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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

July 17, 1994|Paul Feldman

THE DAY ELVIS MET NIXON by Egil "Bud" Krogh (Pejama Press: $18.95; 61 pp.) You've seen the postcard, the T-shirt, the kitchen magnet. Now comes the book, chronicling the fateful half-hour Oval Office summit between the King and the Prez in 1970. According to author Egil "Bud" Krogh, a Watergate hand who served 4 months and 17 days in federal prison for his role in the Ellsberg break-in, Elvis Presley showed Richard Nixon photos of wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie, police badges he had collected across the nation and the cuff links on his shirt. The President, for his part, handed out tie clasps and possibly--Krogh isn't sure--golf balls, cuff links and pins. Nixon also directed White House photographer Ollie Atkins to memorialize the scene, and discussed the nation's drug problem with his guest. "Just be sure you keep your credibility," the President advised the King shortly before the session broke up. Krogh's brightly illustrated account is a rather thorough presentation. Indeed, the book takes just as long to pore through as the meeting itself took. By reprinting the 10 frames shot by Atkins, Krogh also demonstrates that pictures are often worth at least a thousand words. Of particular note are the awkward look on Nixon's face as Elvis showed him his gewgaws and the spare look of Nixon's Oval Office. His bookshelves, rather than containing books, were repositories for at least seven life-size models of birds. Krogh says in his introduction: "I don't claim that all direct quotes represent exactly what was said in the meeting or at other times during the day. But I'm comfortable that the words I've quoted are pretty close." One other thing: The book contains a copy of an April 14, 1994, letter from Nixon himself, congratulating Krogh on its publication and adding that he was "greatly impressed by Elvis' sincerity." Four days later, Nixon suffered the stroke that led to his death. Coincidence?

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