Book Review : Elvis My Best Man By George Klein

By: Mike Householder
Source: Associated Press
July 27, 2011

He's known around the world simply as Elvis, and his life story has been told and retold in every imaginable medium, from documentaries and movies to biographies and memoirs. And they keep rolling in.

The latest, 'Elvis: My Best Man: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley', comes from George Klein, who befriended Elvis Presley when they were high school classmates. Klein went on to earn a place in the King's inner circle of friends and employees known as the Memphis Mafia.

'Elvis: My Best Man' isn't a tell-all. Klein makes it clear in the author's note that he 'was offered a fair amount' to write such a book after Presley's death. Instead, what he offers is an insider's view of Presley the man as opposed to Presley the singer, actor and icon. 'So much has been written and said about Elvis Presley that for a long time I didn't feel the need to add my own book to the clamor', Klein writes. 'Now, though, I'm old enough to know that I won't always be around to speak of the Elvis I knew'. His Elvis is funny, kind, whip-smart and generous. Presley bought Klein gifts, including a new car, and paid for his wedding he was Klein's best man at the nuptials, hence the book's title. Many who write or reminisce about their time with Presley focus on subjects that titillate, but Klein holds off on all of that, preferring to paint a picture of Presley the human being.

The book comes across as an affectionate recounting of the times Klein spent with a man he considered his best friend. Klein called 'GK' by Presley offers a stirring account of how Presley coped with the untimely passing of his beloved mother, Gladys, whom Klein calls 'the anchor in his crazy life'.

Elvis : My Best Man by Geoge Klein Book
Elvis My Best Man
Elvis and George Klein at WMC Radio in 1956
Elvis and George Klein at WMC Radio in 1956

'I've come to believe that if Mrs. Presley had lived a full life, Elvis would be with us today', Klein writes.

The book features retellings of Presley's interactions with other famous figures of the era from Ann-Margret and Steve McQueen to Nat King Cole and James Brown.

'Elvis: My Best Man' also hits on the major points in Presley's life, including his marriage to and divorce from Priscilla Beaulieu; his time in the Army; his movie and music careers; and so on. Klein unlocks the door to the King's court, but what he shows us isn't a tale of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll favored by other Presley biographers. His is a tribute and a welcome addition to the mountain of Presley books already on the market. George Klein reveals a softer and more generous side of Elvis than other books. He emphasises Elvis was just a mere mortal human being and made mistakes just like everyone else has in their lifetime.

Recommendations From Those That Would know

'George, bravo! I learned some new things about you and your life, especially the earlier years. I feel you capture the essence of Elvis not only in dialogue, but also in giving the reader a sense of his personality, humor, and his spirit of play... I know that Elvis would be proud that you've remained his loyal and lifelong friend'. Priscilla Presley 'George was with Elvis from the beginning. He personally knows the story'. - Dick Clark

'George Klein is something else. Through the years, George has been right there. He's got the great stories and he's always talked about Elvis and  presented him with great dignity'. Tom Petty

'GK was there from the beginning, and there 'til the end. This book is fact'. - Jerry Lee Lewis

'GK was one of the most important friends and confidants of Elvis Presley ...

... This book captures all the excitement of the birth of rock 'n' roll, and reminds us of the very significant roles that Elvis and GK played as rock 'n' roll pioneers'. - Jerry Schilling

Highly recommended: Information as only George can tell it as he was there. Elvis Australia

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Elvis: My Best Man: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley Book

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