Elvis Presley: A Southern Life

OUP USA will release noted historian, Joel Williamson’s, Elvis Presley: A Southern Life, in March 2013. The book will be one of the highlights of 2013.

Publisher’s notes: In Elvis Presley, one of the most admired Southern historians of our time takes on one of the greatest cultural icons of all time. The result is a masterpiece: a vivid, gripping biography, set against the rich backdrop of Southern society--indeed, American society--in the second half of the twentieth century.

Author of The Crucible of Race and William Faulkner and Southern History, Joel Williamson is a renowned historian known for his matchless ability to write compelling narratives.

In this tour de force biography, he captures the drama of Presley's career and offers insights into the social upheavals following World War II.

Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley was a contradiction, flamboyant in pegged black pants with pink stripes, yet soft-spoken, respectfully courting a decent girl from church. Then he wandered into Sun Records, and everything changed.
He first went onstage in 1954. "I was scared stiff," Elvis recalled. "Everyone was hollering and I didn't know what they were hollering at." Girls did the hollering--at his snarl and swagger. Williamson calls it "the revolution of the Elvis girls." They took command, insisting on his sexually charged performances. They lived in an intense moment, this generation raised by their mothers, when men had been at war. The first Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education occurred two weeks before Elvis's first gig, turning high schools into battlegrounds of race. Explosively, white girls went wild for a white man singing a black man's songs, "wiggling" erotically.

The book illuminates the zenith of Presley's career, his period of deepest creativity, which captured a legion of fans and kept them fervently loyal throughout years of army, wine, and women. Williamson shows how Elvis himself changed--and didn't. The deferential boy with downcast eyes became the bloated, demented drug addict who, despite his success, never escaped his sense of social inferiority. He bought Graceland in part to escape the judgment of his wealthy, established neighbors. Appreciative and unsparing, musically attuned and socially revealing, Elvis Presley will deepen our understanding of the man and his times.

Note: Amazon USA and Amazon UK have the book listed but it is not yet available for pre-order.

Source: Elvis Information Network / Updated: Jul 22, 2012 
Elvis Presley on: eBay, Amazon


Chavez5150 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 20, 2012report abuse
Looks like Joel should team up with Alana Nash, I'd feel bad for the trees though
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 25, 2012report abuse
We may all have our thoughts on how Elvis' mind worked. However a 'noted historian' doesn't seem a capable person to study his motives and come to some trustworthy conclusion. He may study the historical setting, but is hardly qualified to reach other conclusions. One may have some ideas and ventilate that (like some do on this site), yet it is just an idea. There are so many ways to look at a person and his drives. I for one am hesitant to come to any conclusion (whatever my background is). I just enjoy his music. There is no additional value in disecting a person and his influence on his direct environment so many years after his demise.
Wiebe (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2012report abuse
I think a lot of us identify with Elvis, because he makes you feel like he is one of us. I have friend whose nephew is autistic. And he thinks Elvis was autistic. I actually think Elvis must have been extremely strong and healthy by nature. If you read about some of the side effects of the medication he took, I'm talking phychosis depression etc. And often times he took 10 times the dose, and yet for most if his life he was able to function like a normal person. I think I would have been admitted in a long stay phychiatric board after being in his shoes for a while and I consider myself a stable person.
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2012report abuse
In my view elvis was bi polar and had serious issues,i myself have had to deal with bi polar,your better off being anything but bi polar,people think they know about it but most dont. I dont agree with alot of releases including ftd's,my view is alot of those shows were done when elvis & his mood swings were in full force,would he really want people to hear like that? This book of course is a piece of crap. I think for most part everything that should be released has been released.
None of us are saints but mental issues is a hot subject with me,this world can be a cruel place.
Wiebe (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 23, 2012report abuse
This guy knows nothing about Elvis. If there's one thing Elvis was never ashamed of it was his background. This book be better considered the lowpoint of 2013. I don't know why people feel the need to patronize Elvis postmortem. This guy, like a lot of people who feel the need to let us know that Elvis was not a saint, like we don't know that, is just jealous and confused because he can't grasp Elvis' talent, dispite his own great intelligence. Just let it be. It will outlive any average and mediocre author.
snowplow floater (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 23, 2012report abuse
When Malcomb X was asked what it was like to be back in Mississippi, he stated that you enter Mississippi when you cross the Canadian border, which was a great comment because the South always got a bad reputation when the whole country was at fault. Elvis changed all that, well done Elvis.
theoldscudder (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 22, 2012report abuse
This has promise in that it will not be a whitewashing of Elvis life.
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 22, 2012report abuse
Johnny, you are quite right in your observation. This book is definitely not on my shopping list.
Johnny2523 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 22, 2012report abuse
The deferential boy with downcast eyes became the bloated, demented drug addict who, despite his success, never escaped his sense of social inferiority. Bloated, Demented Drug Addict?? This is what i call a disgrace

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