The calamitous last stage of the singer's life as told by his trusted security team, with the assistance of Colby (Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America, 2012, etc.).
Whitfield and Beard witnessed firsthand how Michael Jackson (1958-2009) squandered his enormous wealth by trusting the wrong people, whose questionable business deals yielded more legal entanglements than profits. They steered clear of the infighting and conflicting agendas among those who oversaw Jackson's crumbling empire and observed how Jackson, deliberately disengaged from his own affairs, was "a billion-dollar enterprise, running 24/7, and there was nobody in charge.” The authors provide solid insight into Jackson's immature behavior—e.g., his ruinous habit of turning to wealthy, powerful figures to rescue him in times of crisis and his blithe dismissal of the harm his staff endured due to his refusal to manage his corrupt advisors. In one incredible story, Jackson asked Whitfield during one of the pop star's famed spending sprees at FAO Schwarz why Whitfield wasn't buying Christmas presents for his own daughter; when he informed Jackson he had not been paid in weeks, he replied "Oh" and did nothing to repair the situation. Jackson was renowned for his enormous compassion and generosity to people in need around the world, but he couldn't see the pain his actions caused the people closest to him. "[B]eing isolated from such a very young age,” write the authors, “he [never] developed the skills you need to cope with personal relationships." The authors also reflect on how Jackson missed out on more than just playtime and friendships: "Childhood isn't just about being a child; it's about becoming an adult,” says Whitfield. “Because eventually you will be an adult, whether you want to or not.”
Illuminating and thoughtful, especially for those who can't help but hear Jackson's hit song when they read the book's title.