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  • Writer's pictureDonna

It's all about Vegas and lots of old-time celebrities

but talks specifically about how Elvis changed the way entertainment was done in Vegas for the years to come.

Elvis in Vegas book cover photo

Elvis in Vegas, Richard Zoglin

Genre: Biography, Nonfiction, History

Published 2019, 304 pageslvis

As a life-long avid fan of Elvis, and someone who saw him perform live three times in the early ‘70s, I was disappointed in this book. One of the chapters in the book is titled “Entertainment Capital” and that should have been the title of this book.

The first chapter is about Elvis and then he disappears from the story. This book is really a history of Vegas – when the first casino was built, and the second, and the third. It talks about who built and/or who owned each hotel, how tall they were, and how many rooms they had.

Welcome to Las Vegas sign photo by Terrie Purkey

Entertainers over the years are named exhaustively – big name entertainers in the main showrooms and the smaller draws in the lounges. Think of anyone who played in Vegas in the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and their name is mentioned. There was a lot about Frank Sinatra (and the other members of the Rat pack) and all his horrible antics, his incredible temper, and his mistreatment of people. While it touches briefly on Elvis’ marriage, his entourage, and his ’68 Comeback Special (and if you’re an Elvis fan nothing new is revealed), the book really doesn’t focus on Elvis until the last 50 pages or so when it concentrates on his performances at the International Hotel starting in 1969.

A couple of interesting facts are that Elvis ended up disliking the song Hound Dog (the only song of his I’ve never cared for) and his planning of his act at the International – he made all his own decisions about the act.

Overall, not a book you want to read if you’re looking for something new about Elvis or if you’re expecting Elvis to be the focal point of the book (like I was).

photos by Terrie Purkey, Las Vegas, NV

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