Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Review: "The King And Dr.Nick" by George Nichopoulos, M.D.

I wanted to read this book because my wife is a very devoted fan of Elvis and after visiting Graceland last year I have to admit I'm rather intrigued by the man myself (Related post: "What I learned at Graceland"). This volume, by the man who was Elvis' personal physician for ten years, did not disappoint my curiosity to learn a bit more about the complex man/myth/legend which is Elvis Presley.

The first chapter of the book is a narrative by "Dr. Nick" of the fateful day in August, 1977 when Elvis passed away. Because he was Elvis' doctor, he was called when Elvis was found unconscious in his bedroom and arrived at Graceland just in time to accompany Elvis to the hospital in the ambulance and witness the efforts made to save his life. There is quite a bit of detail included, as I'm sure that day is indelibly impressed into his mind. He also details the extra efforts taken by the authorities in Memphis and the Presley family regarding the autopsy performed and provides very compelling arguments as to what (or rather what did not) caused Elvis' death.

The next chapters of the book cover highlights of the ten years Dr. Nick spent as Elvis' personal physician in Memphis. He goes over tours which on which he accompanied Elvis, details about Elvis' health and chronic medical conditions which made the grueling tour schedule all the more difficult for him. He details the extraordinary efforts he took to keep Elvis in good health so Elvis could do what he loved best: entertain his many fans all over the world. Through these pages, one gets an intimate glimpse into the extraordinary life Elvis led as a man driven to give his best to everything he did. Dr. Nick touches upon the extreme generosity of Elvis as well as gives insight into the life of a man shrouded in mystery and legend.

The last section of the book describes the personal trials Dr. Nick went through after Elvis' passing. He describes the pursuit of (then) 20/20 reporter Geraldo Rivera and how the fallout of the story about the alleged conspiracy to cover up the real cause of Elvis' death dogged Dr. Nick until he was finally forced to leave the medical profession. Throughout it all, Dr. Nick confidently assures the reader that the cause of Elvis' death was not according to "popular knowledge" and gives compelling reasons so the reader will understand.

The epilogue compares and contrasts Dr. Nick's experience after Elvis' death to the experiences of another doctor - the personal physician to Michael Jackson upon that artist's death. It's an interesting way to wrap up the story.

I found this book to be very interesting and recommend anyone who is interested in Elvis to give it a read.

Disclaimer: I am a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program. Although Thomas Nelson Publishing provided the book at no cost to me, this review is my honest opinion of the work.

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