Moonwalk, The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation, and Michael Jackson 1958-2009: Life of a Legend

Michael Jackson

Rock & Roll Books

Moonwalk

by Michael Jackson
Harmony Books, 320 pp., $25

The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation

by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Vanguard Press, 320 pp. $25.95

Michael Jackson 1958-2009: Life of a Legend

by Michael Heatley
Headline, 192 pp., $24.95

Surprise, Tapes is a rushed-to-the-printer piece of self-serving crap cloaked as a book of revelations. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach doubles as Dr. Phil in a yarmulke, offering commentary after snippets of dialogue with Michael Jackson. Given this "intimate conversation," Jackson was more delusional than imagined, and the rabbi excuses and indulges the King of Pop until his lips should be blue from expulsion of air. No wonder DListed.com refers to the author as Rabbi Famewhore. Jackson's own words confirm his immaturity early in Moonwalk, his 1988 prescandal biography rushed back into print upon his death. Though his tale was clearly spun for effect and tidied up before hitting the stands, in 1988 Jackson was a respected musician with a huge body of innovative hits, only a few personality quirks, and some of his looks still intact. Moonwalk remains quite revealing about the performer who played a zombie in "Thriller," then went door-to-door as a Jehovah's Witness (just ask Rabbi Shmuley). Yet Jackson was as much an image as a musical icon, and Michael Jackson 1958-2009: Life of a Legend illustrates that in photo after photo. This is by far the most intelligent of these offerings, author Michael Heatley allowing the visuals to paint Jackson's life. The early entries are especially compelling, Jackson so young and vibrant. The physical transformation from sturdy young black man to freakish paranoid is stunning, though not the focus of Legend, tribute to the master entertainer Michael Jackson most wanted to be.

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