The weekend before Christmas 1970, Elvis Presley stormed out of Graceland in a drug-addled rage, escaping his handlers for two days and flying back and forth across the country. He finally landed in Washington, D.C., where he begged for, and received, an audience with President Nixon. In the Oval Office, with flashbulbs popping, he was awarded -- of all things -- an FBI Special Narcotics Agent badge. It was a surreal moment. But the story doesn't end -- or begin -- there. Against the backdrop of that historical meeting, Jonathan Lowy weaves a vivid web of stories about the eccentric cast of characters whose lives were touched by the encounter. Some of the stories are real, some are fiction, all are unforgettable. We meet Colonel Alex Sitorski, who spends his tormented days at the Pentagon, trying to develop the right PR spin on the My Lai massacre even as his troubled son returns from Vietnam and joins the antiwar movement. There's Max Sharpe, an eager-beaver policy wonk and Ehrlichman protege who cooks up feel-good White House programs to distract the public from the war. And there's Ben Rollins, a disabled black veteran and ex-football player whose spectacular act of protest in a Rose Garden ceremony sets off a chain of events that touches nearly everyone around him. In the middle of the fray stand Richard Nixon, his integrity and presidency becoming more precarious by the day, and Elvis Presley, desperately searching for what he's lost along the way to stardom. It's a sleek, darkly funny, almost hallucinogenic trip through the '70s with Tricky Dick and the King riding shotgun. It's a book you won't be able to put down, with characters who will stay in your mind long after you've turned the last page.
New York : Crown Publishers, 2001
Branch Call Number:
vii, 335 p. ;,25 cm
From Library Staff
The weekend before Christmas 1970, Elvis Presley met President Nixon. Against the backdrop of that historical meeting, Jonathan Lowy weaves a vivid web of stories about the cast of characters whose lives were touched by the encounter.