks that would prove invaluable in promoting the young singing sensation he met in Nashville in 1954.
Alanna Nash's story is littered with familiar names from Hank Williams to Natalie Wood; from Marlon Brando to Michael Jackson.
But it's the relevations about Parker's dark past in Holland, his gambling addiction and the deals which allowed him to take up to 50 per cent of Presley's earnings which take the breath away.
While Elvis was singing on the stages of Las Vegas, Parker was downstairs spending his earnings in the casinos. And, as Nash points out again and again, part of Presley's tragedy was that he was never strong enough to rid himself of the colonel.
There's no doubt that Parker made Presley popular music's first world superstar - but, in the end, was Parker good for Presley ? There's no comfortable summary from Alanna Nash. Like a good reporter, she allows the facts to speak for themselves. It's up to the reader to decide - I know whose side I'm on.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was initially reluctant to read about the Colonel because how can I want to be open minded about a man I hate so much for essentially killing the soul of the greatest modern icon we've known, suffocating all of Elvis's dreams and wanting to do everything just for the dollar? Money, money, money. Everything was about money.To be a good manager of an artist, (actor or singer or both), a person needs to have a bit of artistic knowhow aswell as business acumen. Now, to give the Colonel his due and I tried to be as objective as possible whilst reading this book, he was great for young Elvis in the 1950's (although he even intruded on his private life by telling his early girlfriends like June Juanico and Anita Wood that they remain in the background and Elvis should be seen with 'lots of girls' instead) and he was good up until Elvis came out of the army keeping his fame alive during his tour of duty, (although did Elvis really need to do the two years, we ask ourselves, what's wrong with special services?) but it was the silly bikini movies he made Elvis do in the 60's that dashed Elvis's dreams, knowing full well that the young man wanted to develop as a great dramatic actor like Brando and Dean. A good agent LISTENS to his client's dreams and does his best to make them happen. In the early days when he was naive and green, young Elvis looked on the Colonel as a father figure, grateful for his hard work and for making him richer than he ever dreamed, but a creative person needs to feel creative, inspired and fulfilled, not just rich and Elvis's resentment and despondency soon surfaced.Read more ›
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By s VINE VOICE on 8 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
We all believe we know Colonel Tom Parker.He was a horrible man who mistreated Elvis, took his money,used and abused him.Alanna Nash shows the Colonel from a different perspective.He was shrewd with a great business brain that saw every opportunity to make money but he should also take credit for opening up the access to Elvis that we all enjoy to this day.He brought Elvis to us all,in film,books and of course his music.Without the Colonel,there might never have been Elvis but,without doubt, without the Colonel we wouldn't have felt we knew Elvis personally.The Colonel showed kindness,able to hold a grudge but at the same time would remember kindness and would repay it in kind.You just have to read this book.Quite simply,the best book ever written about Elvis.Buy it and enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
The story starts with our `hero' growing up in Holland and eventually moving over the America, going through various jobs and small-time management roles until meeting Elvis. This is of course where things get interesting...

The book is nicely placed giving about ¾ of its length to the story of `Elvis and the Colonel' and really does offer some interesting insights into the relationship. You will never come through the book liking the guy and you will feel the pain of the huge talent that Elvis left untapped but this is certainly a journey and Elvis fan will find enlightening.
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This is a thorough description of a complex man. Alanna Nash writes well. She describes the colonel's outward persona, as experienced by many who met him and had to deal with him, and reveals a man who had to be in control and who controlled others, often by humiliating them. And if like me, you are interested in how such a man came to be, Nash sheds valuable insight on his early life and actions. His relationship with Elvis is well documented and their interactions very telling. This is a well researched scholarly book and the author leaves it to the reader to judge the man and decide how much he was responsible for the 'making' or the 'destruction' of Elvis Presley. In my view, he made a significant contribution to both. Nash names and describes the talents, foibles and flaws of each man and the tale she tells of their intertwined lives is both fascination and tragic. It's fact but it reads like fiction.
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