Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958-2009
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Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958-2009

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,273 ratings  ·  159 reviews
So much has how been said and written about the life and career of Michael Jackson that it has become almost impossible to disentangle the man from the myth. This book is the fruit of over 30 years of research and hundreds of exclusive interviews with a remarkable level of access to the very closest circles of the Jackson family - including Michael himself. Cutting through...more
Hardcover, 784 pages
Published August 5th 2009 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 9th 1992)
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Lady Sharmaine
As what Michael Jackson says "why not tell people l'm an alien from Mars. tell them I eat live chickens and do voodoo dance at midnight. They'll believe anything you say, because you're a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, "I'm an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do voodoo dance at midnight," people would say, "Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is NUTS. He's cracked up. You can't believe a damn word that comes out of his mouth."

From his chilhood to his present Michael is s...more
Julia
i read this a long time ago... before all the marriages and artificial inseminations... back when everyone called him 'wacko jacko' because of the nose jobs, girly voice and pet monkey... it was an interesting read and now that all of this other stuff is tabloid fodder, the book gives you a much clearer insight as to why this poor guy's so messed up. money certainly doesn't buy happiness.
Jason
Nov 18, 2009 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
The first cd I ever owned was Michael Jackson's Dangerous. It was at that point that MJ would be the most fascinating artist to me. He was an enigma.

Like most people, I was astounded by all the things that he supposedly did (which I'm still not sure of - too much deception involved on both sides), but also by the controversial things that can't be denied. Since his death in June, I have wanted to learn more about him. I read a couple magazines about him and they mostly talked about who he was m...more
Eleanore
It's worth noting right off the bat that Taraborelli is an author who, despite being demonstably eager to do justice to his subject, struggles with accuracy. The first half of the book - which focuses on Michael's youth until about age 20, just after the release of his first solo album outside Motown, "Off the Wall", in 1979 - is rather obviously the better researched (and clearly more accurate) half of this massive tome. The rest isn't something to be ignored or completely written off, however....more
JoJo
Never written a review; but, this is my thoughts upon finishing:

Being a Jackson fan for as long as I can remember, it took me a long time to even want to read about his life/death.

I researched the author and felt like this would be the most forthcoming, true accounting of facts, and was not disappointed.

The younger years with his brothers, his abusive father, multiple family tours, LaToya's destructive behavior, his devotion to his mother, leaving his faith, his relationship with Lisa Marie, his...more
Athena Braun
What people forgot was that M.J. was a human being.He felt pain, loneliness, he wasn't perfect, he made mistakes & he had his quirks.. This book tries to seperate the man from the legend. Some interesting things I learned: Did U know Thriller was almost shelved?, At one point in time he was scared to drive?, how about Did you know he was the one who started the story about tthe hyperbaric chamber?(He wanted his career to be the Greatest show on Earth and it was!!!) The bad thing is journalis...more
Tara
This book was first published in 1993, updated in 2004 (when Jackson was accused of child molestation for the second time.) I've read quite a few of Taraborrelli's celebrity biographies, and this one was particularly interesting because he befriended Michael at an early age. The book is strongest dealing with the first 30 years of Michael's life, from his humble beginnings to child stardom with the Jackson 5 and his enormous success as a solo artist. There were lots of stories about Michael's sh...more
OOSA
Greatest Entertainer Ever

A fan of the late great Michael Jackson, I opened this book wide-eyed with interest. A massive read, it was also hard to put down. However, I'm somewhat torn. While informative, I question the credibility and its accuracy of some of what was written. As an author Taraborrelli's narrative is well written, flows easily, and it's apparent that he had an "inside" look. Some of the book appears to be based in truth, while other parts are questionable and opinionated. That sai...more
Amanda - Go Book Yourself
A brilliant read. Taraborrelli is one of the few authors who can write about Michael Jackson without being overly biased or opinionated.

I read this book a couple of years ago when Micheal was falling from fame. I have always been a fan so I loved this insight into the smaller details of his life. I think passive fans may find it a little tedious though.

I usually dont read MJ Bio's as authors either seem to hate him or be overly obsessed with him. Randy is neither. He was a friend who simply tel...more
Mscharlee
Hands down the BEST book about Michael Jackson there is. Tells in explicit details his entire story; the good and the bad. Very insightful. I devoured this book in like 6 days. Cold read it again. A must-read for any MJ fan or really anyone who is curious about his life. Very detailed.
RNOCEAN
So much has how been said and written about the life and career of Michael Jackson that it has become almost impossible to disentangle the man from the myth. This book is the fruit of over 30 years of research and hundreds of exclusive interviews with a remarkable level of access to the very closest circles of the Jackson family - including Michael himself. Cutting through tabloid rumours, J. Randy Taraborrelli traces the real story behind Michael Jackson, from his drilling as a child star throu...more
Ashley
I've got to hand it to Mr. Taraborrelli...this book was far better than I thought it would be.

Ever since Michael Jackson died I've been interested in reading a biography about him, but it's kind of hard to find a good one. Some of the books I'd seen boasted preposterous claims that made it difficult for me to even consider picking the book up and being able to take it seriously.

Enter "Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story".

I found this in a grocery store & decided to give...more
Kathy Scantle
It was 1983, I was living in Denver, when I turned on the TV and started watching the Motown 25 Special. The Jackson 5 (now adults)had just finished performing when Michael Jackson announced that he loves those old songs but now he wanted to perform a new song, Billie Jean. I was totally stunned by his performance. He looked so different than the last time I had seen him as a child performing with the Jackson 5. I had never seen such an amazing performance. Because of this one performance, I hav...more
MAP
Having started this book right after reading a biography of 7 people (Six Wives of Henry VIII) that was 450 pages long, 700+ pages of biography of a 20th century entertainer seemed a tad excessive. Granted, I realize that this is a book that has gone through several editions, and so it's easy for the pages to build up since things that may have been edited out if it had been written at one time stayed since it was written throughout 3 decades. But did I really need to read about Michael Jackson'...more
K.D. Absolutely
I am no fan of Michael Jackson. I bought this book few months before he died and it just stayed there in my bookshelves until he died and my friends (who are fans) kept talking about him in the office. Then one of them even gave me a copy of Jackson 5 Motown album for my birthday. So, I picked this 700 plus-page book and gave me 5 days to read. I thought it would be a tall order because I haven't finished a book this thick in less than a week before. However, I found the writing very fluid and e...more
Andrew Stansbury-Cecil
the guy claims to have been a friend of MJ, but we all know what MJ thought of reporters. the book is rather thick with bible type paper, and smells strongly of ink which is not pleasant. there were a few things in the book that was news to me, but not much else. tends to run on and on or repeats alot of the same stuff. was really just reading it to get to the *updated* end... but still nothing here to make me want to recommend the book. the author is very sympathetic to joseph jackson, which i...more
Cammie
My Michael. :( Taraborelli's final update to his book is a pretty fair read. You can tell tho, that as Michael gets older and Taraborelli has less and less contact with Michael than he did in the early years, the book slowly moves away from facts and moves into speculation about what Taraborelli "thinks" went on towards the last years of Michael's life. Still he paints a reasonably fair portrait of Michael Jackson. Although die hard fans may be upset at some stories or anecdotes that don't portr...more
Nick
It was really cool learning about his rise to stardom! I didn't know much about the Jackson 5 except for a handful of their most popular hits. The author did a great job chronicling his life. I wish I had read this when the first edition came out in 1992 and his career had recently peaked in the late 80's. It was a bit depressing getting all the details on how he evolved into "Wacko Jacko" and never recovered from the bad press (although he did bring it on himself!) I still recommend this to any...more
Penny Loafer
I admire the author for attempting to tackle the personal life of THE greatest entertainer in my generation. I was surprised at how unbiased the Taraborrelli was..for the most part he seemed to play both sides. I look forward to other people releasing fair biographies on mj, but in the meantime this will suffice. only thing that aggravated me was the wooden fake dialogue when obviously tarraborrelli wasn't in the room! the earlier motown years are the best part. in the 90s it seems to fall off.
Sayra
This guy was really weird and this book show all facettes of his weirdness. But its not a well-written book, well-researched probably, but definetly not well written. I'd recommed it for Michael Jackson-fans (which I am not), but most other people won't enjoy reading it. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that a) I was a little curious and b) I was on the train and there was nothing else to do.
So: 2 out of 5 stars, because it just didn't suck enough to take another book with me the n...more
Dieu Linh Nguyen
Apr 02, 2012 Dieu Linh Nguyen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, Michael Jackson fans, music lovers
As a huge fan of the King of Pop, I think this book is amazing! By reading this, I knew so much more about Michael, at the same time, understand that he only is a human too. Taraborrelli's done a wonderful job on researching, interviewing and writing the book without being biased or opinionated. I love the book and I think it'd be a great book for everyone to spend some times on.
Kori
I thought this book was riveting. Nobody will really ever know the truth about what made Michael Jackson tick, but this book seems very well researched. Each individual interview and reference is documented in the 30+ pages of source notes. The author did a very nice job of presenting a solid, objective biography. I feel like I stepped into a shocking snapshot of what his life must have been like.
Diana
I've always been a fan of MJ's music, but never read a book or anything about him. The first two thirds of this book was fascinating, a really detailed look into Micahel's childhood and growing up. The last third was ok, but not as interesting. But lots of information about his life and the infamous trial that I didn't know before. If you're a Michael Jackson fan, I'd recommend it.
Mary
I don't know enough about Michael Jackson to have a real opinion on the validity of the biography, but it was well written enough. I have been left with the impression that MJ was a foolish man, a true product of his childhood and celebrity life.
Natalie
This is the first and only MJ biography that I've read and it was insightful, thorough (covering his childhood and adulthood) and respectful. Taraborrelli is a great writer, I couldn't put this book down. Definitely recommend.
Claude Willis
Read the first version of this as a kid. It opened my young eyes to the tumultuous, private life, and upbringing of my hero. I'm quite curious to read the updated version that was released following Michael's untimely death.
Hashim Al-Zain
The best reveling story about the life of the King of Pop that illustrates how misunderstood this genius truly was. It shows his various demons and his struggles that inevitably ended his life.

Long Live The King!
Cindey
Interesting. Last part of book was definitely rushed -- words misspelled, incorrect references, etc. Some things in the book I didn't know about. It is a pretty fast read for its size.
Robert
Got half way through then just skimmed the book. Went into so much detail and although a fan of Jacksons did not want so much detail. Seemed to get bogged down in family arguments
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
I love taraborelli as an author. he did an awesome job in this book from beginning to end. Very detailed.. it was very hard to put the book down
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J. Randy Taraborrelli is an author known for biographies of contemporary entertainers and political figures. He is a featured writer in several entertainment magazines in Canada, England, and Australia. He also appears on television as an entertainment news reporter on shows such as Entertainment Tonight, Good Morning America, Today and CBS This Morning. Taraborrelli resides in Los Angeles, Califo...more
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“He understands that he sees things differently from the way everyone else does, but he can't put his finger on why. He's not like other people. No one understands him. So he goes through his whole life with this, uh..." he paused, "confusion." Michael looked off into the distance, now seeming lost in his thought process. "Everybody thinks he's very special, but, really, he's very sad. He's so, so sad.” 9 likes
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