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4.6 out of 5 stars
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
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107 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
This is the companion book to the Martin Scorsese documentary. Olivia Harrison has been very generous in putting together this lavish book. She has provided a huge number of personal photos of George in non-public settings: very early Harrison family photos, from his 1963 trip to the US, at Friar Park, in India. There are early photos from The Cavern and The Star Club and from Australia. There are copies of correspondence including a wonderful letter from John Lennon to Mrs. Harrison from Hamburg. It is a coffee table sized book that runs to nearly 400 pages. Everything is beautifully presented. This is a real treasure. The photos are stunning and thre are very few that have been seen before. This is an essential book for George fans and Beatle fans. It is amazing tha 48 years after the start of British Beatlemania that we could have this wealth of previously unseen, high quality material. Olivia Harrison has my heartfelt appreciation for sharing this with the fans. This is a real labor of love. Hundreds and hundreds of books have been published about The Beatles. This is one of the very best. Very highly recommended.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 29, 2011
"I want to tell you, my head is filled with things to say." -- George Harrison, 1966

This is without a doubt the most beautiful and longest awaited biography of George Harrison to date!

As soon as this book became available, I ordered it immediately if not even sooner. I loved the previously unpublished photographs, such as that of 2-year-old George in the arms of his sister, Louise, then nearly 14. I had to smile at tween George sunning himself with family friends, father Harold Sr. and brother Peter, in or about 1954. I especially loved the picture of Louise and Harold Sr. at a dance in the late 1940s, a loving couple who literally welcomed George with love.

It was such a treat to read about various Harrison family members. It is plain and has been well documented that George was not only created by love, but was literally born into love. From 1965-1969, Louise Harrison lent her voice to a column in a newsletter in a fan club newsletter honoring her son.

Postcards George had written various friends and family members; sketches from his school workbooks all paint young George Harrison into sharper focus. As a bonus treat, readers enjoy the inclusion of quotes by various family members, such as George's sisters-in-law, brothers, fellow Beatles and sundry friends.

I have long thought George and Paul were the most interesting of the Beatles. George's love for Eastern music and his life-long bond with Ravi Shankar, whom he met in 1965 is beautifully chronicled in this book. George's home Friar Park is included, from its "evolution" to its finished state, metaphoric in that it parallels George's "evolution" to that of gardener, a passion he inherited from both Harold Sr. and Louise.

You've just got to love seeing George, then 12 astride a motorcycle labeled "43" (as in 1943, perhaps), a future Formula One enthusiast. The then-future Beatle would follow his love for "things fast," as he would later sing in his 1979 gem, "Faster." In 1963, George, then 20 had a blast go-karting with his fellow Beatles, no doubt wishing his go-kart could be driven a tad faster. George, artist extraordinare, humble gardener, author, father, husband, son, brother, uncle, complex iconic figure remained a boy at heart.

One thing I've long wanted to explore was George's Catholic roots. Louise French Harrison was Catholic and had George baptized when he was 1 month old. George's Catholic roots remained with him for his entire life. He had a beautiful statue of Blessed Mother Mary on the grounds of Friar Park. While George explored Eastern religion and philosophy, he recognized that the precepts of all faiths are very similar.

I will add that George Harrison has given the gift of his beautiful voice to many. A child with Asperger's, which is a form of autism who was a HUGE Beatles fan (George was this child's favorite) was a late talker. Upon acquiring speech, this child would let George "talk" for her, using quotes from George's songs and lines he uttered in Beatle movies to express herself. Over time, this evolved into her developing her own voice, so to speak. George Harrison's music and his natural, yet childlike grace of sorts reached countless many. He has a large following of fans with autism, as do the Beatles as a group. Beatle fans with autism is a demographic that is not rare as one might otherwise think.

This book is such a Godsend and I CAN'T WAIT for the dvd. Olivia Arias Harrison, a beautiful, gracious lady has given the world a gift that will continue to give. To make a good thing even better, she has included her input, which made this a much more effective body of work. I can never thank her enough.

This book is a MUST HAVE for all George Harrison fans. Again, this book is a gift that will keep on giving.

You will also want to read Before He Was Fab : George Harrison's First American Visit, which was co-authored by George's sister, Louise.
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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2011
A magnificent book, full of absolutely incredible photos that were never intended for public consumption. Kudos to Olivia Harrison for doing this - it has to be one of THE major Beatles-related books alongside their own 'Anthology' and Mark Lewisohn's body of work on the group, including his forthcoming multi-volume bio. That having been said, 'Living in the Material World' is not without its flaws: many of the captions are weak - yes, the photos largely speak for themselves, but with expert input there could have been more precise dating and, in certain cases, useful observations and background info. (Just one of many examples is a terrific 1963 side-on stage shot of the band that includes the back of someone watching quietly from the wings. What many readers possibly won't realize, and what makes this photo all the more significant, is that the man is their devoted road manager Neil Aspinall who would later run their company, Apple. It would have been worthwhile pointing this out, along with numerous other helpful tidbits.) Also, conspicuous by her omission is George's first wife Pattie, who was by his side during the most eventful decade of his life. The one group photo in which she does appear has her listed as Pattie Boyd at a time when she was Pattie Harrison. That, however, is it as far as she's concerned. Even a close-up portrait of George at their Kinfauns home that was almost certainly taken by Pattie is credited only to the "Harrison family." Her absence cannot have been a mere oversight; more likely, it speaks to bad blood between the two wives, which is unfortunate since it results in a major aspect of George's life being excluded from this otherwise comprehensive, beautifully produced and truly outstanding book.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
Drawing on George Harrison's personal archive of photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia, Olivia Harrison reveals the story of his life, from his guitar-obsessed boyhood in Liverpool, to the astonishment of the Beatles years, to his days as an independent musician and bohemian squire. Here too is the record of Harrison's lifelong commitment to Indian music, and his adventures as a movie producer, Traveling Wilbury, and Formula One racing fan. The book is filled with stories and reminiscences from Harrison's friends, including Eric Clapton, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and many, many others. Among its previously unpublished riches are photographs taken by Harrison himself beginning in the mid-1960s. It is a rich tribute to a man who died far too young, but who touched the lives of millions.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
I have not been able to get through the whole book, but I had to write this up. It is a beautiful book. Dittos to what the other reviewer wrote. Besides the interviews and anecdotes you have gorgeous photos. From the first, a photo of Liverpool during WWII, you'll really be drawn in. The photos are wonderful. The book is larger than I thought it would be. There is a photo of a postcard sent from George to his home, and a letter from John Lennon to George's home as well, written in his early comic style, "so to Speke." At the bottom are some of his bizarre drawings of armless people. School pics and early ones at home are ones I've never seen, it is said that these are unpublished items and you can believe it. George was always my fave Beatle and I am so pleased I pre-ordered this book, and I'm not even finished with it! Any Beatles fan, hardcore or casual, will enjoy this. Music fans in general too. This is a book that will go on that one shelf upstairs with other well-done and collectible items.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2011
What immediately impressed me about this book was how beautful it is in quality and production. Just turning the pages to view the beautifully-reproduced photos was a delight. I so wish "Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs" had been done in this same quality paper and reproduction.

This book is a treasure, and I thank Olivia & Dhani for giving us this loving look into George - a complex and incredible man. I especially enjoyed the many photographs taken by George - seeing life through his lens. My favorites were the double exposure self-portrait and those of the other FABS. I enjoyed the thoroughness of this book, the many early photographs, and the short, intimate, insightful thoughts of those close to George.

If I have one complaint, and it is not specific to this book but to so many photo books, it is the design choice to have a photo on a 2-page spread and to place the subject right in the middle crevice between the 2 pages. I would rather see it smaller on 1 page with the subject perfectly viewable. But, again, that is a personal gripe I have with many books (including the Linda McCartney book), and certainly does not take away from enjoying George's book.

I highly recommended this book for Beatles fans, and for anyone who wants a look at a fascinating man, without all the gossip and filler added. It would make a wonderful gift. Again, my compliments and thank you to the Harrison Family. I am really looking forward to the documentary!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
... I'd like to comment on the portions of this book that were especially thrilling to me. As the others have said, it's beyond beautiful - the content, the production, the overall design - it's all stunning. I loved seeing so many photographs taken by George, starting WAY back when. Seeing the other Beatles through his lens allows me to forget long-told stories of friction & animousity between the men, and focus on what had to be extraordinarily strong and loving relationships between the members of the Beatles that (I choose to believe) lasted a lifetime.

But the sections of the book that have me slowing down and absorbing everything shown and written are: 1) the extensive look at George Harrison's remarkable relationship with Ravi Shankar; 2) photos of the first years rescuing Friar Park, clearly showing what a daunting task it was and paving the way for a true appreciation of George's dedication to "gardening"; and 3)photos and quotes from George's friends in the auto-racing world. I knew of his passion, but nothing of where his fascination with fast cars and love of the thrill of racing came from.

With such a broad scope, it's inevitable that I was left wanting more and I PRAY that's where the documentary will show itself as a true companion piece to this book. Olivia Harrison has given her husband and his fans an incredibly generous gift: a loving look at a MAN who lived an almost unbelievable life, literally, and lived it to the fullest - with passion, curiousity, enthusiasm and grace. I can't imagine anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of George Harrison that WOULDN'T be thrilled with this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2011
This book, lovingly compiled by Olivia Harrison, is a wonderful tribute to George's life and career, and is a companion to the Martin Scorsese documentary on HBO (and on DVD/Blu-ray in Europe). It is full of rare photos and documents and tells the whole story of George Harrison, from his Liverpool childhood, to his years with The Beatles, to his solo career, to his time with The Traveling Wilburys, and also details his near-fatal stabbing in 1999, and his death from cancer in 2001. I was a little surprised that there was not more of Pattie Boyd Harrison Clapton in the book (perhaps she is in the movie).

If you loved the book Imagine: John Lennon or the Imagine DVD (Deluxe Edition), you will love this book. If you have HBO, enjoy the Martin Scorsese documentary. I don't have cable, so I'll be looking forward to the DVD (which is scheduled for a spring 2012 release in the U.S.). I don't think there will be a soundtrack CD, although I understand that the deluxe Blu-ray/DVD combo package that was just issued in Europe has a bonus CD of unissued Harrisongs. Hopefully, we will get the same thing.

George, you are missed, and you never got the credit you deserved, as either a Beatle or as a solo artist.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
Not a review per se, just a quick tip to Beatle fans...

I just spent a half hour leafing through this hefty volume, and if you're on the fence about buying yet another Beatle book, I assure you... trust me... this is an absolutely gorgeous volume of the very highest quality, beautifully produced, full of unseen images.

Well worth the investment. You'll keep it forever.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2011
I do believe it's a great book but the lack of any mention of Patty Boyd was a huge mistake. I know that she was still in touch with George and even attended Dhani's graduation at Brown (I think, I could mistaken on that). So it seems now he's gone, she's forgotten. After they were together through pretty much of his early career. Is the documentary any different?
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