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Distributed for Reaktion Books

The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley

There is no other way to put it: Elvis is the King. Note the present tense: even though Elvis (supposedly) died nearly forty years ago, he has lived on in our hearts, as a sound, as an image, and as an especially vigorous personality. In fact, it’s safe to say no other celebrity has done so quite as well. The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley is the story of that afterlife, of Elvis after he left the building. Walking the eccentrically carpeted rooms of Graceland, bidding into stratospheric sums on his auctioned relics, and mingling among the some 200,000 impersonators of his likeness, Ted Harrison offers nothing less than the ultimate Elvis tribute.

Harrison begins, of course, in pilgrimage: to Graceland. He shows how Elvis’s estate was pillaged nearly to ruin by his manager but was saved through the deft business acumen and financial vision of his divorced wife, one Priscilla Presley. If Graceland seems holy, that’s because it is: Harrison unveils in Elvis’s allure a deeply spiritual dimension, showing how Elvis fans, over the decades, have anointed their idol with Christ-like qualities. Through Elvis’s extravagance, Harrison raises fascinating links between money and faith, and through Elvis’s life, he shows how the King actually fulfilled a host of roles ranging from hero to martyr to saint. Underpinning the whole story is Elvis’s extraordinary charisma and—lest we forget—his astonishing musical genius.

Fascinating, colorful, and deeply informative, this book is a must-have for any fan, anyone who was ever lucky enough to see Elvis alive or who hopes they might still be able to.

272 pages | 30 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2016

Music: General Music

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“Harrison . . . [has] done landmark work on the Presley phenomenon. . . . Engaging.”


“Harrison’s central thesis that Elvis has been much more heavily and successfully commercialized in death than in life is convincing. . . . It is original. And its most compelling line is that the reason Elvis has been so brilliantly marketed after his death is because he was so badly handled in his lifetime.”


“[A] thorough examination of Elvis’s cultural afterlife.”

Daily Telegraph

“A quirky analysis of the afterlife of the King.”

Love It! Magazine

"Bringing together much of the scholarly discussion around the ‘Elvis Religion’ and so much more, Harrison offers us a wonderful read and brilliant insights not just into the life of the King of Rock & Roll but into our ever growing and ever changing experience of him in our lives."

Christine King, Staffordshire University

“Harrisons’s entertaining though authoritative book will not only reassure existing Elvis fans that his story and legend are still alive, and possibly tell them something new, but it will also introduce the digital generation to the enduring analogue phenomenon of Elvis some forty years after his death!”

David Wall, University of Leeds

Table of Contents

1 ‘The End is Where We Start From’
2 ‘He Has Sounded Forth the Trumpet that Shall Never Call Retreat’
3 Down to His Last Million Dollars
4 Brand Elvis
5 The Followers, the Faithful and the Fanatics
6 The Billion-dollar Question
7 You Too Can Be Elvis
8 Worship the King
9 St Elvis
10 Elvis the Messiah
11 A Piece of Elvis
12 Did Elvis Really Die?
13 The Risen Elvis
Select Bibliography
Photo Acknowledgements

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