Natural Born Man: The Life of Jack Johnson

By Marc Shapiro

This rather dry and distant celebrity bio of surf/rock hero Jack Johnson lacks the intimacy that might be brought by someone closer to the subject and his core lifestyle (beach and surf).

The research here seems largely the result of media trolling rather than face time with real people. Author Marc Shapiro has produced over 20 celebrity and entertainment books, including bios of George Harrison, Carlos Santana, and Mariah Carey. While Natural Born Man lays out an encyclopedic and apparently accurate timeline of our hero’s journey, he never gets inside of Jack’s skin … or mind. In fact, it’s pretty clear from his intro that Shapiro and Johnson have never met. So, while appreciating the author’s assiduous research and the resulting narrative fl ow here, we’ll wait for the real deal by someone closer to the subject … maybe Jack himself. – DK