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Extended Audio Sample Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, by Peter Guralnick Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,061 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Peter Guralnick Narrator: Kevin Stillwell Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2012 ISBN: 9781611135282
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Careless Love is the full, true, and mesmerizing story of Elvis Presley’s last two decades, in the long-awaited second volume of Peter Guralnick’s masterful two-part biography.

Last Train to Memphis, the first part of Guralnick’s two-volume life of Elvis Presley, was acclaimed by the New York Times as “a triumph of biographical art.” This concluding volume recounts the second half of Elvis’ life in rich and previously unimagined detail, and confirms Guralnick’s status as one of the great biographers of our time.

Beginning with Presley’s army service in Germany in 1958 and ending with his death in Memphis in 1977, Careless Love chronicles the unraveling of the dream that once shone so brightly, homing in on the complex playing-out of Elvis’ relationship with his Machiavellian manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It’s a breathtaking, revelatory drama that for the first time places the events of a too-often mistold tale in a fresh, believable, and understandable context.

Elvis’ changes during these years form a tragic mystery that Careless Love unlocks for the first time. This is the quintessential American story, encompassing elements of race, class, wealth, sex, music, religion, and personal transformation. Written with grace, sensitivity, and passion, Careless Love is a unique contribution to our understanding of American popular culture and the nature of success, giving us true insight at last into one of the most misunderstood public figures of our times.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Riveting...A masterwork. Wall Street Journal
  • Let's get a little loud.... Peter Guralnick's two-volume life of Elvis Aron Presley, of which Careless Love is the second instalment, is not simply the finest rock-and-roll biography ever written. It must be ranked among the most ambitious and crucial biographical undertakings yet devoted to a major American figure of the twentieth century. Gerald Marzorati, New York Times Book Review
  • “Remarkably, Mr. Guralnick neither moralizes about Elvis’ actions nor opines about his place in history…The result: a crystalline focus on the man and his music that offers up Elvis’ life as a sort of Rorschach test for the late twentieth century…Together the two volumes make up a 1,100-page masterwork—a streamlined and riveting narrative tracing the rise and fall of arguably the most important entertainer of the century.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • Careless Love, a chronicle of shadows and sadness, is no sentimental epitaph. It is the fine and careful measure of a pilgrim traveler…in Guralnick’s thorough and compassionate telling.”

    Time

  • “We all know how the story ends, but Guralnick still manages to break our hearts in the telling…Careless Love is the toughest book about Elvis ever written, but it’s also one of the loveliest…One of the saddest stories ever told.”

    Newsday

  • “With the intense and objective eye of a master biographer…Guralnick takes the reader into the underlying issues of class, race, and the American desire to transform who we are into something better…Monumental.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Guralnick has done a masterful job of synthesizing information into a nuanced, deftly paced narrative. He brings long-overdue subtlety and insight to one of the most over-scrutinized characters in American popular culture.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “The great triumph of Careless Loveis that it celebrates, amid an unflinching portrait of personal and creative deterioration, the immutable innocence of Elvis’ aspiration.”

    Boston Globe

  • Careless Love restores the flesh to Elvis’ beleaguered bones…Guralnick writes with such profound sympathy for his subject that Elvis’ fate, though excruciating to read about, isn’t shocking as it was, for example, in Albert Goldman’s loathsome 1981 biography…Guralnick, working with the same basic material, shows us a terribly unhappy and frustrated man. I know which version I believe.”

    GQ

  • “Mr. Guralnick’s book is a labor of love and of profound respect. What’s remarkable is how he manages to be simultaneously compassionate and dispassionate, truthful, unflinching, and nonjudgmental. His (all too rare) refusal to criticize, second-guess, or gloat…lends the entire enterprise an aura of capaciousness, generosity, and even transcendence…Everything in the biography strikes you as fitting seamlessly together…Mr. Guralnick’s book enlarges your imagination for the extremes and marvels, the highs and lows that can occur within a single lifetime.”

    New York Observer

  • “Tracing what seems a grand and irrevocable arc through an American life that finally became an American tragedy, Peter Guralnick has produced the second half of his colossal biography of Elvis Presley…Depressing as the story is, Guralnick’s approach redeems Elvis as a human, not a myth or a punch line, and calmly, methodically makes coherent what often has been obscured by the almost X-Files level of paranoid fantasy associated with the King’s final years.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “A brilliant, beautifully written biography…With sentences built simply and carefully, yet containing ideas that are intense and true…Guralnick has created a masterpiece.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Essential reading not only for fans…but for anyone curious about the process and price of fame in America.”

    Tampa Tribune

  • “[A] definitive and scrupulous biography…As in volume one, Last Train to Memphis, Guralnick makes his points here through the selection and accretion of detail…The integrity of this approach is admirable. Many writers have made Presley the vehicle for their own ideas; Guralnick gives us a fallible human being destroyed by forces within as well as without. It’s an epic American tragedy, captured here in all its complexity.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Picking up where he left off in volume one, Guralnick captures it all…This is clearly the definitive account of Elvis Presley, no more lurid than it has to be. The author’s thoroughness is matched by his balance. It is obvious Guralnick has a deep admiration for Elvis’ contributions as an artist, but he does not overlook or excuse the star’s many flaws. An indispensable account.”

    Booklist

  • “This sequel to Guralnick’s Last Train to Memphis, completing his intensive biography of Elvis Presley, does not disappoint…The breadth of Guralnick’s research is nothing short of amazing, and his lyrical narrative presents an empathetic portrait of a man struggling with drugs, sex, family, personal eccentricities, money, and the delicate web of relationships surrounding any famous figure. Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker, wife Priscilla, father Vernon, and a host of close associates are portrayed with candor and insight. Details about everything from recording sessions to private conversations make this work hard to resist for die-hard Elvis fans as well as casual admirers. Guralnick’s honesty and skill make this tale all the more disturbing, peeling away the romantic image of a fine talent to reveal a deeply troubled man.”

    Library Journal

  • “Guralnick concludes his majestic two-volume biography of Elvis Presley with copious evidence of Elvis’ creative and personal plunge…This sequel to his exhilarating first volume is the most meticulously researched and sympathetic, honest portrait of Elvis we are likely to see.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Careless Love continues to show that Guralnick ‘gets’ what Presley was trying to do as an artist.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Prateek | 2/16/2014

    " The follow-up to Guralnick's definitive biography on Elvis. Here we see -- in sad, dispassionate detail -- Elvis slowly squandering his gifts to crappy movies and his ever sycophantic yes men. Guralnick manages to be both unsparing and compassionate. He sees this story as a genuine tragedy -- not the punchline of so many "Fat Elvis" jokes. In telling this tale, Guralnick rescues Elvis from camp and parody. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Otis Spice | 2/15/2014

    " Another miracle "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 2/14/2014

    " An excellent biography of Elvis, however, I recommend reading Last Train to Memphis 1st as it starts at the beginning. Careless Love begins with Private Elvis and you miss much of the beginning of his rise to stardom.This book is very detailed and descriptive. Few pictures though. Happy 75th Birthday Elvis! Your still the King! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carlos Repuestodelatabla | 2/14/2014

    " A depressing book, but thoroughly researched and both supports and demystifies the mythic Fall of Elvis. It seems inexorable, but at the same, shows he, not always pleasant,was captain of his ship. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kent | 2/9/2014

    " The story of Elvis is so much sadder and stranger than I could ever have imagined, in spite of the calm, compassionate, and amazingly thorough nature of Guralnick's telling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 cheeseblab | 1/11/2014

    " if you're going to suffer this depressing half of the story, read Guralnick's first volume, Last Train to Memphis, first; that's where most of the fun happens "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 1/6/2014

    " Following on from Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, this is the second volume in this definitive Elvis biography, taking his life from his time in the army until his death in 1977. Subtitled, "the unmaking of Elvis Presley" this is not the story of his rise, but rather his fall. It takes us through his dissatisfaction with his career in endless teen films, his desire to go back on tour, his short lived marriage and many girlfriends. Towards the end of his life both his personal relationships and his career seemed to be in freefall and there was much to read that saddened me. However, the author always treats his subject with respect and understanding. If you want to understand the man that Elvis was, you could do little better than read this two volume biography, which is written with enormous depth and also immense affection. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gina Platt | 1/4/2014

    " again...burning bulding "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Damon | 12/21/2013

    " This book and its companion(Last Train to Memphis) are the best music books I've ever read. They are full of detail of not only Elvis's personal life, but they give a very detailed account of all his recordings and movies. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Florence | 12/8/2013

    " Elvis was ruined by his own good fortune. He had an extraordinary talent which he squandered. He was a bit demented, always surrounded by a group of loyal "guys" like a perpetual adolescent, and always armed. They say that success is a "bitch goddess" and the fate of Elvis Presley confirms it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennie | 10/30/2013

    " The best biography I've ever read on the King of rock 'n' roll, bar none. Note: this is Part Two. Be sure to read Part One entitled "The Last Train To Memphis". The music history is intense. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marian Brown | 8/10/2013

    " I cried all the way through this. What a human tragedy this story is. How does it keep happening over and over? Middle aged people who lived through the Elvis years and live in Tennessee will especially love this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laguna374 | 7/19/2013

    " A brutally sad story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shauna | 7/8/2013

    " The counterpart to Last Train to Memphis, Careless Love has the dramatic magnetism of a train wreck. All that beauty gone to waste...all that talent gone crazy. Elvis is the premier American tragedy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 5/8/2013

    " Wow, this book really shows you what a tragic turn Elvis' life took. a very detailed, entertaining read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alan Tranter | 4/7/2013

    " The key word here is "unmaking". After the build-up in the previous volume, here you see Elvis coming apart. I still maintain that all that matters to history is the music, but this is as fascinating as it is (in places) disturbing and (more often) sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben | 2/5/2013

    " I am one of those people that think big fat Elvis is way cooler than young good looking Elvis. Sure he came to an untimely death because of drugs, had way more charisma when he got all bloated and was on them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Carlson | 2/5/2013

    " One of the most depressing books I have ever read. What a sad, sad story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Neal Orenstein | 1/27/2013

    " One of the best rock & roll bios. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charlierutledge | 1/18/2013

    " found a lot I did not know about Elvis "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jnagle4 | 12/31/2012

    " Guralnick's second volume is neither. He doesn't sugarcoat Presley's flaws, but writes about them with compassion. The last part of Elvis' life is the story of a man who got everything he wanted, but died unfulfilled. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Teri | 12/25/2012

    " This first vol about Elvis is the b est book ev er written about Elvis by far. "

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