This fresh interpretation explains how an untutored musician changed music while at the same time playing an inadvertent role in the youth rebellion that has shaped the Baby Boomer generation into the 21st century.
Elvis Aaron Presley was born in a two-room house in Tupelo, MS, on January 8, 1935. He died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977. In those 42 years, Elvis made an indelible impression on pop culture the world over. Elvis Presley, Reluctant Rebel: His Life and Our Times probes both the man and his influence, delving deeply into the personality of its protagonist, his needs and motivations, and the social and musical forces that shaped his career.
Elvis's musical talents and liabilities are explored, as are his records, films, and live performances and his relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, whom he allowed to manipulate him as a money-making machine. Readers will learn about Elvis's personal life, his devotion to conventional religious and political beliefs, and his decline into self-destruction and death. Finally, the book explores Elvis's impact on the musical and racial revolutions of the 1950s and 1960s, his legacy, and his importance in shaping a generation of Baby Boomers.
- Offers a fresh interpretation of Elvis, integrating his life into its Southern context and exploring the influence of his upbringing, as well as the downward spiral of his career after his army service
Analyzes Elvis's music and the synergy of his performances
Shows how Elvis impacted a generation of fans and influenced both his contemporary musicians and subsequent performers
Portrays Elvis as a conflicted, complex, powerful personality, a man of many moods with an inimitable style
"Considering how much has been written about Elvis Presley, is another book about him really necessary? In this case, the answer is an emphatic yes. Presenting a subject dear to their hearts, Jeansonne, Luhrssen, and Sokolovic offer a well-researched, entertaining volume that provides fascinating insights into Presley's life, his accomplishments, and the culture that formed him. . . . Because it is both engaging and carefully documented, the volume will serve a broad audience."
"In Elvis Presley, Reluctant Rebel, the little boy from Tupelo who could, Elvis Aaron Presley, finally has the chance to shine through and break the yellowed, cracked veneer that is the Golden Tomb of the American Dream. In the war between Elvis fact and fiction, this highly entertaining and lovingly researched book details the historic, spiritual and commercial aspects of America's Mystery Son, Elvis Presley."
"Elvis Presley is an enigma regarding music history and popular culture or, rather, he has been up until this book.
Other Presley titles get it wrong, do not get it or get far too much of it; this text stabilizes historical record and cultural import with accurately balanced scholarship and insightfully measured commentary.
Elvis Presley finally becomes rightfully balanced within musical and cultural contexts in Elvis Presley: Reluctant Rebel."
"From Elvis' early life singing gospel music, to the glory days at Sam Phillip's Sun label, to the glitzy, pill-popping tragic end in Las Vegas, Elvis Presley, Reluctant Rebel captures it all. A wonderfully written book, it encapsulates the humanity, the excesses, and the inimitable style of 'the King.' "
"Glen Jeansonne and David Luhrssen’s Elvis Presley, Reluctant Rebel is a deeply researched, richly detailed account of the life of one of America’s most famous entertainers. Elvis’ meteoric rise and the years that followed are covered thoroughly in this fast-paced narrative. What will set this study apart from others examining the life of Elvis is the rich social and cultural history found in it, as well as the historical perspective with which the authors surround their subject."
"As he has done many times in the past, Glen Jeansonne has brought his formidable research skills and his poetic prose to a subject that less thoughtful historians might pass by. Once again, he has shown us that the direction of our culture rests with those who have touched our collective experiences in a wide variety of ways."
"Elvis Presley: Reluctant Rebel reminds us of Elvis' singular talents as well as his southern roots and national context. It demystifies the Elvis mythology and replaces anecdotes with facts. The book is as important as it is engaging and entertaining, correctly placing its subject within the stream of mid-twentieth-century American popular culture, and it reminds us that although Elvis often shaped his times, he also reflected them."
"This is a finely written and well researched look at one of America's most beloved icons. While delving into the existing literature on Elvis, Jeansonne, Luhrrsen, and Sokolovic have also uncovered fresh material and fashioned a poignant and convincing portrait. The authors' insights, the clarity of their prose, and their devotion to the subject matter—which they make clear is born of their own coming-of-age—make this an imminently readable book."