LET'S TALK ... OPERATION ELVIS
by ALAN LEVYFor a person selling this hunk of printed dynamite, I've been damned honest!
This fast-paced book (the first real hard-backed book about Elvis ever published), is written by Alan Levy, a Louisville, Kentucky, reporter, and deals with the problems of the U.S. Army and its most famous Private, as the pair of them attempt to make a go of their enforced two-year "marriage."
The book has been hailed as an amusing, even a hilarious book, and to the unbiased reader they will probably find it so. Certainly there are some light moments as the adventures of a million-dollar baby suddenly transformed into plain G.I. Joe is skillfully unfolded; but alas! We are not unbiased readers. We are Elvis fans - first, last and always - so it is hard to find this book as hysterically funny as the U.S. Zecs of the Press.
In my opinion, the crazy-man crackpot fringe of the public and fans is given too prominent a place in the book, and the intelligent hard-working fan is given little or no mention at all. This is due, no doubt, to the fact that in his researches (which included a murder and a violent death) into what transpired as this idol grew, Mr. Levy quite naturally had little occasion to read and hear that the majority of Elvis fans are not given to writing suicide notes, threatening letters of tearing the clothes off Elvis's back! He only saw the gawdy and frantic segment of his followers. The English fan knows little of this lunatic fringe, and on this count alone the book should be bought. for believe me, Mr. Levy shows us no mercy. some fans feel this book deserves a special place in the Annals of Presley Literature. Others feel it is good for nothing but the garbage can.
While I find much in it to deplore, on the strength of its systematic and thorough research into Elvis's army career alone, it must be regarded as a high-class collector's item. For it offers a mirror into which we can look and find many things. Prejudice against our boy. Prejudice against his fans. Many different views on what makes Elvis the idol he is. Views on what makes Elvis fans what they are, and therefore as a result of this how can we best correct them.
And most of all, we need not look too closely at the acid ink which the printer used, to see the indomitable courage, patience, and innate goodness of Elvis Aron Presley.
Albert Hand, Elvis Monthly September 1960.