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December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died (Book) Hardcover – November 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879309636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879309633
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,085,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Greenberg, a best-selling author and television producer, seizes the reader’s attention and heart in this finely honed chronicle of the death of John Lennon. This page-turner begins with the release of the album Double Fantasy, a ravishing collaboration between Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono an achievement that ended a sweet period of seclusion with their then-five-year-old son, Sean. Lennon was 40 and rejuvenated creatively and emotionally. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, Greenberg emphasizes Lennon’s happiness, noting, with no small irony, how safe he and Yoko felt living in the Dakota, a fanciful old Manhattan apartment building, and how friendly Lennon was to the fans who gathered there, including his killer, Mark David Chapman. Greenberg enfolds a wealth of fresh biographical facts and penetrating insights into this richly dimensional and riveting account, circling deftly between Lennon’s past and his last months in 1980, and the chilling story of Chapman’s obsession with Lennon and history of concealing his mental illness, and how close he came to not pulling the trigger. Greenberg’s definitive and unforgettable inquiry into John Lennon’s death illuminates the cruel mysteries of madness, and, more resonantly, all the qualities that made Lennon such an exceptional and compelling artist. --Donna Seaman

About the Author

Keith Elliot Greenberg is a New York Times bestselling author and producer for America's Most Wanted. In addition to producing programs for VH-1, 48 Hours, MSNBC Investigates, the History Channel, and Court TV, among others, Greenberg has authored more than thirty non-fiction books and written for such outlets as Maxim, The Village Voice, The New York Observer, USA Today, Playboy.com, and US Weekly.

Customer Reviews

As an avid fan of John Lennon and the Beatles, I very much enjoyed this book.
Beatles4Life1986
Great insight into the thought processes of a killer bent on changing that world, while allowing me to view John's life from the beginning up until the very end.
KMB
I was really looking forward to reading this book but I'm having a hard time getting through it.
C. Poplos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey R. Copeland on October 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is deceptive. The title and jacket sleeve indicates the book is about December 8th 1980. In fact, only a rather small portion of the book details the events of 12/8/80. The rest of the book is filler covering the same history of John Lennon we've read many times before. I wish the author would go back and rewrite this book with the focus being on 12/8/80 only. If he made the effort, a great book could be had.
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Moody on October 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many Beatles fans, I'm sure, had trouble with John Lennon's seemingly newfound life in the late 1970's when he'd discovered 1) that, irrespective of his early seventies drug induced personality and "lost weekend" antics, he truly loved Yoko Ono and wanted to spend eternity with her and 2) that a whole new vein of music was slowly evolving in his mind, given this newfound serenity, and it was music well removed from that of the Beatles...that is to say that the notion of a reunion now seemed a distant non-starter. With Lennon's release of "Double Fantasy" in October, 1980, a new, non-Beatles idealism was growing and Lennon, to some, seemed to have reinvented himself on the world music stage. To a small faction, however, this new musical direction and seemingly tranquil lifestyle drove a wedge into the endless enchantment that Beatles fanatics, in hopes of a reunion, were guilty of and, as Keith Greenberg points out in this excellent crime drama wrapped around an intimate portrayal of Lennon's late 70's life as well as a plausible post-Beatles explanation for their breakup, explains, perhaps, some rationale for Mark David Chapman's horrid and completely self-centered and selfish act. Combining thorough investigation with intimate and sincere moments in the life of John and Yoko, Greenberg pens a step by step account of that fateful day and the aftermath that brings a fresh and nuanced look at this seminal moment in music history.

Intertwining chronological events of December 8th 1980 with categorical memories of the Beatles era, Greenberg constructs the whole of Lennon's life out of seemingly fragmented parts. We see the demise of the Beatles, the deep convictions for a fair and meaningful universal peace and, of course, the music.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By daven on June 20, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I read about half of this book and gave up. If you have ever read any half way decent bio of lennon or the beatles, you will learn nothing new here.
Secondly, even if there was anything new here it is painful to read. this book seems like it was written by a first year journalism student. brutal!
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kelly on November 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Something strange is happening here! It is more than a little peculiar how the majority reviewers who have given this book a 5 star rating all have only one review if you check on their user names. Wow, this book must have really inspired a lot of people - well I don't think so!

It looks to me like the author/publisher is pretty busy pushing this book or it must be good to have friends and family to canvas on your behalf - is it not? Some people are just shameless.
Save your hard earned money folks because this book is a rip-off - do not buy it!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Owen on December 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This short book begins by showing us Lennon on his last day, as he was beginning to turn his life around. In 1980 he was jumping back into the music business after a five year sabbatical. His new single "(Just Like) Starting Over" was near the top of the charts. He'd dedicated his life to his family-- his five year-old son Sean, and wife Yoko--and was making overtures to repair the damage he inflicted on his older son, Julian, then seventeen. Greenberg's opening approach immediately appealed to me more than if he had flaunted the Lennon of peace and love and revolution. We got shades of this grown-up Lennon at the end of the movie Imagine, when the lyrics of "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" play over home movies of Lennon with his son, scenes that become utterly heartbreaking once we remember he will die, that he would never see Sean "come of age". Greenberg also mentions the poignancy of that song given Lennon's murder, and it completes a good set-up for what is to come. He's given us a character we care about, whether we know John Lennon already or not.

Unfortunately he gets it almost completely wrong from there. Rather than give us a book about the day with historical background sprinkled in to give us context, he gives us a history of the Beatles with elements of the day dusted over. This book is primarily background and secondarily about the event. Now, I understand background was necessary. He rightly gives us a rundown on Lennon's troubles from childhood, through the Beatles and post-Beatles period. (Important for the redemption story.) He rightly gives us background on the murderer, Mark David Chapman. (Which, BTW, Greenberg does a good job with. He adeptly shows us the man's instability, how his mind could switch quickly between lucid and mad.
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Format: Hardcover
I had no expectations going into Keith Greenberg's "December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died" except that it would be about December 8, 1980: the day John Lennon died. Parts of it were. The rest of it was a kind of Reader's Digest/Monarch Notes summary of the careers of The Beatles and Lennon/Ono, and the developing mental disorders of Mark David Cahpman. To be fair, it would be a morose task to focus primarily on the events of that day. Those of us who are old enough to remember it--and cared about it--have our own personal histories of that night. For many of us, we read about it for days, then years, afterward.

The problem was, for me, that too many irrelevant doors were opened for too long, and the relevant ones closed too quickly. There were several accounts of the perceptions of what the guy-on-the-street was doing and thinking on that night. I understand that this was an attempt by Greenberg to give us people with whom we can identify. The problem was we didn't need it. Like I said, the people who remember that horrible night have their own private mental museums about where they were and how they felt when they heard the news.

This isn't to say that I disliked the book or wouldn't recommend it. This is about as "Okay" a book as you can get. Don't go into it expecting to get too much out of it. It will satisfy but only just.
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