Cover Image: George Michael

George Michael

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

What can I say. I was a huge George Michael fan. I loved this book. Read it.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book

Like most kids that grew up in the late 80s/90s, George Michael is a familiar figure to me. . Songs like Freedom 90, Father Figure, and Faith were part of the culture I grew up in. His death in 2016 was yet another piece of my younger years chipping away. Yet as well as I know the songs of George Michael, the man himself remained very much a mystery. This book was an antidote for that.

Though this is a long book, and somewhat of a slow read, it is fascinating. Sometimes biographies can come across as boring or even judgemental, but this one is neither. Clearly, George Michael didn't lead a happy life, and this book showed the good, bad, and even ugly parts of his upbringing, rise to fame, and last years. It did so with a nonbiased or judgemental fashion that let the reader get all the information while humanizing a figure that had seen so much controversy in life.
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This was an excellent book about an entertainer who was taken from us entirely too early. Michael never did get the credit he deserved, but this book pays some of that tribute back.
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I really enjoy this book it actually took me back to my childhood I honestly I found George Michael to be absolutely hot gorgeous a stud amazingly talented so thank you for letting me see you read this.
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I was so excited to be approved to read this e-galley of GEORGE MICHAEL by James Gavin. The length of the book was somewhat daunting, but I've read long biographies like Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn by William J. Mann, which is nearly 700 pages. James Gavin's biography of George Michael is very exhaustive and reading about the singer's early years was very interesting; it's such a great example of what often stays with us through childhood regardless of how life changes for us as adults. It was also very eye-opening to realize how young George was when he met Andrew Ridgeley and to read about how Andrew befriended George. 

However, where this book fell short was that it felt lifeless. George Michael had so many struggles, which were reiterated far too many times without anything new revealed, so it felt like the reading equivalent of riding a stationary bicycle. For a life that was so tense, especially living under the fear of being outed as gay, there was a lack of tension in the writing. In contrast, Mann's book about Katherine Hepburn (who was also closeted) was a page-turner and very emotional. 

I was also surprised at how dismissive James Gavin was of Andrew Ridgeley. Maybe Ridgeley's lack of participation in Wham! was true, but where did this information come from? It didn't seem like Gavin interviewed Ridgeley. This question came so early in the book that it made me wonder about other situations in the book. 

This was a bit of a miss for me, but I applaud James Gavin for digging in so deep and sharing George Michael's story.
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Having been a fan of George Michael and Wham for many years, I was excited to read this book.  It was interesting hearing the history of the band and all about George Michael's solo career.  But I got much more than I expected.  To me, this book was a cautionary tale about how you can be insanely successful but still perpetually sad and unfulfilled.  It was a great reminder to be grateful for your wins and successes in life.  Most of us will never accomplish or earn as much as George Michael.  But many of us are as hard on ourselves as he is.  Maybe this book will help readers be less hard on themselves.
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James Gavin has written an exhaustive and yet astonishingly Illuminating biography of one of the great artist of the last 40 years, George Michael. This wonderful book contains the depth and compassion for its subject that George Michael so richly deserves. Michael’s recorded work has and will continue to stand the test of time. His concerts and live performances will never be forgotten by his fans. But the real legacy of George Michael may well be how unflaggingly charitable he was. His compassion for others lives on in the charities he founded and the charities his estate continues to fund. I worked for one of those charities, Project Angel Food in Los Angeles. I know first hand how George Michael’s generosity has saved lives and made the world a better place. God bless this artist. God bless this amazing book. Bravo a million times.
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As a fan of Wham and George Michael I enjoyed reading about his story. The author did a nice job of telling about his background and telling stories the public really didn't know about. If your a fan of the group or George Michael himself I recommend reading this biography you will not be disappointed.
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If you are gen X like myself I think you will enjoy hearing the back story of George Michael and his life. If you are younger, I still say read the book because a lot of what George suffered still applies today. George was not a saint by any means and sometimes was a real pain in the neck and this book does not sugar coat his faults.  I definitely recommend the book for an un-white washed look at the star. This is coming from an unabashed fan of Wham! from the beginning-I loved the songs, "Bad Boys" and "Young Guns" and have all the Wham!  and old George Michael cassettes.  It is a sad story which began with huge promise. The biographer did a lot of research and is a very good writer in my opinion.. I would read more James Gavin in the future.. In any event, this is a kind of Greek tragedy ..ironic that George had roots in Cyprus. RIP Yorg.  

Thank you to the publisher and Net galley for the chance to read and review.
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George Michael came on the scene during the time I was coming out in college and I had a huge crush on him. I followed his career during the earlier years and was perplexed when there were long lapses between his musical output in later years. This comprehensive and well-researched book is illuminating and provides many answers about his life. 

Beginning with his early childhood, his friendship with Andrew Ridgeley and the development of their group Wham!, the first surprise for me was the fact that he was immensely talented at singing and songwriting but his major goal was to simply become famous. He achieved that goal quickly and ventured on to become a huge solo success. However, Michael was never happy with his life and was so obsessed with controlling every detail of every project, he was never truly satisfied. Part of his withdrawal dealt with the fact that he lived in the closet and could not envision a life of success by openly acknowledging his sexuality.

His desire for popularity faded over the years and further heartbreak came when his first love died of AIDS. Shortly after that, his beloved mother died of cancer. The turning point in his career came with a devastating lawsuit against Sony Music. Michael lost the case and the remainder of his work during his lifetime was sporadic (chiefly due to Michael's bullheadedness and not Sony). The culmination of all these events came with his arrest in a Los Angeles public restroom which effectively outed him.

Michael's later years were clouded by drugs (he was an excessive pot smoker) and promiscuity. There were multiple incidences of traffic violations, public intoxication and sexual indiscretions. 

The book is an absorbing read and offers juicy details on Michael as well as some of the people he worked with (Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Elton John, etc.). The author's details of how he worked and came up with his most popular songs is also quite fascinating. Although the attempt as justifying George Michael as a gay icon is not convincing (to me, his long-time silence put a damper on that and even after he was outed, he continued to embody heterosexual characteristics in his videos and his personal life wasn't exactly admirable), the book does an excellent job at capturing his life and his demons. This one should go down as a definitive biography.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Abrams for the chance to read the ARC of this. ok in exchange for a fair and honest review. I really enjoyed this book . it is a thorough, comprehensive study of a complex man.It was obviously well researched  and it is well written.I was  a casual fan of Wham , and was  a little more appreciative  of George Michael, the solo artist. This book gave  me a broader and deeper interest in him and his music.I learned a lot about his early days, his friends and his musical beginnings. His descent into drugs and alcohol is heartbreaking to read .this is a no holds barred, warts and all biography and I highly recommend it.8:
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As a fan of Georgia Michael, I thought the author did a great job keeping me captivated whole also sharing information I don't know. Great writing and great topic. I highly recommend.
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Let me start off by saying as someone who was born in 1984 it appalled me that I had no clue until this book that George Michael was one half of WHAM! Especially since I knew almost all of their songs. My most clear knowledge of him as a singer was his early 90's stuff including Freedom 90'. I have had that song stuck in my head along with a string of other 80's and 90's hits for the last month and a half that I read this book. Lol, be prepared. It was a blast reading chapters and searching the internet for video's and photos that correlated with what I had just read. By the time I got to the later chapters I felt like I was reading about a friend. I was sad when his life started to spiral and his music wasn't getting the love he thought it deserved. I was scared for him as he made reckless choices and i anticipated how it was going to end. The author was incredibly detail oriented in all of this book and I couldn't even find anything to make notes on except for literally one sentence towards the beginning of the book where he wrote someones ethnicity along with their name which i thought was unnecessary. Literally, that was it.
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James Gavin delivers a well detailed and intimate portrait on the life of George Michael. 
Much has been written about George Michael over the years. His younger years were challenged by his difficult relationship with his father and the shunning of homosexuality. Music became his center and he developed his talent with a driving force. His friendship with Andrew Ridgeley led to the formation of Wham! In 1981 and the fans and chart topping hits followed. His good looks, soulful voice and songwriting skills were award winning, received much praise but never eased his personal pain. He struggled with substance abuse, legal issues, depression from the death of his lover and later his mother.
Although the darkest of times were well publicized and became tabloid fodder over the years, Mr. Gavin delivers the most difficult aspects of George Michaels life tastefully, without being vulgar or gossipy. He never loses his level of respect for George Michael the man and the artist.
George Michael was a creative force, a charity fundraiser and an activist. His untimely death at the age of fifty three on Christmas Day 2016 was shocking but the message and beauty of his words will not be forgotten.
Highly Recommended.
My thanks to NetGalley, James Gavin and Abrams Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review.
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I have been a fan of George Michael and his music for many years.  I was really excited to get a copy of this book and start reading it.  

This book was definitely well researched.  It was a little slow at times, but over all was a very good account of George Michaels life.  I definitely would recommend this book to anyone who is a George Michael fan, or anyone that would want to learn more about his life.
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James Gavin gives us a very personal and  extremely detailed account of the life of George Michael.   Michael's rise to fame came during the years of extreme homophobia (especially among his Greek community), AIDS, recreational drugs and the emergence of extreme paparazzi.  The complicated admiration, jealously and friendship he had with Elton John gives insight into many of the now famous performance the two gave to the world. I was lucky enough to be at Live Aid in Wembley Stadium to witness one such performance first hand.   The stories in the book are as captivating as the sexy video and music that provided the backdrop to the formative years of many a youth.  HIs trust in others led him into some situations that were not truly in his best interests, but he sometimes followed with the same blind faith he demanded from others. 
Scars were left by the loss of his one true love, his inability to live his life in light and truth without judgement and the business betrayals by those that he trusted. 
The only improvement would be to have shortened the length of the book a bit.  Every studio session and performance is detailed.  Gavin could have left off a few of these stops.  A brilliant book revealing the heartbreak, insecurities and ambitions of one of the best artist of our time. Fans of Wham , George Michael. and the music of the '80's and 90's will relish the behind the scenes stories.
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While there are plenty of facts, and the book is well-researched and thorough, there's no feeling in this book.  It's like reading a well-written Wikipedia page about George Michael instead of a thoughtful account of his life. This is probably because the author doesn't have any real connection with the subject.  Overall, the book is interesting but dry.

Thank you, NetGalley, for the ARC.
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Having been a George Michael fan since he first emerged on the pop scene with whim, I was excited to read his biography. It was sad, though, to read of his continual internal conflict. Despite all of the seeming success that he so desperately strove for, he never could achieve happiness. His life was shaped by a strict Greek father who shunned homosexuality thus compelling George to stay closeted for decades. The book focuses heavily on George Michael’s sexuality but I am assuming that was because it played such a large role in his life. When he died suddenly at age 53, I was saddened as so many other of his fans. To read of his decades-long addiction and health crises aided me in understanding his death at a young age. A compelling read for anyone who has appreciated the songwriting and music of George Michael.
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Ahhhhh- all that was George Michael has been included in this non-fiction book which makes for a very long read (over 560 pages) which is my only negative comment. This was a well thought out, well researched look at who George Michael the man really was- I was a fan of  George M and this story didn’t nothing to change that Thank goodness!
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Thank you Netgalley for offering this book! Although I loved George Michael’s music, I never knew much about his life story and this book is the one book to read for an in-depth look at the boy, the man,  the musician and his troubled soul.
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