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The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation Hardcover – September 25, 2009

2.4 out of 5 stars 264 customer reviews

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Book Description

In 2000–2001, Michael Jackson sat down with his close friend and spiritual guide, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, to record what turned out to be the most intimate and revealing conversations of his life. It was Michael’s wish to bare his soul and unburden himself to a public that he knew was deeply suspicious of him. The resulting thirty hours are the basis of The Michael Jackson Tapes. There has never been, and never will be, anything like them. In these searingly honest conversations, Michael exposes his emotional pain and profound loneliness, his longing to be loved, and the emptiness of his fame. You discover why he was suspicious of women and how only children provided the innocence for which he so desperately longed. In his own words, he takes us into the jarring moments of his childhood and speaks of the measures he took to try and heal. He divulges how he came to be alienated from his strong religious anchor and describes his views on the nature of faith. Michael brings us into his tortured yet loving relationship with his siblings. He opens up about his father and his yearning for a time when they might finally reconcile. He talks about his most personal friendships and shares with us his terror of growing old. Despite his unprecedented fame and recent death, there remain unanswered questions about his life. The answers, presented here in The Michael Jackson Tapes, will both intrigue and move you. You will be surprised, riveted, and troubled as you peer into the soul of a tragic icon whose life is an American morality tale and whose flame was extinguished much too early.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vanguard Press; First Edition edition (September 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593156022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593156022
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #955,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I read this book because I wanted to know Michael Jackson the person, although it didn't feel right to pry this much into someone's private life. I wish I hadn't.

I had read Shmuley's thoughts about MJ on his blog and knew what was coming, and indeed he didn't disappoint. Shmuley's writing is not so much a reflection of who Michael Jackson was, but more a reflection of how judgemental he himself can be. Instead of letting Michael speak for himself, he has to tack on his own interpretation to everything that Michael said and did. An interpretation that is judgemental, biased and sanctimonious to the extreme. He's so holier-than-thou, he even puts himself above the court of law!

He delights in pointing out Michael's 'faults', and sees faults where there are none. I find it ironic that someone who always tried to see the good in others would seek help from a counsellor who always tries to find bad even in the good. This speaks more of Michael as one who always believed that there is good to be found in EVERYone. This is not megalomania, as Shmuley would put it. It is love. Something that Shmuley is sorely lacking.

Michael said that people do evil because they had not known love as a child. If their hearts were filled with love, they would not feel the need to hurt others. Clearly, nobody loves Shmuley.

He openly flogs Michael and uses Michael's 'failings' (at least in his mind) to illustrate his preachy "morality tales" of just what is wrong with society. (I wonder why he never writes about the morality of discussing other people's personal failings in public?) He even does this to some who are still living. If he gets a lawsuit out of this, he richly deserves it. Certainly there is a way to make a point without demeaning people like this.
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Format: Hardcover
It is indeed sad that this brilliant artist's life ended so soon. It is also indeed sad that as respectful and humble as he was, no one thought life worthy enough to help Michael Jackson fight his addiction and heal his troubled soul. No one would put aside their hurt egos and busy lifestyles long enough to help a brother, friend, patient, child of God.

I, like the few who purchased this book to date, after having enough of reading the incredible news stories wanted to "hear it from the horse's mouth" some hint in his own words that would prove to me at what point Michael's life was spiraling out of control. What was the true cause of all this sadness in such a beautiful brother. When did we fail this extremely talented and giving soul. After reading this book...I guess we'll never know...

To be fair, I don't believe (as some say) what was quoted as Michael's responses during the conversations was not true because Michael had addressed many of the topics in past interviews. But I confess, as I turned the pages, my mind became suspicious about how quickly this 300-page book was produced in the two months following Michael's death. I could almost picture Dictaphone tapes from 2003 sitting in a safe or closet being dusted off and pages upon pages being churned out to meet some sort of deadline.

I find disturbing that the author writes that Michael was "...perhaps guilty of serious, terrible sins for which there might not be any redemption..." It is unclear whether he is inferring that the molestation charges were true; and if he is, he contradicts this thought when on earlier pages he defends Michael since having been at the very stage where it all began.
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Format: Hardcover
Though the tenets that Rabbi Shmuley preaches are honorable, it is deplorable that they are clouded by his own judgmental and hypocritical nature. In this book, he laments that the youth of today are directionless, as children aim to be directors, not doctors, and rock stars, not rabbis; that the entertainment industry's stars have become false idols to the masses; that Elie Wiesel is literally pushed aside at a function when Michael Jackson shows up. But who put out a book on the tortured icon after his death (the dead cannot defend themselves)? Shmuley's own website URL pointing to the page about his TLC reality show reads (truncated): "/rabbi_counselor_tv_star." TV star? A reality show on TLC, the same network that airs "Jon & Kate Plus 8"? For Shmuley, it is clear that being an honorable rabbi known in his own community isn't enough -- he has to be a celebrity rabbi, and the price of that is the people's loss of confidentiality and trust.

I have my doubts that Michael consented to these tapes being transcribed for a book. Where's the recording of Michael agreeing to such an endeavor? Or the signed release? Or anything? Perhaps Michael viewed the rabbi as a counselor, thereby allowing the tape recording? The rabbi often interrupts the transcript to offer his own interpretation of Michael's words, which is to be expected, as it is HIS book and his viewpoint will be included, but the egotistical, "I write this not to brag" bits are obnoxious and fool no one -- he must remind the reader more than once that he wrote some of Michael's speeches, that his books (he name checks them several times) were bestsellers, that Michael said that meeting Shmuley was more enlightening than meeting the Dalai Lama. Shmuley's "Oh, no, I'm just an ordinary man! I'm flattered, but...
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