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

3.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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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: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading this book, which is a total disappointment, one does not have the feeling the truth will ever be known about Michael or the relationship between the members of the Monkees, as the reasons and feelings they shared about each other during interviews were never consistent.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm pretty much with the review gallery on this one. Yes, it needed an editor and yes, Randi obviously doesn't show a lot of respect for Mike's music during his Monkees period (which I thought was his best work), but neither did Mike. It was just a `stepping stone` to him. And yes too, the exact goings on portrayed in this book were probably somewhat garbled, and the tone of the author's narrative did smack of some sour grapes. Also the gallery gripes about the author's disrespect toward Mike's early music (and The Monkees' too), I cannot forgive. She couldn't possibly have been there. Papa Gene's Blues, Mary Mary, You Just May be the One, Tapioca Tundra, King/Goffen, Neil Diamond, Nilsson, Boyce and Hart). It was the peak of something, too bad Mike couldn't see it.

I saw a little more upside in Ms. Massingill's detailed and very perspicacious accounting of everything Mike put out there over a lifetime in countless genres (especially what Randi did in the appendices, listing and cross-referencing categorically this mountain of work). The sheer volume of creativity when you see it listed like that is quite a marvel (though much this mountain was `ahead of its time`). All told I can see how Mike's lifelong followers could be critical of this book. But for those of us (like me) who primarily loved Mike's contribution to the Monkees, and largely lost track of him after `Joanne,` I was stunned at the areal view Randi gave us of everything he had done as he reached his life's `third act.` I also sensed from this manuscript that it's not easy being the biographer of an uncooperative subject. One other thing I can say in Randi's favor is that she's not the only one to describe Mike as an unreliable control freak responsible for killing many a golden goose.
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