The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley Hardcover – 1 Sep 2002
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
interesting view of a strange man. the book could have been better proof-read, some sentences, spellings need attention! Read morePublished on 6 Sept. 2013 by Mrs H M Reed
What a rogue - but would Elvis have achieved international status without him? And what was the hold he had over the Presley Familly?Published on 7 July 2013 by Chris Walker
good book written from yet another perspective. interesting, easy to read. some good elvis stories, but nothing really new. Read morePublished on 16 Feb. 2013 by jayfo
Book arrived in good time and good condition. Content is world-shattering in parts but over-written in others. Well researched and important in its content... Read morePublished on 16 July 2011 by R. Harrod