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  Biography Review    


Elvis Presley
Penguin Lives series
by Bobbie Ann Mason
Penguin, 2003
Hardcover, $19.95 (178 pages)
ISBN: 0-670-03174-7

The Penguin Lives series is producing excellent overview biographies by well-known authors, who add their on insights.  The short biographies wet the appetite for future study, and Mason's Elvis Presley provides a bibliography, filmography, performances and recordings. 

Leaning on the previous Presley biographies by Peter Guralnick as well as other resources, Mason focuses on the Southern influence is creating the King of Rock and Roll.  She points out how the culture of poverty, made the Presley family insecure with the quick rise to fame.  It also made the Presleys easy targets for Colonel Parker, who had Elvis working for him instead of the other way around.  Elvis's southern heritage comes out in his sense of family, religion and place.  Memphis was always home.

Bobbie Ann Mason recalls the first time she heard Elvis on the radio and feeling a kinship with his country blues rhythm.  She remembers a family trip to Graceland, a concert in Kentucky, and finally the day she heard the King was gone. 

Kentucky author Bobbie Ann Mason has won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Southern Book Award.  Her novel In Country was made into a movie starring Bruce Willis.  Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Harper's.

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews


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