|Publication date||February 1, 1988|
|Dewey Decimal||784.5/4/00924 B 19|
|LC Classification||ML420.J175 A3 1988|
|Followed by||Dancing the Dream|
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 dance move moonwalk presents the illusion that the dancer is stepping forward while actually moving backward. The 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, asking, "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".
- Thriller 25: The Book. ML Publishing Group Ltd. 2008. ISBN 978-0-9768891-9-9.
- Campbell (1993), p. 197
- McDowell, Edwin. "Michael Jackson writes his story", The New York Times, 18 April 1988.
- Tucker, Ken. "Firing your father isn't easy.", The New York Times, 5 June 1988.
- Jackson, p. 229–230
- Taraborrelli, p. 395
- Campbell, Lisa (1993). Michael Jackson: The King of Pop. Branden. ISBN 0-8283-1957-X.
- Jackson, Michael (1988). Moonwalk. Doubleday. ISBN 0385247125.
- Taraborrelli, J. Randy (2004). The Magic and the Madness. Terra Alta, WV: Headline. ISBN 0-330-42005-4.