His entry begins:
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William L. Shirer. I have no idea why I cracked this 1,147-page, meticulously footnoted beast of a classic World War II history. At first I was totally lost with all the German names and formal titles, and the elaborate Mein Kampf quotations were giving me a headache. But as I kept reading, Shirer's crushing thoroughness, drawn from secret Nazi papers, Nuremburg trial transcripts, an exchange of letters with an actual German general and his own observations, took on a sort of poetry. "Thus, it happened," he writes, "that I was in Vienna on the memorable night of March 11-12, 1938, when Austria ceased to exist." And the details! The tattooed concentration-camp victims whose skin became desirable black-market lampshades for the "Bitch of Buchenwald." The description of the unusual table-leg that saved Hitler's life by...[read on]About MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson, from the publisher:
The ultimate critical biography of the King of Pop: a panoramic, vivid, and incisive portrait of Michael Jackson that explores and celebrates his influence in music, dance, and popular culture, drawing on 400 interviews.Visit Steve Knopper's website.
From the moment in 1965 when he first stepped on stage with his brothers at a local talent show in Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson was destined to become the undisputed King of Pop. In a career spanning four decades, Jackson became a global icon, selling over 400 million albums, earning thirteen Grammy awards, and spinning dance moves that captivated the world. Songs like “Billie Jean” and “Black and White” altered our national discussion of race and equality, and Jackson’s signature aesthetic, from the single white glove to the moonwalk, defined a generation. Despite years of scandal and controversy, Jackson’s ultimate legacy will always be his music.
Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper delves deeply into Michael Jackson’s music and talent. From the artist’s early days with the Jackson 5, to his stratospheric success as a solo artist, to “Beat It” and “Thriller,” “Bad” and “The Man in the Mirror,” to his volatile final years, his attempted comeback, and untimely death, Knopper explores the beguiling and often contradictory forces that fueled Michael Jackson’s genius. Drawing on an amazing 400 interviews—ranging from Jackson’s relatives, friends, and key record executives to celebrities like will.i.am and Weird Al Yankovic—this critical biography puts all the elements of his career into perspective, and celebrates his triumph in art and music. This is a rare and panoramic view into the genius and influence of an incomparable talent.
Writers Read: Steve Knopper (February 2009).
Writers Read: Steve Knopper.