Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson

Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson

2.2 39
by Randall Sullivan
     
 

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"A dishy Michael Jackson biography that makes the exhaustively covered King of Pop fascinating all over again."—People

“The first deep-dive narrative by a veteran journalist covering the King of Pop’s convoluted final years on earth . . . [Untouchable] helps cast Jackson in a new light.”—Los Angeles

Overview


"A dishy Michael Jackson biography that makes the exhaustively covered King of Pop fascinating all over again."—People

“The first deep-dive narrative by a veteran journalist covering the King of Pop’s convoluted final years on earth . . . [Untouchable] helps cast Jackson in a new light.”—Los Angeles Times

“A tale of family, fame, lost childhood, and startling accusations never heard before.”—ABC Nightline

Untouchable portrays Michael Jackson’s life and death in unprecedented depth. Beginning with his last departure from Neverland, Sullivan captures Jackson's final years shuttling around the world, and plans to recapture his wealth and reputation with a comeback album and planned series of fifty mega-concerts. Sullivan delves deep into Jackson’s past, depicting a man both naive and deeply cunning, a devoted father whose parenting decisions created international outcry, a shrewd businessman whose failures nearly brought down a megacorporation, and an inveterate narcissist who desperately wanted a quiet, normal life. Sullivan has never-before-reported information about Jackson’s business dealings, the pedophilia allegations that besmirched his reputation, and the fate of his billion-dollar-plus estate, and exclusive access to inner-circle figures including Jackson’s former attorneys and managers. Untouchable is a remarkable portrait of the man who still reigns as King of Pop.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

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

Library Journal
As the subtitle suggests, this book by a former Rolling Stone contributing editor and writer recounts not only Jackson's in-the-spotlight upbringing and the controversies of his adult life but the death itself, including the public's reaction, the estate battles, and the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray. Seems to aim for balance.
Kirkus Reviews
When former Rolling Stone senior editor Sullivan (The Miracle Detective: An Investigation of Holy Visions, 2004, etc.) was commissioned to write about the circumstances surrounding Michael Jackson's shocking death in 2009, the author quickly grasped that only a book would do the bizarre story justice. Rather than write a standard rags-to-riches celebrity bio, which the Jackson family's humble origins might actually have warranted, Sullivan begins in the months after Jackson's 2003 trial for sexual abuse of a child. This, it turns out, is as good a starting point as any to look back on Jackson's "strange life" (as the subtitle puts it), his career, his legal travails, his marriages and fatherhood, and more importantly, his fascinatingly enigmatic character. As he details Jackson's late-life sojourns with his three children to Dubai, Ireland, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Sullivan also flashes back, in a couple of perfectly paced sections, to the child-molestation allegations in 1993 and 2003. He 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 choices do less justice to Jackson's rise, his early life, and the development of his musical and dancing genius. While he admirably explicates the criminal case against the doctor who administered the potent pharmaceutical mix that killed Jackson, the author wastes too much time and detail on the soap-operatic legal battles of Jackson's avaricious survivors and hangers-on. Few of the supporting players come off smelling like roses, but Sullivan's sensitive portrait of his main subject is a good start toward explaining and rehabilitating a lonely genius who was poorly understood in his lifetime.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802119629
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
11/13/2012
Pages:
704
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.30(d)

Meet the Author

Randall Sullivan was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone for over twenty years. He is also the author of The Price of Experience, Labyrinth, and The Miracle Detective, the book that inspired the television show The Miracle Detectives, which he hosted and which premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in January 2011. He lives in Oregon.

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Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson 2.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 39 reviews.
thegirlwhowas More than 1 year ago
Let's see: Michael Jackson suffered from vitiligo, as confirmed by: his autopsy report, Dr Klein, Dr Strick, Dr Dan Wallace, Dr James Nordlund, Dr Len Horovitz, Nurse Debbie Rowe, Cicely Tyson, LaToya, Jermaine, Janet, Tito, Joe, Katherine, Paris and Prince Jackson, Gino Brando, David Nordahl, Karen Faye, Deepak Chopra, Gotham Chopra. Prince Jackson also suffers from it. Michael suffered from lupus, as confirmed by: Dr Klein, Debbie Rowe, Dr Richard Strick, Dr Wallace, Dr Deepak Chopra, LaToya and Jermaine Jackson, Michael told author Taraborrelli he had it, Michael attended and gave speech at Lupus fund raiser in 2003 with his lupus specialist rheumatologist, Dr Alan Metzger. Those two skin diseases were also testified to in 1994 on the witness stand during the Grand juries. Michael Jackson had his nose attached to his face: according to the officially released autopsy report. There is no evidence it was ever unattached. Michael Jackson had girlfriends, and wives: Stephanie Mills (made out in bed together), Tatum O'Neal (made out), Brooke Shields (third base), Sheila Eldridge, Lisa Marie Presley (an affair that went on from 1993-2000), Debbie Rowe (News of the World taped her without her knowledge in 1996: "We started by fooling around a bit and the next thing we knew we were doing it. We knew we were going to try for a baby."), proposed to a girlfriend before Lisa (sources: Liza Minnelli, Flo Anthony), a girlfriend after Lisa Marie ("Emily" according to Frank Cascio), and was dating at least two women from the years 2007-2009 according to his bodyguards (he would meet them for rendezvous in hotels), his last girlfriend was so serious she even met his children - according to Paris Jackson. He also kept a stack of 100 heterosexual/lesbian porn mags, and had 2 G spot articles among them. None of that information is provided here, instead Randall informs us that Michael died a virgin, because it seems, he couldn't really be bothered in going in to much detail about the extortion attempt in 1993 (Michael's insurance paid; the Chandler's description of Michael's penis was so at odds with the reality it was the Chandler's themselves who sought to have it barred as evidence in their civil lawsuit). All these already disproven lies are bandied about as immutable facts, and uncredible sources cited as gospel, just amounting to the fact that nothing in this book holds up. It is a recreation of Michael Jackson in the eyes of the tabloid media: no nose, no race, no children, no sexuality; he is denied all of the above, time and time again. People say Michael's fans idolize him to the point that he's no longer fallible - some may see him this way, but for most it's just the recreation of him in terms of his media image is someone so beyond all human elements that the fans are always left having to defend his very right just to have a nose, just to have a racial identity, just to have the rights to his own sexuality. The media even denied him his own name - "Wacko Jacko". Studies have shown that dehumanizing a person makes it easier for other people to be willing to see that person suffer, because they're no longer human to us, we can no longer relate to them. This is essentially the life of Michael Jackson, and instead of going in to any humanizing depth here (besides exposing what most people already know - that his family is dysfunctional), he just works with the media pastiche of Michael and hopes people will pay some money to witness his "freakshow" retelling. Save your money. Don't bother.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book relies heavily on anonymous sources, and when they are named or revealed they turn out to be people with questionable motives like Marx Schaffel, Howard Mann and the blowhard Brian Oxman. A really lame effort that mostly warms over what's already been written.
morinen More than 1 year ago
What this author writes about Michael Jackson would be absolutely laughable if it wasn't so pathetic. Yes, all these leeches fussing around and trying to make a buck on the exceptional artist, rehashing stupid tabloid tales and stories from venal "witnesses" look utterly pathetic. You'd think they all got their share back in 2009 and have moved on to more lucrative topics by now, but apparently Mr. Sullivan wanted to jump on the bandwagon and spent a year "researching" for his book. I wonder what he researched if he couldn't get right even the most obvious things about Michael Jackson that everyone knows. BS about plastic nose, skin bleaching and MJ being a virgin is so absurd it's not even funny anymore. The autopsy report that states his nose was fine and he had a skin condition is available online, and how many times should his wife state on TV that they had sex for Sullivan to finally hear? He even messed up the simplest things like names and bio facts. And his wild claims regarding the Jackson family have already been disproved as well. I doubt it very much that Mr. Sullivan himself believes all the trash he writes about Michael Jackson. And if he does, - well, we can only feel sorry for him and his delusional world-view. Gee, I can't believe Rolling Stone hired this guy as an editor. What a shame for the magazine. I'll use the opportunity to recommend truly interesting and insightful books about Michael Jackson - books written by people who actually knew the man or understand what "research" really means: Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson by Joe Vogel - about Michael Jackson the musician; You Are Not Alone: Michael, Through a Brother's Eyes by Jermaine Jackson and My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man by Frank Cascio - about Michael Jackson the man; The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson by Michael Bush - about Michael Jackson the icon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excerpts of this book appeared in Vanity Fair in Oct. 2012. Randall Sullivan makes statements about Michael Jackson Autopsy that are totally FALSE, and the Autopsy is online! Sullivan wrote some articles years ago about Michael and many of his comments were overly sensationalized. Personally based on the excerpts from Vanity Fair , IMO it sounds like another tabloid press book about Michael. I would not recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book is lots of recycled tabloid trash and complete untruths thrown in for good measure. Much better books out there on Michael Jackson. I'll be skipping this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read excerpts of this book in Vanity Fair. It enrages me that this opportunistic pig, Randall Sullivan, who never met Michael and who has interviewed only the shadiest of characters in his life, has the gall to theorize and opine about his sexuality, self-image, skin problems and relationships, among other things.  If I could slap his face in person I would most certainly do so! The only way the lies about Michael Jackson will stop is if people don't buy books like this; therefore, I'm not buying it.
MellieMJ More than 1 year ago
This "book" is complete trash, filled with tabloid lies and sensationalism. Mr.Sullivan does not get basic facts correct. The BIG Lies are bordering on slander. He doubts the possibility of Michael's vitiligo. Something that was proven by his autopsy report, and MJ's doctors and attorneys. I guess, Sullivan was too busy talking to his unreliable sources. Many of which, are proven liars. Most , have attempted to make a career exploiting Michael. They are con men, vultures and even an attorney who was recently disbarred from the State of California. His assertion that Michael, was asexual is beyond stupid. Just ask, Michael's wives and the numerous girlfriends, who have admitted to romantic encounters with him ( i am being polite with the term) . Mr.Sullivan claims that Debbie Rowe did not have a boyfriend until she was 30. That will be news to her first husband---- who Debbie married long before the age of 30. Im not even going to dignify Sullivan's assertion that Michael had a fake nose. Except to say READ THE AUTOPSY REPORT, SULLIVAN! Source, Mark Lester claims he is Paris Father. Impossible since Paris, was conceived LONG before Lester even knew Michael. The bottom line here -- is this book is not even worth the paper its printed on. MJ Fans-- stay away from this one. The constant bullying of Michael Jackson needs to end. It is desperate and despicable for those grave robbers, who have continued to exploit Michael,even in death. Michael Jackson once said " My fans are activists, they will fight with you to defend me" . MJ you were so right-- and we always will!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Badly written and tabloid rehash job... Sullivan basically has reprinted proven tabloid lies and called it a book. What a lazy book this turned out to be. Only a fool would waste their hard earned money on this nonsense.
pendragonPD More than 1 year ago
Sullivan appears to have sourced every tabloid publication over the past 30 years to produce this travesty of a biography. The content is over-sensationalized and contains little that won't have already been read in gossip columns or seen on trash TV. Who the publisher's think this will appeal to is beyond me as Jackson fans will quite rightly cast it aside as more nonsense and others are weary of the silly stories of the alleged eccentricities and family dysfunction - the majority of which has already been debunked by genuine researchers, Jackson's colleagues and friends. For the curious, Jermaine Jackson's "You Are Not Alone" or Frank Cascio's "My Friend Michael" give a more intimate and accurate portrayal of Jackson the man, and Joe Vogel's "Man in the Music" is an excellent and well-researched resume of Jackson's creative and musical life. Even Taraborrelli's over-hyped "The Magic and The Madness" is more worthy than this work of fiction. Don't even be tempted - it's not worth your time or money!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I find it hard to believe that this man (he's certainly not an author) Randall Sullivan found it necessary to write such trash regarding Michael Jackson. Where are the FACTS?? This is utter garbage. His so-called sources are unreliable and liars. Michael Jackson has dedicated his entire life to helping others. He doesn't deserve this. Take a moment to research and read the autopsy report and you will find the TRUTH. I suppose the almighty dollar have a great deal of influence over Randall Sullivan....even to the point of trying to destroy Mr. Jackson's LEGACY.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A liar violates human rights. Sullivan hurt Michael Jackson's Human Rights.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At over 700 bloated pages plus 150 pages of bibliography that cites the worst in tabloid media over the past 25 years and discredited sources that are not Jackson insiders, this is a tabloid mess. It is filled with inaccuracies which have already been disproven, the writer's disgusting attempts at the pschoanalysis of Jackson, and repetitive tabloid junk. I expected better from a writer who was an editor for Rolling Stone Magazine for 20 years. Or, did I? They have either refused to feature him as one of the most important artists of the last 50 years or written trash about him too. Sullivan repeats Rolling Stone's preoccupation with Jackson not having a nose despite evidence to the contrary in his autopsy report. Further, Sullivan claims that Jackson bleached his skin and did not have vitiligo. Testimony in front of two grand juries and numerous credible sources, including a publicly accessible autopsy report, confirm that Jackson had vitiligo. Sullivan's claim that Jackson was a virgin induced me to outright laughter. He must have missed the Oprah interview with Lisa Marie Presley, Jackson's former wife, describing their seven year relationship including an active sex life. Other more credible sources than Sullivan have confirmed Jackson's involvement with several women in his life including two in the last years of his life. If people want to know about Jackson there are much better books that have been published. I suggest you not waste your time on this junk. I know I am sorry that I did.
MJAlways More than 1 year ago
When I first heard about Randall Sullivan's book, I felt excited and thought that sounds good. I may buy it. But now I think the title sums it up, 'untouchable, and certainly 'strange' and 'tragic'. The author is just another money-grabbing hopeful jumping on the same old bandwagon, attempting to make money off the famous name of Michael Jackson. What a shame and how stupid of him, Sullivan, to think he could hoodwink ardent supporters, who know about the great man inside out. So many good books are out there, and websites, that tell the unbiased truth. I advise anyone wanting to know that, do not buy this book. I think the time has passed, it is just too late, for regurgitating the same old tabloid trash. Disappointing. One thing it does is prove the long lasting fame and popularity and love of and for this one man; after over three years the leeches are still trying to get him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sullivan has been all over tv promoting this salacious piece of trash, proffering his "opinion" and "according to my sources". Sounds just like Diane Dimond. His sources are people such as Bain, Tohme, Schaffel and Oxman (now disbarred attorney). The Estate is suing Tohme for mismanagement; Bain and Schaffel sued Michael Jackson at his most vulnerable time, one shortly after the trial, and the other in early 2009 when the person smelled money on the horizon. While I have no love for the extended Jacksons, seems even they do not escape the slander of Sullivan's pen(knife). Hiding behind the guise of a "journalist" while regurgitating all the lies which have been debunked in these past three years about Michael (pedophile, freak, surgery) is horrific and the resounding thud Sullivan admits to hearing should put a well deserved end to his "journalistic" career.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is ridiculous. This is a horrible book. Don't waste your time or money on this trash. There are books out there that tell about the real Michael Jackson by people who knew the truth about him. Mr. Sullivan needs to get a real job.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book should NOT be sold ......it should be BURNED! Its all LIES, LIES and more LIES!! BURN it!
TomMesereau More than 1 year ago
Reaction to Randall Sullivan's "Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson" By: Thomas A. Mesereau, Jr. Everyone should read Randall Sullivan's "Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson." I do mean everyone! From my perspective, this book does more to explain what a decent and sympathetic human being Michael Jackson was than any similar treatment. I was Michael Jackson's lead criminal defense lawyer in Michael's criminal trial of 2005. I know what these hideous allegations did to a brilliant, kind, humane and decent artist. To be called a "child molester" ripped at the soul of this generous, loving human being. Michael was vindicated in a court of law, but the sour aftertaste of being falsely accused of pedophilia remained. Immediately following all fourteen not guilty verdicts, Michael Jackson walked free from the courthouse walls. However he continues, even in death, to battle the savage effect on his reputation. Randall Sullivan's book, "Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson" takes a tough, biting, hardnosed look at everything in Michael Jackson's life. Mr. Sullivan, who analyzed evidence and information from an objective, clinical, journalistic perspective, is willing to savage anyone and anything that the truth requires. Lawyers, doctors, business managers, personal advisors and family members are targets wherever Mr. Sullivan believes honest criticism is warranted. Placed under such a literary microscope, one might fear harsh treatment of Michael Jackson in the molestation arena. However, the opposite actually occurs. Mr. Sullivan, who did not know and never met Michael Jackson, carefully analyzes these scandalous allegations, with a careful focus on the Chandler and Arvizo chapters. He concludes that Michael Jackson was not a pedophile or child molester. To me, these conclusions and revelations are worth their weight in gold. I congratulate and thank Mr. Sullivan for his courageous and dispassionate approach. His book does more to exonerate this humane artist than any other.
layon More than 1 year ago
This is one of the worst examples of music journalism I've ever seen. Unless you just like getting ripped off and throwing money down the drain, DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK! It's a cut and paste job from completely unreliable infotainment sources and....unnamed sources! (read: author is making stuff up to sell books). If he wants to use background sources, then he needs to offer up the information given in another way. Doesn't happen and there is precious little from this book that comes from his own research and interviews. One of the most hilarious examples of Sullivan having received his journalism degree from MSU (Making Stuff Up): is his "proof"' that Michael Jackson didn't have a nose. Sullivan says there is a picture "online" of him without a nose that can be compared to other photos of Jackson. Excuse me? Exactly what picture and where are you talking about? And how does this "online" picture (in the age of photo shop) get around the autopsy report, Dr. Arnold Klein's and Dr. Richard Strick's statements? Well, it doesn't. But that doesn't sell books and get you national publicity now does it? The author is trying to sell the book with salacious gossip, even though he himself doesn't believe it, because in the past that has been a proven way to market Michael Jackson rubbish. To this day it's a known fact that pro-Jackson work doesn't sell. He snickers and tee hee-hees about Jackson's fans in his tv interviews, insisting that they must be crazy for being smart enough to stay away from his book. Not only should you stay away from this book, STAY AWAY FROM ROLLING STONE, this is the kind of writer who works for their publication!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If I could give this book a -10 rating, I would. If Randall Sullivan he believes he can sell old tabloid news, completely unfounded speculation, inuendo, and downright lies, he is sadly mistaken. Millions of people are on to you, so don't expect to make big bucks from this waste of paper.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thankyou to Mr. Jacksons lawyer for reviewing this book. I was always sure that Michael was deeply concerned about children because his childhood was taken from him by his fame hungry father. The well writen book just confirms this
Catsruhl93 More than 1 year ago
This book is a monumental waste of precious trees! Sullivan didn't know Michael Jackson and relies on countless people who really didn't care much about Michael Jackson except to make sure they benefitted from his fame machine. How sad that his children have to endure the inaccurate and completely unfair judgment of their father. Fortunately, they KNEW him and loved him dearly. This author is being sought out by every Tom, Dick and Harry's talk show to promote this garbage. An exceptional writer by the name of Joe Vogel who exhaustively researched the life of Michael Jackson and wrote a delightful book about Mr. Jackson's enormous talent and creative ability--Man in the Music, the Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson is passed up by Nightline, etc. Why? Because there's not a shred of "tabloid" sleeze. This speaks volumes for us as a society, doesn't it? Unless it's controversial and sensational, we're not interested. Seems like people ignore Mr. Jackson's pleadings in his song, Man in the Mirror. Even though the ratings have been deplorable, the fact that Sullivan is getting so much attention is very disappointing. Best course of action is just ignore the book altogether.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wrote so many articles in my life (in french), did so many researches, I wonder how this poor “”book”” got published. Not only is it boring and ridiculous. It is full of mistakes, errors, anachronisms. Anyone who had to make a serious research about Mister Jackson, or any real fan instantly see the FRAUD. Any book proclaiming that Michael didn't have a nose, didnt had vitiligo and bleached his skin recreationally is an awckward joke. Any doubts about his innocence, any claims about Mr. Jackson hating his race or never had sexual relationships with women is false, out-dated, and doesnt meet any standards of quality.... Please meet Youtube, Mr. Sullivan, go ahead and see the many speeches of Jackson HIMSELF, speaking about his proud to be black! Read the Autopsy reports, available to all, where doctors certified exactly what he had.....among that, VITILIGO ! Please read the FBI Files about Mister Jackson, released in 2010, that certify he NEVER harmed any children ! They followed him around for almost 15 YEARS !!! We could go on like this forever...I was hoping to read a good book. Instead, I got a lousy piece of garbage, that looked like it was written by a 8 year-old... Want to read great books? Joe Vogel. Aphrodite Jones. Frank Cascio. They know how to write, and they have something to say. Those authors did their job, and Cascio's insight as his closest friend is way better than any interview with clowns who got into court fights with the star or even STEAL from him on Neverland...talk about credibility here. "Untouchable" is perfect in the title for this book. It gives you a hint what you have to do :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
" Sadly, Sullivan has also been given air time to promote this tabloid trash in mainstream media ... clearly, the assault on Michael Jackson's reputation by the media continues ... " REALLY , SADLY ...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tabloid trash!!!!