Margo Jefferson’s On Michael Jackson
is a lucid and elegant cultural analysis of the rise and fall of the King of Pop.An award-winning cultural critic, Jefferson brings an unexpected compassion as well as her sharp intellect and incomparable insight to Jackson’s 2005 trial for child molestation, startling us with her erudite illumination of a media-drenched circus that we only thought we understood. As only she can, Jefferson reads between the lines of Jackson’s 1998 autobiography as well as published accounts of his childhood, his family, and Motown—where Michael and his brothers first made the Jackson 5 a household name—leaving us with provocative and perhaps unanswerable questions about Jackson, child stardom, and fame itself.
"Stimulating.... Incisive, intelligent.... Engaging, well written and consistently on target."
—The New York Times
"Jefferson writes...with elegance and attitude....One closes the book hungry to hear her take on other talented but troubled celebrities."
—The Washington Post
"Sparkling....Eloquent and provocative.... Watching Margo Jefferson's mind at work is as pleasurable and thrilling as seeing Michael Jackson dance."
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Hers is a dazzling act of sustained vivacity and wisdom. Margo Jefferson brilliantly illuminates both Michael Jackson’s psyche and his art, giving us in the process a fascinating broader picture of American pop culture. Shockingly, Jackson turns out to be as representative as he is singular."
—Ann Douglas, author of Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s and The Feminization of American Culture
“Margo Jefferson, an unfailingly shrewd and eloquent cultural critic, finds in Michael Jackson a paradigm for probing the ambitions, desperations, triumphs, and sacrifices of an artist who stakes everything on a crown. Beyond palace intrigue, she explicates the meaning of show business masks, of racial and social determinants, of spectacle on stage and in the courtroom. She is compelling.”
—Gary Giddins, author of Weather Bird and Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams