The truth about Elvis’s death from the doctor who spent eleven years as “the King’s” personal physician, father-figure, and confidant - "Dr. Nick."
Dr. Nichopoulos spent a decade with Elvis on the road and at Graceland, trying to maintain the precarious health of one of the world’s greatest entertainers. But on August 16, 1977, he found himself in the ambulance with Elvis on that fateful last trip to the ER. He signed the death certificate.
From that day forward, Dr. Nick became the focus of a media witch hunt that threatened his life and all but destroyed his professional reputation. Now, for the first time, Dr. Nick reveals the true story behind Elvis’s drug use and final days—not the version formed by years of tabloid journalism and gross speculation. Put aside what you’ve learned about Elvis’s final days and get ready to understand for the first time the inner workings of “the king of rock n’ roll.”
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About the Author
George C. Nichopoulos is the son of Greek immigrants. Heearned his B.S. degree from the University of the Southand then received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University Medical School in Nashville.
Rose Clayton Phillips has written extensively about the recording industry and pop culture as a critic and correspondent for various music-oriented publications. She is co-author of Elvis by Those Who Knew Him Best.
Read an Excerpt
The King and Dr. NickWhat Really Happened to Elvis and Me
By George Nichopoulos Rose Clayton Phillips
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2009 George Nichopoulos
All right reserved.
Chapter OneKindred Spirits
Dr. Nichopoulos. Paging Dr. George Nichopoulos," announced the anonymous voice from the hospital intercom. At the same time, the beeper attached to my belt chirped.
What now? I thought, hesitating with my hand on the cold, steel exit bar, ready to push open the heavy side door. May as well answer, I thought, closing out the humid air on that smoldering hot day in Memphis-Tuesday, August 16, 1977.
"Dr. Nichopoulos. Paging Dr. Nichopoulos."
More chirping from my pager.
There had been a time when hearing my name called over the intercom was exciting for me-the same way I'd heard doctors paged on television: "Calling Dr. Kildare." That was sometime between my Boy Scouts days and medical school. Dr. Marcus Welby, MD, was my idol back then. Those were the days when doctors were the most respected members in a community-the link between life and death. I had liked Dr. Welby's approach, his gentle bedside manner, the way he was always available to his patients.
"Dr. Nichopoulos. Paging Dr. George Nichopoulos."
The personal pager on my belt beeped a third time.
What in the world is going on? I wondered, heading promptly to the nearest telephone andpunching in the number.
"This is Dr. Nick," I said firmly into the receiver, knowing I would soon be heading in the direction of the call-Graceland, the home of my famous patient Elvis Presley.
"Dr. Nick!" The frantic voice was unmistakably that of Joe Esposito, Elvis's disciplined, Chicago-born-and-bred road manager, who seldom lost his cool. "You need to get here quick. Something's happened to Elvis."
"Calm down, Joe," I responded automatically.
Joe continued racing through his message: "I think he's had a heart attack."
"Is he responsive at all?" I asked, attempting to hide my concern. Joe paused for a few seconds, then replied: "Yeah. When we tried to turn him on his back, I heard him breathe."
I sighed with relief. Before I could give instructions, Joe interrupted: "You need to get here quick," he repeated in a trembling voice. "I've called for an ambulance."
"On my way," I snapped, slamming the receiver back into its cradle.
Elvis had been doing very well health-wise, so this episode concerned me. I did not expect anything critical to be going on-especially nothing terminal. Since I had no other details, I tried to review what I knew.
I had swung by Graceland to see Elvis last night and left about ten o'clock when Ginger Alden, his current beauty-queen girlfriend, came in to accompany him to the dentist. As usual, the dentist was prepared to accommodate Elvis's nocturnal schedule. When I talked with Elvis later, about two o'clock this morning, his tooth was still hurting. At that time he sounded very nervous; his conversation was rambling. He was muttering as if he was upset and didn't know how to explain it at the time, or as if someone was standing there listening.
He told me he wanted to play some racquetball. Since he had been under so much stress because of Ginger's refusal to go on tour with him, I thought playing racquetball might be good for him. I also wanted him to get a good night's sleep before leaving for the tour. Maybe that is all that had happened-Elvis had simply overexerted himself. At the same time, I knew Joe was definitely not an alarmist, yet his voice sounded anxious in a way I had never heard it before.
Certainly by the time I get to Graceland everything will be all right, I reasoned, trying to keep my eyes and my mind on the road for the six-mile drive. I was very familiar with the route I would travel-a fifteen-minute drive if I observed the forty-mile-per-hour speed limit-ten if I didn't.
My mind began meticulously running down a list of everything that had happened to Elvis in the past that could apply to the situation I might encounter-such as a seizure. I considered the different medications he was taking and any side effects or interactions he might be experiencing. Since Elvis had planned to play racquetball, I thought about the time I had to do CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on a player who collapsed on the racquetball court. That situation would have been doubtful for Elvis because he did not work out hard when he played doubles with Ginger. She was new at the sport.
Elvis was on his usual pre-tour liquid diet of mostly diet drinks and sugarless Jell-O and Popsicles. I had warned him that with only these in his system he could dehydrate. Maybe that is what happened. If Elvis had dehydrated, that could have altered his electrolytes and caused his potassium level to drop. In the worst-case scenario, that can create a cardiovascular event.
I sped past the busy commercial airport, with its early afternoon traffic. We planned to leave sometime after midnight from Memphis Aero, the city's private airport, on Elvis's jet, the Lisa Marie, for Portland, Maine-the first stop on his scheduled twelve-day, sold-out tour. Whenever we arrived at the airport to leave for a tour, excited fans and family were always there for a big send-off. The only thing lacking was a high school band playing Elvis's dramatic opening number, "2001: A Space Odyssey." That song was always on my mind when the Lisa Marie rolled down the runway and took to the air.
Despite my brief mental diversion, the echo of "Something's happened to Elvis" in Joe's nervous voice would not leave my thoughts for long.
At last I was there-in record time. The wrought iron gates of Graceland were already open and I swirled in. Through the tall trees gracing the circular driveway, I could see the familiar orange-striped ambulance from the Memphis Fire Department. It was ominously waiting in front of the Southern colonial mansion Elvis referred to simply as "the house." My heart pounded as I prayed the situation would not be more serious than I had imagined.
As I pulled my car in behind the ambulance, I could tell Elvis was already inside it on the gurney. Rushing over, I hoisted myself up on the high back step to gain a position close to Elvis's head and the available emergency equipment. The loud chugging drone from the truck's diesel engine made it difficult to communicate with the paramedic. Charlie Hodge, a member of Elvis's band, and Joe climbed inside, and the heavy metal doors closed behind us.
Not knowing what had happened before I arrived at Graceland, I assumed my role in the resuscitation mode already in progress-treating Elvis as though he might have had a syncopal attack (loss of consciousness), seizure, accidental overdose, or cardiac arrest. Joe assured me again that he had heard air come from Elvis's lungs when he moved him. I had no way of knowing how long ago that had been.
I instructed our driver to take Elvis to Baptist Memorial Hospital. It was a split-second decision that I would not allow myself to second-guess. Methodist South Hospital was only a mile away, but Elvis had never been a patient there. I believed Baptist was where Elvis could get the best help the quickest. I could admit him expediently since his records were there; plus I was a staff doctor at Baptist, so I was familiar with the competent specialists who had previously treated Elvis at that location. Baptist also had a renowned Harvey team, a specialized crew who perform emergency cardiac resuscitation. I told our driver to radio ahead to Baptist so they could alert their Harvey team and make ready a room for Elvis Presley; he would be arriving by ambulance in respiratory distress. I then called for the head of cardiology to hurry to the ER.
Our driver eased the emergency vehicle out the front gates, where concerned fans had already started to gather-alerted by their unique grapevine communication system that mysteriously rolled into place whenever Elvis was in town. The emergency medical technician riding with us in the rear of the ambulance began running an IV. He allowed me to take the lead as we worked frantically the entire distance to the hospital, located just seven minutes to the northwest.
Elvis's pitiful-almost unrecognizable-face was swollen and blue, symptoms of cyanosis, a lack of oxygen in his blood.
Several things could be happening, I thought. His condition could be due to toxins such as cyanide or carbon monoxide, or he could have had an allergic reaction causing his lips or epiglottis to swell. He could have choked or suffocated. One thing was certain: he needed a source of oxygen as quickly as possible.
We tried in vain to intubate (put a tube down his throat to allow air in), but we could not position his neck properly to insert the tube. I was not able to see the vocal cords well enough to pass the tube through them into the trachea. As if the procedure itself were not delicate enough, I had the added pressure of knowing that the vocal cords at my fingertips were the instrument of one of the world's greatest singers. Unable to intubate him, we continued the bag breathing that the paramedics had started in order to force air into his lungs. He had severely bitten his tongue, which is common with a seizure or from the impact of a fall. Tiny red carpet fibers were in his mouth-remnants of his futile efforts to gain air; his face had most likely been submerged in the thick pile.
He had no heartbeat. Along the way the EMT and I alternated giving closed chest massage. We administered different medications in an attempt to stimulate his heart, but we were unable to get any sort of blood pressure or heartbeat on the heart monitor. Frantically we worked on different options that would increase Elvis's chances of being revived. Nothing we did brought a response. The longer we worked, the warmer and tighter it became inside the small emergency vehicle, where our hopes were decreasing along with Elvis's chances.
Finally we arrived at Baptist Memorial. The gloomy gray building housed one of the city's most respected hospitals, and I felt secure knowing I would be able to get the help we needed there. The EMTs jerked open the ambulance's metal doors and hauled out the stretcher. They burst through the battered doors of the emergency room entrance and wheeled the gurney quickly down the hallway into trauma room number 1, actually a small operating room already prepared to receive Elvis. I moved aside to let the skilled Harvey team take over.
The lead physician of the Harvey team stepped forward and shot life-giving stimulants into Elvis's body while all sorts of evaluations were going on simultaneously. No response. They placed paddles on Elvis's discolored chest and gave the order to discharge the electronic shocks-still nothing. I stared at the monitor in the distance. Six or eight beats in succession registered on the electrocardiogram machine.
Again a doctor injected stimulants directly into the heart and directly into the IV. Minutes went by-nothing. The electronic shock paddles charged again; another four weak beeps registered on the monitor. The time intervals were brief, with each beat occurring two to three seconds apart, then nothing but silence. The ringing in my ears grew louder and louder in those silent intervals as I strained to hear signs of hope. I slowly began to realize I would never again hear Elvis calling me by my name.
The attending personnel resumed talking-communicating about different things they could try that had worked before and might again. My eyes were foggy with tears. I could discern only blurred images ministering to the still body on the table that had once moved with such power and skill. My own body grew weaker and weaker, drained from anticipating the breath of life that never came.
Medically and scientifically I had suspected that Elvis was gone, but I just could not accept it. I wanted so much for it not to be true. I could not bear the thought of losing Elvis and of letting down everyone who had placed so much faith and trust in me.
The question for me had never been simply whether Elvis was dead or even whether we could revive him. The question was also, had so much time elapsed that if we revived him, he would be brain damaged? There is such a small window of opportunity to supply vital oxygen to the brain. Sadly, I reached the understanding that the air Joe said he heard Elvis exhale when he turned him over was just positional air movement.
The thought kept going through my mind that we were spinning our wheels in the emergency room, but I just could not give up. The doctors kept glancing my way, waiting for me to say the words that would put an end to their futile efforts to help Elvis reclaim his life. Finally, in a voice barely audible even to me, I said the dreaded words: "Stop CPR. He's gone."
The Harvey team slowly backed away from the table, removing their masks and revealing faces of absolute exhaustion. Slowly, with sad resignation, they began undoing all the IVs, breathing tubes, and EKG monitors-life support that had proved useless.
Gradually my shock began to dissipate, awakening me to the painful reality of the situation at hand. I could not imagine what lay ahead for his father, Vernon, still waiting back at Graceland. He needed confirmation; so did Elvis's guys waiting in the next room. Somehow I had to regroup and find enough strength to face those who loved Elvis and were praying for him to pull through. My own feelings needed to be set aside; I still had a job to do.
After arriving at the hospital, Elvis's guys had been ushered into trauma room number 2. There was no sound from inside the small, cramped area until I opened the door, trespassing on the silence. The tears running down my cheeks put an end to their waiting.
"It's all over. He's gone," I said quietly.
Wails of disbelief filled the air.
There with Joe Esposito and Charlie Hodge in the sad space were Al Strada, a trustworthy aide who handled Elvis's wardrobe and other personal matters; Elvis's cousin Billy Smith, who was like a brother to him; David Stanley, a stepbrother, who worked as an aide and helped with security; and David's mother, Dee, who was married to, but currently separated from, Elvis's father. David and his brother Rick, known collectively as "the Stanley boys," had continued to work for Elvis throughout the disrupted marriage. Dick Grob, Elvis's chief of security, had arrived to take charge of the impatient press corps. Belligerent reporters were attempting to maneuver themselves into the scene for a career-boosting scoop on the status of Elvis's condition.
I wanted to stay with the guys so we could comfort one another, but there was an urgent need at Graceland, where hope was surely fading. There were other matters as well that I needed to discuss with Vernon that I knew would be hurtful.
It is very difficult for a doctor when he is a patient's friend. The patient and his family have more confidence in him; their faith in his ability is on an entirely different level. Everybody expected me to do something magical. They were anticipating that I would pull Elvis through because I had done that before during several serious events. The difference was this time I had not been present when the close call came. Sadly I discovered that despite all the precautions we had put into place, the people hired to look out for Elvis had not been there either.
Dick Grob and Al Strada stayed at the hospital for security reasons, and Joe Esposito stayed behind to make the official announcement of Elvis's death at a press conference. I planned to call from Graceland to confirm that the Presley family had been informed, so the world could be told. Joe had been Elvis's point person ever since they were in Germany during their army days. He automatically knew what needed to be done before the story of Elvis's death leaked to the press. His first call was to Elvis's longtime manager, Tom Parker, whom the guys called "the Colonel." Joe had been Elvis's liaison with Parker and knew the urgency of canceling the impending concert dates.
Next Joe would call Elvis's ex-wife, Priscilla. Knowing how crude and insensitive some tabloid reporters could be, Joe wanted to make certain Priscilla heard of Elvis's death directly from him. He understood how concerned Priscilla would be for her nine-year-old daughter, Lisa Marie, who was spending summer vacation with her daddy at Graceland. The couple had remained good friends, thanks to the civility the mutual love for a child can bring to even the saddest of broken marriages.
Excerpted from The King and Dr. Nick by George Nichopoulos Rose Clayton Phillips Copyright © 2009 by George Nichopoulos. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Reflection of a King....................xvi
One: Kindred Spirits....................1
Two: Raising the Bar....................31
Three: Extreme Measures....................63
Four: "Here ... Somewhere."....................97
Five: Difference of Opinion....................123
Six: Hound on a Hunt....................139
Seven: Swinging Pendulum....................163
Eight: The Best in the Business....................191
Nine: The Price Paid....................223
Epilogue: That's the Way It Is....................247
About the Author....................267
About the Writer....................269
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Even today, regardless of our age or nationality, the only name that strikes us when we hear about the 'The king of Rock n Roll' is Elvis Presley. Elvis was not only the king of rock and roll but also the king of many hearts and he still rules the music world like no one ever can. Elvis always preferred to keep his personal life away from public eye and that gave birth to his mysterious yet larger than life image and perhaps, this is the reason his death brought along equally tragic and fascinating controversies. This book has been written by Elvis' personal physician, Dr. George Nichopoulos, who took care of the world's greatest entertainer's health for the last decade of his life. Besides being Elvis' personal physician Dr. Nick was also his confidant and like family to him. He not only witnessed the most crucial time of Elvis' career but also the end of his legendary life, up close. Dr. Nick very aptly talks about Elvis not as a world renowned artist but as a person who was known for his generosity and a giving nature. In this book Dr. Nick has tried to give all the readers a sneak peek into the legend's personal life inside Graceland and out on the road. As per him the main reasons for Elvis' tragic death was the extremely hectic schedule and his unhealthy eating habits which resulted in constant deterioration of his health and compelled him to rely completely on medicines consequently leading to over-consumption. Elvis' sudden and untimely demise did not put an end to Dr. Nick's association with him as it brought along an ordeal wherein he was accused of being responsible for Elvis' death and was dragged to courts and kept under constant media surveillance. But, despite all the odds Dr. Nick was found "not guilty" in the end. I was truly engaged in the book until the story turned towards "what happened after Elvis died". Use of heavy medical terms became too common which made me loose interest instantly. The book unnecessarily described every minute detail of how things progressed and Dr. Nick now became the center character of the book rather than Elvis. It felt like I had been reading it since forever and it nowhere seemed to end anytime soon. Despite all this, I would highly recommend this book to all the Elvis' fans that are still intrigued by his persona and want to know him in and out. ****Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." Thomas Nelson Product Page http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=1595551719&title=The_King_and_Dr._Nick&author=Dr._George_Nichopoulos Reviewer Resourse http://www.booksneeze.com/blogger/resources/9781595551719
Huge Elvis fan here, so like the rest I wanted a clear understanding of how he died. Who better to tell us the story than his family doctor. There was some controversy when Elvis died, surrounding Dr. Nick (as they called him), though he was found to be uninvolved in Elvis's death.I thought this was a great translation of events. I believe Dr. Nick had no control over everything Elvis did. Who could control someone like him?This book really challenged everything I thought I knew. When you hear the perspective from one of the closest people to him at that time, it's hard not to listen.A really great book, for anyone who's curious. Definitely one for the Elvis fans out there!!! I recommend to those interested in the topic. I don't feel it will be for everyone.
If you are anything like me, and you weren't alive when Elvis was at his zenith of popularity, or even have an interest in his life and fame beyond a few snappy phrases, and a collection of songs that can be sung in a karaoke, then this book is not for you. Yes, it is entertaining, and enjoyable to read. However, it is far to dense to serve just to entertain or engage somebody at a casual reading level. Instead, this book serves to in effect, clear the name of Dr. George Nichopoulos, or "Dr. Nick" as the king of Rock N' Roll affectionately referred to him. Dr. Nick was Elvis' personal physician, however the two felt they were more apart of each other's families than merely doctor and patient. Dr. Nick took a beating in the press following the rock star's unexpected and untimely death in August of 1977. Many still perceive Elvis death to be the cause of overdose of drugs he had been addicted to for quite some time, and Dr. Nick to be the enabling doctor that kept the king pacified and well supplied with his favorite barbiturates. This book is a resounding and in-depth testimony against that fact, and offers perspective of Dr. Nick from the time Elvis first needed his medical attention, to the time following his death, where he continued to provide care for Elvis' father, and grandmother. It's a great book for those interested in Elvis, however, if you're not, it's an OK book at best.
Elvis Presley's electrifying music and euphoric dance earned him the title of "The King of Rock and Roll". Elvis Presley's legendary life had an equally mysterious end. This book, written by Elvis' doctor George Nichopoulos, gives, perhaps, the best insight in the King's life during the eleven years when Dr. Nick had Elvis under his care. This association "ended" on the tragic day of August 16, 1977 with the trip to the emergency room where, in spite of all the effort to save his life, Elvis passed away. Presented as first hand experiences, this book throws light on Elvis' lifestyle including his drug use. The book begins with the description of the tragic day when Elvis Presley left this world leaving his fans in pain and a never-to-be-filled void in American Pop Culture. The book progresses with the description of the years doctor spent with Elvis Presley while he toured the world and performed in concerts with hectic schedules which when coupled with the drugs led to slow and steady deterioration of the King's health. Towards the end, Dr. Nick makes a few startling revelations that discredits the popular belief, built over the years of unconfirmed and indiscriminate media reports, on the causes of Elvis' untimely demise. This book is a must read for all Elvis fans as it comes from the man who was not only near Elvis during his last years but also was responsible for his health. After all, outside a family, your doctor knows you the best!
I just finished reading "The King and Dr. Nick" and overall thought it was ok. Dr. Nick was Elvis's doctor and he was watching over Elvis's health for his last 10 years. You get to see the side of Elvis that only family members and close friends see. Overall I was not wowed by this book, but it was still worth picking up and reading. I not really sure I liked the authors way of writing but I liked the story of the book. A really cool thing though was that Dr. Nick included pictures in the book, which I think is always a plus!
The King and Dr. Nick is the story of Dr. George Nichopoulos' (Dr Nick) relationship with Elvis Presley. He was Elvis' doctor for the 10 years leading up to the death of the music superstar. The book gives a peek into the personal life of Elvis that only those closest to him have seen. It also tells about the court trial and media scrutiny the doctor faced after the untimely death of the singer. I was not alive when the events in this book took place, but I still enjoyed the book for the most part. Although I am not a huge Elvis fan, I've always been interested in celebrity lifestyle. I liked reading the personal stories that told about Elvis' generosity as well as his ego. It was also fun to look at the pictures peppered throughout the book. As the story turned to Dr Nick's trial, I found myself growing bored and the pages went by more slowly. This is certainly a must read for any real Elvis fan but others may not find it as interesting. ***I received a review copy of the reviewed book from the booksneeze program from Thomas Nelson***
This book is written by the man who was the main personal physician for Elvis the last 10 years of his life. He provides details of the day Elvis died, describes what daily life was like for Elvis as he performed, and the publicity and legal issues that came up after his death.He does this with very little bashing, and a lot of respect for most of the people he interacted with. He also has a love of Elvis. I may be too young for this book. I was 8 years old when Elvis died. My father shared his love of the man and his music, which I still have to this day. But there was never really discussion of any of the rumors or recurring publicity around his death and the possible use of drugs. That means the main premise of this book, to defend the legacy of Elvis, was not necessary for me. It is an interesting view of how hard Elvis worked, how seriously he took his performances, and some of the physical struggles he had. It also provides a look at the frustrating machinations of the media and the side-affects of political maneuvering. None of that has changed for the better. **** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Since I am only 25 years old, I completely missed the Elvis era. I know his music and have heard about him from my mom and my grandma, but I didn't really know much about his personal life and death. I actually didn't even know was the controversy was concerning his death until I read this book! The basis of the book is Dr. Nichopoulos [Dr. Nick] has finally written his story about Elvis. He spent a decade with Elvis, traveling on his tours and treating him and his entourage as Elvis' personal physician. Two years after Elvis' death, controversy began over whether or not Dr. Nick was to blame for the death of the king of rock and roll. Since I didn't know much about Elvis to begin with, I was very intrigued by this book and really liked the story. It was interesting to hear a personal account of someone so close to Elvis!
Disclaimer: I received the book The King and Dr. Nick from the Thomas Nelson Blogger Review Program in exchange for a review. I remember when Elvis Presley died, as well as all the hype and excitement afterward--tabloid headlines claiming he had died of drugs. The King and Dr. Nick, by George Nichopoulous, Elvis' personal doctor for ten years, describes the events that transpired before Elvis' death and the media frenzy that followed. It is oddly ironic that as this is being released, Michael Jackson's doctor is being charged in relation to the singer's death. I was expecting, just because of the subject, this to be a sensationalized expose on Elvis' death. Instead, it's a thoughtful recollection of a peek into a celebrity's life. Dr. Nick reports on the events in a factual and respectful way and doesn't ever cross the boundary into turning the story into a scandal. The most horrifying--and yet, not surprising--aspect for me was reading abut how the media wanted Elvis' death to be a scandal. They didn't like 'natural causes' as a cause of death, so they reshaped facts and used terms to make it look like everyone was covering it up. Elvin was larger than life, so his death needed to be more than ordinary 'natural causes.' A fascinating and tragic story.
I received this book from Thomas Nelson book review bloggers program. I found this book to good to put down. I am from Tennessee and a lover of Elvis and I hated all the books out there that put him down or tried to slander him or just make $$ off his name. This book gives us a wonderful look into the kings life, illnesses, rumors, death, and how his private physician tried to help and how it affected his life as well.
It turns out I am extremely interested in Elvis, but not so much in Dr. Nick, his famous doctor. I guess I am too young to recall any of the hoopla that surrounded Dr. Nick shortly after Elvis Presley's death in 1977. He was blamed for the death, and dragged through courtroom drama to defend himself against the accusations. The first half of the book reveals an inside look at Elvis' life and lifestyle in the decade leading up to his death, during which time Dr. Nick was his personal physician. Barring the sometimes elementary writing style, ("I think Elvis' real goal in "horsing around" was so that we would not notice he really was not great at racquetball." "He really was not great"? How does this line get into adult literature?) the topic was enjoyable and well laid out. Elvis was a fascinating character. And he had some issues. Some of these issues were with legal drug use. And although Dr. Nick was found "not guilty" legally, I did think that he could have been more careful in how he treated Elvis. I think he got swept up in helping Elvis maintain the grueling schedule and lifestyle he had carved out for himself. The second half of the book chronicles the media attack against Dr. Nick and the ensuing courtroom battles. I lost interest here. The book got bogged down in the minuscule details of evidence and dragged on forever. And, I found that I didn't care too much how the story would end. I had no emotional investment in Dr. Nick. So, the first half is worth the read, but the second half didn't do it for me. That's why I give it 3 out of 5 stars.