Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days

Whitfield, Bill & . Weinstein: Perseus. Jun. 2014. 320p. index. ISBN 9781602862500. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781602862517. MUSIC
Love him or loathe him, Michael Jackson is indisputably one of the most intriguing and enigmatic entertainers of the 20th and 21st centuries. With a career spanning early childhood to his disturbing descent into a reclusive adulthood, he is a global icon. While much is known about his life (his humble beginnings, plastic surgeries, sex abuse allegations, etc.), very little is known about the "true" man. Although his former bodyguards Whitfield and Beard's first-person vignettes provide little-known facts about Jackson, this title raises more questions than can be gleaned from their two-and-half-year security detail. Written with Tanner Colby (Some of My Best Friends Are Black), this book attempts to showcase Jackson's "humanity" while leading the reader to speculate about those things that kept him imprisoned by paranoia and isolation. Colby augments the bodyguards' narratives by providing background information about the artist's success and decline—a combination that is likely to make readers frustrated and wondering why the singer's life deteriorated so rapidly and why he behaved as he did. Whitfield and Beard present Jackson as a "normal eccentric" who craved stability and relationships while remaining distrustful of most; a childlike, doting father whose naïveté in certain situations (e.g., finances) is both baffling and fascinating.
VERDICT Recommended primarily for Michael Jackson fans.

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