February 14, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

The Elvis Reader

Current Status
In Season
Kevin Quain
St. Martin's Press
Pop Culture, Nonfiction, Music
We gave it an A-

All the instructors in Elvis Studies should be happy to see this collection. The Elvis Reader is the perfect basic text for ”Intro to the King,” since the 29 pieces collected here offer enough inconclusive analysis to inspire endless discussion. Within these pages, Elvis lives as a brilliant musician, a God-fearing rube, a hero with 1,000 mythical faces, a domineering hubby, a drug-gobbling slob, and so much more. From early journalistic assessments to beyond-the-grave visitations, the Reader gives us Presley’s image as refracted by the kaleidoscope of American culture. In the book’s preface, rock satirist Mojo Nixon cuts to the deep-fried heart of the matter when he says, ”Elvis seemed to be able to do the coolest thing & the shlockiest thing in the same five minutes and not know the difference.” A-

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