We received the "Rough Guide To Elvis" from the publisher and we must say we must say this is a real gem.
The book is a pretty small one, pocket size, but too thick to actually put in your pocket. It is a guide and has some clear chapters which help you navigate through Elvis life and achievements pretty easily. The paper is o.k. and it contains some good known and lesser known photos.
There are several ways you can look at Elvis the man, his life and his achievements. The first one of course is listen to his music, followed by reading a good biography (Careless Love and Last Train To Memphis, both by Peter Guralnick) or fact book (Day by Day from Ernst Jorgensen) watch a documentary or read the new "Rough Guide To Elvis". With the last one you have Elvis' life in your hand and pretty soon in your head.
This hand size pocket book, if we can call it that with almost 480 pages, deals with all aspects of Elvis' life. The Life deals with the humble beginnings until the untimely death and the times beyond that, the icon Elvis still is today.
In "The Music" we get the legendary career of Elvis and short reviews of the albums recorded in the fifties, sixties and seventies and compilations released after his death, including the essential bootlegs.
"The Influences" chapter deals with the various styles of music that influenced Elvis, from the gospel and country to the blues, folk an rock, including song titled which are good examples for each genre. Besides that we get an overview of the people who influenced Elvis, were influenced by him or were rivals. Also added is Elvis' own record collection.
"The Canon" gives us fifty essential Elvis tracks and the reason why they are essential. The Movies is an Elvis video and DVD guide and besides the movies Elvis made we get to read which movies he liked himself. In "The Icon" the question is answered "What's an Elvis?" since he is so much to so many people. This chapter might have been bigger, but perhaps that's more for a Biography than for a rough guide.
Up next is "Elvis Country" showing us Elvis spots across America and Germany, Great Britain and even a museum in Denmark. The final chapter "Kingology" deals with all the subjects that wouldn't fit into the chapters above, including a web guide which we consider pretty complete.
This "Rough Guide To Elvis" is a great book if you want to get to know Elvis the man, Elvis' music, Elvis' life and so on and so on. Another title could have been "Elvis For Dummies" and after reading it you sure won't be a dummy anymore concerning Elvis..