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PEN/Hemingway Award-winner Bobbie Ann Mason turns her acumen on one of twentieth-century America's most mysterious icons, The King himself. This new biography eschews sensational speculation to paint a thoughtfully researched but wholly felt portrait of the man-child who metamorphosed into a hero, one of the most popular and least supported characters in American history. In 1955, at age 20, Elvis provoked his first near-riot when he sang at a baseball park in Jacksonville. Inspired by black gospel quartets and mentored by producer Sam Phillips, Elvis blended hillbilly music with rhythm and blues in a synthesis that defined a new direction for popular music. Mason's book gets at the consciousness of the icon and of the cultural climate that made him one.