I would not recommend Dr. George Nichopoulous’ “The King and Dr. Nick: What Really Happened to Elvis and Me.” I was fortunate enough to be provided a copy in a special pre-release directly from Thomas Nelson for review purposes. If still interested, you can purchase a copy for under $17 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/King-Dr-Nick-Really-Happened/dp/1595551719/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264806685&sr=8-1)or directly from the publisher at http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=1595551719&title=The_King_and_Dr._Nick&author=Dr._George_Nichopoulos.
Honestly, this book was quite disappointing. The author did not really share with the reader who Elvis was. His accounts seemed impersonal at times and quite general in scope. He seemed to only be specific when listing off certain prescriptions – what was given and how they were given. His accounts seemed guarded – as if he was either protecting himself or the image of Elvis. If the latter, I respect that, but just don’t write a book then. I often thought that I was reading a medical rap sheet rather than a biography. I wanted to know more about his life, his motivations, his struggles, his faith, his relationships, and his career. His story – not Dr. Nick’s. I am not even talking about the “juicy” details – just more about Dr. Nick’s friendship with the superstar – conversations, observations, etc. There were glimpses of this early on but soon disappeared all together. In fact, half the book is not even about Elvis Presley – but rather Dr. Nick’s defense before the medical boards, federal courts, and American press. These stories are necessary, I understand that, but not intriguing enough to carry or close out a book. I sense that there are better sources on Elvis’ life (especially since Dr. Nick did not work with Elvis in the early years). The trouble would be to find an author who is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Good luck with that. My counsel to any interested readers: If you have read any books on the life of Elvis, I doubt that this book will give you any information that you did not already know or actually need to know.
I am not passing judgement on Elvis Presley nor on Dr. Nick. This is obviously not my place. I was not even alive when Mr. Presley passed away. I have not studied nor care to study the details of the case. I cannot and will not reach a conclusion on the cause of his death, on who is to blame for his death, or whether his doctor is in anyway responsible for his death. These details should be left to debate in another day and between experts who are more familiar with the case.
What troubles me is a quote by Elvis Presley when speaking of himself, “The man is one thing; the image is another. It’s very hard to live up to an image” (Nichopoulos, 122). Here is a man who, by the standards of his day, had everything. The popularity, the power, and the prosperity. He was and is often still considered to be the King of Rock and Roll. His home is only second to the White House as the most visited house in the United States. His music still tops the charts. He had everything – and yet, he wanted more. Here was a man who was overwhelmingly sick – just take a look at a few of the chapters to see the amount of health complications that he suffered with. He overworked himself. He went from one woman to another. He could not sleep. He had no privacy. No peace. He had a plethora of fears and periods of failure. He did not even live to see the age of fifty. He was surrounded by many who would turn on him after he was gone for a quick book contract. His name was slandered just months after he was buried.
I am reminded of when the bible reads, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom'” (Matthew 16:24-28, NIV).
I have no idea what it would be like to have this type of pressure . . . and I have no idea how he chose to cope with that pressure or how that pressure progressed throughout his career. But I do see a trend in many superstars, especially successful recording musicians, who struggle to ever find a balance between their fame and their faith. I imagine that if you hear your name being chanted enough times you begin to believe that you are worthy of such praise. And none of us are. For example, why did Elvis decide to begin wearing those signature jumpsuits? He did not wear those sort of outfits until his comeback and not really until his debut in Las Vegas. Did he begin to believe that he really was the King of Rock and Roll? That he really was royalty? That he needed or deserved the pomp and circumstance? Was this showmanship or something more?
I do not know. I will never know. And I don’t need to. What I do need to do is learn from others. I must guard against the desire to be someone for the mere fact of being someone. I don’t want what Elvis had. He lost too much in the process. He really lost himself. He was a talented musician. A great voice. A great entertainer and performer. He changed the face of music in the 20th century. But was all of that hard work and trial worth it? Was the price paid too much? Christ seemed to be content to live his life in sacrifice rather than stardom. He was uncomfortable with the praise. He had compassion for the crowds. He was not an entertainer – he was a Savior. That is the One whom I devote my life to. That is the One that I wish to model my life after. Every day I must check every thought and every action: Do I wish to be a king or do I wish to serve One.
Official Book Description: The truth about Elvis’s death from the doctor who spent eleven years as “the King’s” personal physician, father-figure, and confidant—”Dr. Nick.” Dr. Nichopoulos spent a decade with Elvis on the road and at Graceland, trying to maintain the precarious health of one of the world’s greatest entertainers. But on August 16, 1977, he found himself in the ambulance with Elvis on that fateful last trip to the ER. He signed the death certificate. From that day forward, Dr. Nick became the focus of a media witch hunt which threatened his life and all but destroyed his professional reputation. Now, for the first time, Dr. Nick reveals the true story behind Elvis’s drug use and final days—not the version formed by years of tabloid journalism and gross speculation. Put aside what you’ve learned about Elvis’s final days and understand for the first time the inner workings of “the king of rock n’ roll.”