Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley

Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley

by Peter Guralnick
4.3 23

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Overview

Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick

Elvis Presley has been one of the most vivid & enduring myths of American culture. This is the first biography to go past that myth & present an Elvis beyond the legend. Based on hundreds of interviews & nearly a decade of research, it traces the evolution not just of the man but of the music & of the culture he left utterly transformed, creating a completely fresh portrait of Elvis & his world. This volume tracks the first 24 years of Elvis life, covering his childhood, the stunning first recordings at Sun Records, & the early RCA hits. These were the years of his improbable self-invention & unprecedented triumphs, when it seemed that everything that Elvis tried succeeded wildly. But in 1958, he was drafted into the army & his mother died shortly thereafter. The book closes on that somber & poignant note. Drawing frequently on Elvis own words & on the recollections of those closes to him, Guralnik offers an emotional, complex portrait of young Elvis Presley.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316206778
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 12/20/2012
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 282,604
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Peter Guralnick has been called "a national resource" by Nat Hentoff for work that has argued passionately and persuasively for the vitality of this country's intertwined black and white musical traditions. His books include the prize-winning two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love. Of the first Bob Dylan wrote, "Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all others." Of the biography as a whole, the New York Times Book Review declared in a lead review, "It must be ranked among the most ambitious and crucial biographical undertakings yet devoted to a major American figure of the second half of the twentieth century." Other books include an acclaimed trilogy on American roots music, Sweet Soul Music, Lost Highway, and Feel Like Going Home; the biographical inquiry Searching for Robert Johnson; and the novel, Nighthawk Blues. His latest book, Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, has been hailed by the San Fransisco Chronicle as "monumental, panoramic...an epic tale told against a backdrop of brilliant, shimmering music, intense personal melodrama, and vast social changes." He is currently at work on a biography of Sam Phillips.

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Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Most authoritative account of Elvis's early life and rise to fame. If he were a lawyer, I would say that Guralnick came into the courtroom well prepared and knew more about the opponents case than the opponent did. He has a great style that is both relaxing and straight forward. He leaves the reader with the 'gut wrenching' choice of drawing his or her own conclusions about the events and the decisions that shaped Elvis's life especially in Careless Love, his second volume. It was interesting to me that you can read either volume first and the story seems to be uninterrupted and they come together like a sock and a shoe. I read the second volume first without knowing that there was a first volume. I've ordered and received the author's latest-Day by Day, and I have to say it's hard to put down if you're an Elvis aficianado. I believe the greatest thing that Guralnick has achieved is that he has supplied the facts and left the reader with the grueling task of drawing the conclusion. I hope that Elvis has found 'Peace in the Valley' which his troubled soul so much deserved.
khaney46 More than 1 year ago
September 21, 2005: I didn't know what to expect when I started reading Last Train...I thought it was going to be repeated facts and boring information that everyone already knows but I found that it was wonderful. It made you feel you were actually reading a story about a man day by day. I would recommend this to anyone who appreciates Elvis. Careless Love was even better. You actually felt that you at every one of his concerts, you were at his wedding, you were there when he prepared for his '68 comeback special and you were there for his pain and suffering. Please read both of these novels. They really are breathtaking!One of Elvis Presleys great big storys that all that reads it falls in love with tis book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stop reading this review RIGHT NOW and buy this book. Peter Guralnick knows more about Elvis Presley than the man himself would have. This is the definitive record of The King's early years, and is reverential in all the right places, truthful, thoughtful, and objective. I am now in the middle of the second part, 'Careless Love,' and the two volumes together tell you all you ever needed to know about the man whose music will live forever. There are tons of Elvis documents out there, but here is the one that puts all others to shame.
danhaefs More than 1 year ago
Provides a degree of humanity to the Elvis myth.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite Peter Guralnick’s “Last Train to Memphis” covers the first twenty-four years of the life of Elvis Presley. Most biographies concerning Elvis are a bit hyperbole but not this one. The author’s style is understated allowing the true Elvis to emerge. The author lays aside the myths we have all come to believe; instead we meet the young Elvis as a truly nice guy, with deep religious convictions and a passion for music. The reader will feel a sense of compassion for young Elvis the teen that didn’t seem to fit in. The relationship between Elvis and his mother Gladys was a strong one. She loved him strongly and Elvis not only loved her but respected her. Sam Phillips and the culture of the city of Memphis, TN, were deep influences on Elvis’ sound. The Elvis we meet in “Last Train to Memphis” is one of contradictions. He was insecure and yet knew he was special. Peter Guralnick spent years in research for this book and it shows. I have long been an Elvis fan. “Last Train to Memphis” is a fan’s dream biography for it introduces the reader to the real Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley was more than a voice and a leg that couldn’t stay still; as a young man he was a loner; inside he was a compassionate, generous, and kind man. Elvis was and is the King!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't know what to expect when I started reading Last Train...I thought it was going to be repeated facts and boring information that everyone already knows but I found that it was wonderful. It made you feel you were actually reading a story about a man day by day. I would recommend this to anyone who appreciates Elvis. Careless Love was even better. You actually felt that you at every one of his concerts, you were at his wedding, you were there when he prepared for his '68 comeback special and you were there for his pain and suffering. Please read both of these novels. They really are breathtaking!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book as well as the sequel, Careless Love, and I think the author did a fantastic job of stating the facts and events of Elvis' life and career without taking a judgemental view of his life. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these two books and have learned alot about Elvis and the amazing things he did!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To those seeking an authoritive truthful biography and want to cut through the crap out there... go no further. The companion book, Careless Love, is equally important. Period.
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Tracy86TS More than 1 year ago
This book was a gift for my father in-law and he said he really enjoyed reading it. He is a huge elvis fan.
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