(Not Just) Another Elvis Book

By Mike Stout

Elvis Presley fans will definitely want to pick up a copy of Peter Guralnick's "Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presle."

Guralnick spoke about the book in a recent telephone interview, describing it as a story of the times, a time when white America was greatly influenced by and was buying African-American music. Elvis, he said, was influenced by African Americans in very much the same manner that the "Father of Country Music," Jimmie Rodgers, was influenced by an African-American musician named Tee Tot.

This book looks at the horizon instead of the hindsight of Elvis Presley, the roots of his music. Guralnick interviewed Elvis' Aunt Lillian, ex-girlfriends, many childhood friends and music and business associates of Elvis for this book. He believes that Elvis was a quiet, yet confident dreamer who believed in himself and knew he would be successful, but rarely shared his dreams with his friends. Many of the childhood friends Guralnick interviewed had been total1y surprised by Elvis' success.

This book stands separate from the multitude of Elvis books written to date because it explains Elvis' aspirations, the world as he saw it through his 19-year-old eyes.

Guralnick explained that this book covers the period of Elvis' life up to the death of his beloved mother and his being drafted into the army. He is currently writing a second volume to pick up where this book left off.

Guralnick will be signing copies of "Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley (Little, Brown And Company,$24.95) on Thurs., Oct 6, from 78:30 p.m. at HawleyCooke Booksellers on Shelbyville Road.