Sign up for newsletter
 

The Elvis Encyclopedia

By Adam Vector

Overlook Duckworth, 608 pages, $65 hardcover

Reviewed by Ken Burke, February 2009

Find it on Amazon
The life of Elvis Aron Presley has been chronicled thousands of times in books both big and small. Indeed, there already exist several volumes listed as "encyclopedias." That said, few are as comprehensive or as flat-out useful as this remarkable tome.

Sporting a hard back, glossy paper and dozens of pictures - both color and black & white - this smartly researched project boasts an impressive range of entries detailing all eras of Presley's career and personal life. In addition to the rock king's on-stage set list, recordings, friends, professional associates and influences, the origins of many songs, the impact of fame, theories about his sexuality and business dealings are all covered in a crisp no-nonsense style.

Fans of Presley's movie career will find this an especially thorough resource with its cast lists, plot synopsis and bottom lines providing both titillating trivia and deft command of career context. Remarkably, hundreds of books are referenced.

However, not every person of note is covered. For example, Presley's friend and Sun artist Barbara Pittman is not given an entry. Nor are Tillman Franks and Pappy Covington, who helped bring the young rockabilly to the Louisiana Hayride. Yet, such omissions can be forgiven when so much satisfying information bursts from nearly every page. If you are seeking one reliable resource about the King of Rock 'n' Roll's life, times, and work, this one comes highly recommended.