Thursday, 29 December 2011

James P. Cole, "The Death of Elvis: What Really Happened?" (1991)

Ever since the early 1990s, when I was researching an article on Elvis' death for my university newspaper, I have found the death of the 'king of rock'n'roll' pretty fascinating. At the time, my interest was spurred by the conclusions of the rather inflated sounding Elvis Presley Commission. This book seems to be generally regarded as one of the less biased, and better researched texts on the topic.

While the book generally presents a fairly convincing case, it is written in the kind of 'crime thriller' rhetoric that intends to make the process of research (conducting interviews and archival digging) more exciting. I have to admit that the process was exciting, in that much of the research was conducted as part of a respected American investigative news program, and/or as part of a legal proceedings growing out of the program's work. Attempts by the authors to occasionally describe their participant's behaviour, or characterizations of what these persons were thinking sometimes rang as amateurish.

In short, the book provides a nice introduction to some of the issues around Presley's death, and given the descriptions of expert testimonies in legal proceedings, helps to build a strong case for the proposal that Presley died of a drug overdose or, at the very least, drug-related causes.

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