GRACELAND

GOING HOME WITH ELVIS

This cultural history of Elvis's interiors is intended as high-concept but reads like a hastily researched brochure from a generalized Presley museum. In tones of not-quite-believable enthusiasm, Marling (Art History and American Studies/Univ. of Minnesota; As Seen on TV, 1994, etc.) attempts to humanize Presley by concentrating on the physical spaces he inhabited, as well as describing the larger areas he frequented (Oxford, Miss., Memphis, Las Vegas). The concept isn't altogether bad—but Marling fails to come up with a fresh take. Consistently she loses her grip and slides into the most basic biographical territory: ``Sun Studios is the stuff of legends''; ``He appealed to some primitive streak in the young.'' She's at her best when describing Graceland as nearly pure metaphor—as a vision of the old South whose precedent was Tara Mansion in the movie version of Gone With the Wind. Some of the room-by-room exegeses of Graceland are diverting, too. But the lack of effort shines through. Ever wonder why Elvis wanted a jungle motif for his living room? She points out the well-known fact that he loved Hawaiian kitsch, and the less well known fact that one of his record producers had his office done that way—but beyond that, your guess is as good as hers. ``Of course,'' she rambles, ``when everything is said that can be said to account for the den at Graceland, there is also the possibility that Elvis Presley had terrible taste, or that Elvis chic occupies an aesthetic dimension in which conventional standards of good taste are irrelevant.'' Too obvious to qualify as cultural studies, too blandly written for a Wayne Koestenbaum-esque personal-interaction-with-subject book. Peter Guralnick's biography remains the standard for those who want to understand the King. (35 line drawings)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 1996

ISBN: 0-674-35889-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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