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

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  1,928 Ratings  ·  193 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
ebook, 784 pages
Published July 15th 2009 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 9th 1992)
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Jan 09, 2011 Eleanore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lady Sharmaine
Oct 02, 2012 Lady Sharmaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 14, 2007 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 18, 2009 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2012 JoJo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Athena Braun
Aug 16, 2010 Athena Braun rated it really liked it
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
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
Dimple George
Nov 11, 2015 Dimple George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Michael’s mirror read 'THRILLER! 100 MILLION SALES....SELL OUT STADIUMS' "
- Jermaine Jackson
"The greatest entertainer of all time"
- Berry Gordy

One of the greatest artists in the history of music, Michael Jackson has created magic through his exceptional songs and innovative dance and has taken us to places we have never been.
Committed to his art and determined to entertain, he has inspired and continues to inspire a whole new generation of artists all around the world.

Anyone interested in ar
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
Aug 02, 2009 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2010 OOSA rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ilya Puchkovsky
Jun 01, 2016 Ilya Puchkovsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2010 Mscharlee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Artiom Karsiuk
Feb 08, 2015 Artiom Karsiuk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May 2014. Here I was in the middle of the Amazon jungle at ~20:00 in complete darkness tripping on Ayahuasca. I was deep into my DMT-induced psychedelic journey with all points of reference lost, the concept of time non-existent, all of my memories, all understanding of life as we know it, gone. I had nothing to cling or hold on to. Not my name, language or even my own parents. Everything was shattered and destroyed - everything except for two names: Michael Jackson and [a person who will remain ...more
Jul 12, 2009 RNOCEAN rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 22, 2009 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kathy Scantle
Jan 08, 2010 Kathy Scantle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 24, 2011 Cammie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 14, 2015 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Jackson has always fascinated me. I can remember begging my parents to buy me a replica of his glove. The scandal surrounding his life was so very sad. And his death still affects me. To think that someone who shaped the popular culture is just...gone...It's just so tragic.
Jun 29, 2016 Cyndi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was interesting but it leaves much to be desired. There were many typos, errors and contradictions. I'm not sure how much is actually real and what is just conjecture. The author names many "sources" but does not reveal who these sources are. It's written like an article for The Enquirer. I'm not sure if the author was trying to be nice or mean as he flim-flams on both sides. I think at one point he said he and Michael were friends but real friends don't right gossipy, backstabbing boo ...more
Apr 09, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 21, 2015 Jasmine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before I even read this book I had glanced over it a few times while looking for more books about MJ to read. I usually passed it by because it just didn't look like it would be that great. (Look at me, judging a book by its cover haha) Anywho, the way I just so happened to actually want to read this book is because I was in local bookstore and saw the book sitting on the shelf. It was huge! (I read the updated copy of the book that added MJ's final years). I hadn't realized how ginormous the bo ...more
Dave Schwensen
Jun 21, 2015 Dave Schwensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a long journey that takes us from young, talented, happy and abused Michael, to superstar, fabulously rich, depressed and weird Michael - and everywhere in between. It’s a good but sometimes opinionated insight into the public and private life of one of the most talked-about celebrities of the past fifty years.
The story of the Jackson family during the years covered in this book would make an almost unbelievable movie script. It covers the entire clan, with focus on father Joe Jackson
Sarah Fayek
Aug 03, 2014 Sarah Fayek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
J. Randy Taraborrelli does an amazing job when it comes to providing information about MJ's world without sounding too opinionated (like most other writers unfortunately do when it comes to books about Michael Jackson). As a huge fan, I'm always eager to know more about the strange and mesmerizing world that was Michael's. Taraborrelli gathers his sources, which seem very well spread-out when it comes to Michael's timeline (interviews and stories from when he first started out as a child star du ...more
Penny Loafer
Aug 17, 2009 Penny Loafer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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.
Oct 28, 2010 Sayra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 19, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, fact, music
Despite never being a particularly big fan of Michael Jackson, his life and career are undoubtedly fascinating. I've never read anything about him aside from all the tabloid stories and so was surprised to find myself feeling really sorry for the man who never grew up.

Hearing of his abusive childhood and how, in his more successful years his family treated him more like a cash cow than a son and brother really made me feel for him.

It's pretty clear that a lot of factors are/were involved in ma
Mar 07, 2016 Livia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: MJ fans & bio junkies
Recommended to Livia by: J. Randy Taraborrelli
Shelves: bios, non-fiction
Um, wow! There was so much in this biography that I just didn't already know about MJ's life. The author seemed to have really done his research and was able to paint a more thorough picture of MJ.

This is one of my favorite biographies ever. I was just sad that it took MJ's death for me to finally get around to reading it. This is an updated version of an earlier release that came out while MJ was still alive.
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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.” 10 likes
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