Moonwalk by Michael Jackson
Αυτοβιογραφία του Michael Jackson, η οποία εκδόθηκε το 1988
The #1 New York Times bestseller! Michael Jackson’s one and only autobiography – his life, in his words.
“I’ve always wanted to be able to tell stories, you know, stories that came from my soul. I’d like to sit by a fire and tell people stories – make them see pictures, make them cry and laugh, take them anywhere emotionally with something as deceptively simple as words. I’d like to tell tales to move their souls and transform them. I’ve always wanted to be able to do that. Imagine how the great writers must feel, knowing they have that power.
I sometimes feel I could do it. It’s something I’d like to develop. In a way, songwriting uses the same skills, creates the emotional highs and lows, but the story is a sketch. It’s quicksilver. There are very few books written on the art of storytelling, how to grip listeners, how to get a group of people together and amuse them. No costumes, no makeup, no nothing, just you and your voice, and your powerful ability to take them anywhere, to transform their lives, if only for minutes.” –Michael Jackson, in Moonwalk
Moonwalk is an autobiography written by American musician Michael Jackson. The book was first published in February 1988, five months after the release of Jackson’s Bad album, and named after Jackson’s signature dance move, the moonwalk. The book was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.
The title of Moonwalk was derived from Michael Jackson’s signature dance move, the moonwalk. The moonwalk presents the illusion that the dancer is stepping forward while actually moving backward. The dance move gained widespread popularity after being performed by Jackson on the 1983 television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, and has since become the most well known dance move in the world.
The first manuscript of the book was written by Robert Hilburn, which was refused by the publishers, Doubleday, because it lacked “juicy details”. A second manuscript was written by Stephen Davis, which Jackson drastically edited. Jackson finally decided to write the book himself, with help from Shaye Areheart (although there were reports that Areheart later quit after Jackson threw a snake at her). Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis edited the book and wrote a three paragraph introduction.
Due to the public interest in Jackson, Moonwalk was prepared for publication in secret. Relatives of Doubleday employees were hired as couriers, to deliver portions of the book from the company’s head office in Manhattan to the printing plant in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. At the printing plant, the book was given the code name “Neil Armstrong”, after the first “moonwalker”.
Dedicated to Fred Astaire, the book discusses Jackson’s show business friends, girlfriends and his rise to fame. The book also discusses Jackson’s appearance and thoughts on plastic surgery. Jackson stated that up to that point, he had two rhinoplastic surgeries and the surgical creation of a cleft in his chin. He attributed the change in the structure of his face to puberty, weight loss, a strict vegetarian diet, a change in hair style and stage lighting.
In the book, Jackson tells of the beatings he received from his father, Joseph. While rehearsing with The Jackson 5, Jackson stated that when they messed up they “got hit, sometimes with a belt, sometimes with a switch.” The singer added that his father was “real strict” and “something of a mystery”. In September 1988, Jackson telephoned his father to apologize for some of the material in the autobiography. He explained that he hadn’t written the book himself and that the critical content was written by “someone else”.  The singer also reveals how much he has been hurt by the press, stating, “What happened to truth? Did it go out of style?”
Moonwalk debuted at number one on both the British newspaper The Times’ and the Los Angeles Times’ bestseller lists. Reaching number two in its first week on the The New York Times Best Seller list, Moonwalk reached number one the following week. Within a few months of its release, Moonwalk had sold 450,000 copies in fourteen countries.
Ken Tucker, of The New York Times, stated that if the book had been written by anyone else, it would be dismissed as “an assiduously unrevealing, frequently tedious document.” However, he adds that “these are precisely the qualities that make it fascinating”.
Moonwalk was re-released on October 13, 2009 as a result of Michael Jackson’s death, with a new foreword by Motown founder Berry Gordy and afterword by Shaye Areheart.