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Total Control: The Monkees Michael Nesmith Story Paperback – January 15, 2005


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Total Control: The Monkees Michael Nesmith Story + Monkee Business: The Revolutionary Made-For-TV Band + I'm a Believer: My Life of Monkees, Music, and Madness
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: FLEXquarters.com LLC (January 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965821846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965821841
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,269,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

So far (about 1/2 way through now) the book does have interesting bits BUT this so called author is horrible!
Rev. Jane Smith
While engaging and accurate as far as basic facts go, there is not much in-depth analysis presented and little surrounding context to Nesmith's career and life.
R.L. Holly
I'm a freelance artist with a strong sense of creator's rights which I defend unswervingly, thanks in large part to Mike Nesmith.
T. Arvis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Ed Rose on July 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Author Randi Massingill commits two cardinal sins with this book. She offers next to NO insight into the man's work, glossing over huge chunks of his career with mundane, trite or insulting comments like (re:Tantamount To Treason)"Most of the songs are too long with unneessary or badly done musical bridges", or (re: Pretty Much...) "...is great to listen to if you are in a bar and you are drinking up a storm...". The musical "observations" of his Monkee years or his Pacific Arts years fare little better. Secondly, you can feel Massingill's antipathy for the man drip off the pages. There's a sarcasm and condescension that mars the already razor thin insight into one of the cornerstones of not just the country rock movement, but of modern North American pop culture. No one digs a fluff piece, but this book smacks of haste, opportunism, and envy. One star for some of the (poorly reproduced) pictures, the little bits on the '97 Monkee reunion tour, and the idea of the book itself. Crapola.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By AB on January 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I first read this book back when I first became a Monkees/Michael Nesmith fan and didn't really know a lot about the man. Naturally, I liked the book. Now, years later, I picked up the book with much more knowledge and it's staggering how terribly it's written and how disrespectful it is to Michael. Also, this woman needs to hire a fact checker. There are a few extremely obvious glitches in timelines that she overlooks, and she barely glosses over other important events in Nez's life. Rumor has it that Massingill contacted Nez and wanted his input and initially he was going to help her out, but he asked her to wait because he wanted to finish a few other projects first. And she ignored his wishes and just charged on. In addition, she used some materials (photos, etc.) that Michael expressly did NOT want included. Obviously, he's not too fond of this project.

Basically, I think it says enough when Michael Nesmith himself doesn't even approve of this book or its author. Don't waste your money!
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By R.L. Holly on August 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Randi Massingill's biography on Michael Nesmith -- musician, actor, and visionary -- is the only one available on this seminal figure in pop culture and thus fills a gaping need. While engaging and accurate as far as basic facts go, there is not much in-depth analysis presented and little surrounding context to Nesmith's career and life. His music and filmmaking are not examined in the detail which they cry out for. It's a good book for a biographical overview and some observations from some of Nesmith's associates, but there is little direct input from the subject himself (as Massingill makes clear in her introduction, Nesmith avoided involvement, as did some of his closest compadres). There is, however, much material drawn from archival interviews with the other Monkees and Nesmith's first wife, Phyllis. The manuscript would have benefited from tighter editing. For example, although there are discographies and filmographies in the appendixes, in the main body the author frequently neglects to mention the dates of releases or events being described, making it unclear when important milestones have occurred. Massingill's prose betrays some awkwardness in places: among the clunkers that jumped out to me are sentences such as, "the completed 'Timerider' would sit on the shelf for a while so a distributor could be found," "Michael had several movies lined up for which he was going to serve as executive producer, but after time they vanished from the scene," "Michael's appearance would insure [sic] that they would get some publicity," and "it was astounding to the completest [sic] Nesmith collectors". And the presentation could stand some improvement.Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rev. Jane Smith on November 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
I really do like the Monkees music and TV show. I recently bought Micky Dolenz's autobiography and thought this could offer a bit of a different perspective. So far (about 1/2 way through now) the book does have interesting bits BUT this so called author is horrible! I can go and read magazine articles and reprint them, but I DO NOT call myself an author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By revjodi on October 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is written by someone with basic understanding of jr high english! We'd be better off reading the old Tiger Beats and 16 Magazines for more indepth information on Nez....
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chet L. Young on May 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
I take my hat off to Randi Massingill because it's obvious that she did her homework and then some, unearthing tons of intriguing information and rare photos. What bothers me about "Total Control" is that it doesn't present a complete picture of Michael Nesmith. A lot of ex-friends and coworkers remember him as being a difficult guy to get along with, but we never come close to an explanation for his behavior. We're also left in the dark as to Nesmith's artistic motivations, and with a songwriter of his caliber that's really a shame. I could have used a lot more analysis of classic songs like 'Hollywood' and 'Roll With the Flow' and a lot fewer "Mike was a jerk" anecdotes.
I also have to disagree with one of the author's key assertions: that Nesmith "ruined" the Monkees by wresting control of the group from Don Kirshner. How so? If Nesmith hadn't struggled to gain a degree of autonomy for the Monkees, it's doubtful that they ever would have produced work like "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd." or the "Head" soundtrack...and, decades later, people would have remembered them only vaguely as that goofy TV band who did 'I'm a Believer'.
If you're a Nez fan you'll obviously want to have this, and I'm not saying that it isn't a worthwhile purchase. I'm glad I read it. But "Total Control" could, without question, be improved upon.
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