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Book Summary: From the author of the critically acclaimed Elvis Presley biography: Last Train to Memphis brings us the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records. The music that he shaped in his tiny Memphis studio with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Ike Turner, Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, introduced a sound that had never been heard before. He brought forth a singular mix of black and white voices passionately proclaiming the vitality of the American vernacular tradition while at the same time declaring, once and for all, a new, integrated musical day. With extensive interviews and firsthand personal observations extending over a 25-year period with Phillips, along with wide-ranging interviews with nearly all the legendary Sun Records artists, Guralnick gives us an ardent, unrestrained portrait of an American original as compelling in his own right as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, or Thomas Edison.
Book Summary: Beginning in 1949, while Elvis Presley and Sun Records were still virtually unknown--and two full years before Alan Freed famously "discovered" rock 'n' roll--Dewey Phillips brought rock 'n' roll to the Memphis airwaves by playing Howlin' Wolf, B. B. King, and Muddy Waters on his nightly radio show Red, Hot and Blue. The mid-South's most popular white deejay, "Daddy-O-Dewey" is part of rock 'n' roll history for being the first major disc jockey to play Elvis Presley (and subsequently to conduct the first live, on-air interview with Elvis). This book illustrates Phillips's role in turning a huge white audience on to previously forbidden race music. His zeal for rhythm and blues legitimized the sound and set the stage for both Elvis's subsequent success and the rock 'n' roll revolution of the 1950s. Using personal interviews, documentary sources, and the oral history collections at the Center for Southern Folklore and the University of Memphis, Louis Cantor presents a very personal view of the disc jockey while arguing for his place as an essential part of rock 'n' roll history.
Book Summary: Listening in on public conversation that recreates Elvis after death, Marcus tracks Presley's resurrection. He grafts together snatches of film, music, books, newspapers, photos, posters, and cartoons, and amazes us with what America has been saying as it raises its late king--and also what this obsession with dead Elvis says about America itself.
Book Summary: The pages of the past are full of characters who remind us that history depends upon the great deeds of men and women, whether famous or humble. Where would America be without George Washington, or Daniel Boone, or Sojourner Truth, or Babe Ruth? Where would we be without so many characters who are less well remembered today? Historians and biographers regularly come across stories of little-known or forgotten heroes, and this book provides a chance to rescue some of the best of them. In Forgotten Heroes, thirty-five of the country's leading historians recount their favorite stories of underappreciated Americans. From Stephen Jay Gould on deaf baseball player Dummy Hoy; to William Leuchtenburg on the truth behind the legendary Johnny Appleseed; to Christine Stansell on Margaret Anderson, who published James Joyce's Ulysses; these portraits can be read equally for delight, instruction, and inspiration Taken together, however, the whole is much more than the sum of its parts. Every culture needs heroes who lead by example and uplift us all in the process. Too often lately, historians have been more intent on picking apart the reputations of previously revered Americans. At times it has seemed as if the academy were on the attack against much of its own culture, denying its past greatness while making heroes only of its dissidents and doubters. Yet as this collection vividly demonstrates, heroes come in many shapes and sizes, and we all gain when we remember and celebrate them. Forgotten Heroes includes nearly as many women as men, and nearly as many people from before 1900 as after. It expands the traditional definition of hero to encompass not only military figures and politicians who took risks for great causes, but also educators, religious leaders, reformers, labor leaders, publishers, athletes, and even a man who started a record company. Many of them were heroes of conscience -- men and women who insisted on doing the right thing, no matter how unpopular or risky, commanding respect even from those who disagreed. Some were famous in their day and have since been forgotten, or remembered only in caricature. Others were little-known even when alive -- yet they all deserve to be remembered today, especially at the gifted hands of the authors of this book.