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Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson Hardcover – November 13, 2012

3.3 out of 5 stars 396 customer reviews

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The Amazon Book Review
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2012: Does the world need another book about the late King of Pop? Do you want to read one? Before opening onetime Rolling Stone editor Sullivan’s massive (775+ pages) book, I would surely have screamed NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Everybody knows the story: adorable musical prodigy grows up into weird, plastic surgery–addicted, money-obsessed celebrity who may or may not have been a pedophile but is doubtless sexually stunted. And how could he not have been, given the horrific treatment he received from his father, who apparently couldn’t decide whether to beat him to death or just pimp him out as a performer? Sullivan hits all those notes, of course, and while the recitation of Jackson’s many debts and trials verges on wearying, the sheer accumulation of detail and unusual amount of access to longtime Jackson advisors and relatives also makes you realize, once and for all, the extent of the damage done both to and by the guy the British press dubbed “Wacko Jacko.” From the very first scene--in which Joe and Katherine Jackson trick their way into their son’s home--the Michael Jackson that emerges here is both hero and villain, a loving father (truly!) and a screaming egomaniac, a sometimes brilliant businessman who was also pathetically naïve. Go on: Check out this train wreck of a life. I dare you to look away. --Sara Nelson


Praise for Untouchable

“Sullivan reveals a man who was not the pedophilic, transgendered, transracial freak the media thought he was, but a highly intelligent and sensitive perfectionist, more self-aware—and ashamed—of his surgically altered looks than the public ever knew. . . . Sullivan’s sensitive portrait of [Jackson] is a good start toward explaining and rehabilitating a lonely genius who was poorly understood in his lifetime.”—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Randall Sullivan

“Like its title, this book has something miraculous in it. Imagine, if you can, a book . . . that will interest, and satisfy, both the pious and skeptical. That book is this one. Mr. Sullivan's cast of unlikely characters recalls the inhabitants of other mountains, Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain or Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain.” —The Washington Times on The Miracle Detective

“An intrepid Portland journalist crafts a fascinating exploration of how the Catholic Church investigates purported sightings of the Virgin Mary; a globe-trotting, first-person spiritual odyssey that took him to northeastern Oregon, Arizona, Bosnia, the Vatican and beyond.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer on The Miracle Detective

“[An] engrossing, damning tale of widespread unchecked corruption in one of the nation’s largest police departments, one that deserves attention. . . . Exhaustively researched, the book methodically weaves a disturbing story of corruption, intimidation, and murder.” —Boston Globe on LAbyrinth

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; First Edition edition (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080211962X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802119629
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (396 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #989,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If I had only read the Amazon reviews of this book, I probably would not have bought it. Fortunately, I heard the author interviewed and realized he respected and cared about Michael Jackson as an artist and person. This book was not written to demonize Michael Jackson. Instead, this book tells the truth and clears up the ugly lies that the media created to sell magazines/newspapers.

I have been a Michael Jackson fan from the beginning when he was a little guy singing with the Jackson 5. When he died, I was as sad as if I had lost a family member. I loved this man and his music. But, like everyone else, I'd heard so many nasty things about him in the media and was searching for the truth of his life.

What I found in this book was a well-researched, truthful explanation of the sad and tragic life of Michael Jackson. He was a brilliant artist, but a tortured human being who desperately needed the media to leave him alone so he could attempt to have a personal life. I now understand why he did the things he did to try to have a normal life.

The book also talks about how he was nothing more than a money machine for the people who surrounded him, including his family. I'm sure he did feel alone in the world even though he was surrounded by people.

The really sad thing is that Michael Jackson never really knew how much he was loved by his fans and is loved to this day.

If you love Michael Jackson, read this book and find out about the loving father and gifted artist that the media was so quick to label "Wacko Jacko."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
READ THE BOOK FOR YOURSELF! I saw the author interviewed and was interested, then went to Amazon to read reviews. I found them curiously alike and now that I read the book I know why. This book IS well written, detailed and well researched and although it shows MJs many flaws it was very sympathetic. Who it is brutal towards is the entire Jackson family and I suspect they are organizing negative reviews. I went into the book believing Michael Jackson was an incredibly talented, but crazy pedophile. I don't believe that anymore. I have enormous sympathy for the man and am a little ashamed that I had judged him so harshly in the past. I think real fans of Michael Jackson will find this a fair and honest book and I'm glad I read it. There is nothing tabloid about it. The Jackson family, however, must hate it because it exposes a very tragic tale of greed and ego. RIP Michael Jackson and I hope your children are able to escape the family you were not able to.
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Format: Hardcover
I think this book depicts Michael Jackson in a very sympathetic manner .While it retells many tabloid stories that have been debunked , the tabloid culture WAS part of Michael Jackson's life and had a lot to do with the view the general public had of this misunderstood, eccentric artist.After all, it was the slanderous innuendo of the Martin Bashir hit piece,that led to the lowest times of his life , ending up in a trial that, while cleared of all charges, would take his health, his reputation and ultimately his faith in his fellow man...Really a absolute disgrace , when the truth is exposed by Mr Sullivan's book.

Many people would rather the general public not realize this was a fabricated case..Essentially, a show trial with the worlds most well known celebrity,..involving a District Atty, who had an unusually close relationship with certain tabloid reporters, It was ,this, symbiotic relationship between the tabloid press and govt prosecutors, working hand in hand for their mutual benefit, that enabled this case to go forward....This made a fortune for the tabloids and even effected the way the mainstream media represented what was actually happening in the courtroom.Big Business making big money.
It is also very interesting how many people behind the scenes , were also involved in the 93 accusations ,and how they are all tied together, which Mr Sullivan also goes into .
This is truly an exoneration of Michael Jackson, of ALL allegations,including the infamous Chandler family accusations, and it is about time.

Everyone should be made aware of EXACTLY how and why that trial came to be, and Mr Sullivan lays it all out !
Small wonder Michael Jackson felt his life was viewed through a fun house mirror..The tabloid media meant for it to be...
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Format: Hardcover
It seems that while Sullivan and his friends in the media have succeeded in convincing many that there is some organized "hate campaign" against this book by Jackson fans, it is disturbing that what we are seeing now is a reverse strategy campaign that is just as damaging-and just as unconducive to free speech. Now, all of a sudden, we have a barrage of 5 star reviews, incidentally from many who likewise haven't bothered to read the book. Not all of the negative reviews have been from protective fans and "groupies." Many have been from intelligent, knowledgable readers, whether Jackson fans or scholars, who have studied his life for years-enough to know inaccuracies when they see them, and how to pinpoint what is an obvious and biased narrative on the part of the author.

Many very intelligent reviews, which patiently and laboriously broke down this book's inaccuracies, have now been buried beneath an avalanche of reviews that all sound suspiciously like the same person wrote them.

Look, this is probably not the worst book about Michael Jackson out there but, c'mon. A 5-star book it is not. It does contain many inaccuracies, of which true Jackson aficiandos are able to pinpoint right off the bat. There are certainly far better books-and no, I do not necessarily mean "fan" books or books that are all positive. If anyone wants to know what Michael Jackson the man was like, Frank Cascio's "My Friend Michael" is a far more accurate and honest book. I mean, really, who should be a more reliable source-the people who actually knew Michael Jackson, or a cut and paste journalist who is just stitching together every narrative and every story and every piece about Michael Jackson he has ever read, and throwing it all against a wall to see what sticks?
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