New Michael Jackson Book Takes Off

Though demand for Michael Jackson books languished in the aftermath of his death, that’s likely to change with today’s release of The Michael Jackson Tapes, a collection of candid conversations between the pop star and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach that were recorded for publication in book form before Jackson’s death. The book is at #147 on Amazon, but none of the libraries we checked had copies of the embargoed book, which isn’t yet listed on WorldCat.

According to the widely syndicated Associated Press story, The Michael Jackson Tapes “don’t break much new ground, but author Shmuley Boteach provides firsthand detail in Jackson’s voice about the excesses and obsessions the world glimpsed through the entertainer’s public facade.”

An interview with Rabbi Boteach is available on the Today Show website, along with an excerpt from the book. Boteach will also appear on NBC’s Dateline tonight.

The book delves into what Jackson describes as his lasting pain over having been robbed of his childhood by an abusive father who forced him to devote himself to his recording career from the age of  5. Jackson alleges that his father not only oiled his skin before whipping him, but told the young Jackson that he would drop him like “a hot potato” if he didn’t succeed as a singer. Jackson also talks about the resulting pressure he felt to maintain his success or risk losing his entire sense of worthiness. As a result, Jackson explains, his worldwide fame was overshadowed by profound loneliness that was relieved mainly by friendships with children, who were the only ones who accepted him as just another person.

According to Boteach, Jackson’s tragic tale holds many important lessons for parents about the dangers of neglecting and abusing children in our celebrity-oriented culture.

The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Vanguard Press – (2009-09-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1593156022 / 9781593156022

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