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Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman, the Man Who Killed John Lennon Hardcover – November 17, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1st. ed edition (November 17, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679411445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679411444
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,140,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From the title's tasteless allusion to the Lennon song "Strawberry Fields Forever" to the excusing treatment of a psychopath, this sensationalistic biography proves repugnant. Jones, noted for being the first reporter to interview "Son of Sam" killer David Berkowitz, describes the personality of Mark David Chapman before and after he shot and killed former Beatle John Lennon on Dec. 8, 1980, in New York City. We learn of Chapman's fascination with The Catcher in the Rye protagonist Holden Caulfield; we hear the voices of the evil "child" and rational "adult" arguing within Chapman as he stalked Lennon; we read of Chapman's "possession by demons" after his imprisonment. Jones's introduction claims "Chapman asked the author to undertake the telling of his story in the hope that it might prevent future tragedy." Shamefully, however, this book serves only the ignoble purpose of promoting a criminal's narcissism. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In 1980, Chapman gunned down ex-Beatle John Lennon in New York City and pled guilty to second-degree murder; he is now an inmate at Attica prison. This account of his life and the obsessive forces that culminated in the death of his former idol is based largely on Chapman's recollections. Jones's book would have been strengthened by a critical analysis of Chapman's pathology (he is variously described as psychopathic, schizophrenic, and narcissistic) but nonetheless it is engrossing reading and far superior to Fenton Breslar's Who Killed John Lennon? ( LJ 8/89). A good addition to the literature about violence directed against celebrities, this book will appeal to students of abnormal psychology and true crime fans. Recommended where interest warrants.
- Gregor Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Caudy on October 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
He said the reason he shot John Lennon was so that he'd be a "somebody" instead of a "nobody." He said he'd always wanted to have a book written about him. Is this book just feeding his narcisism? I sort of think the book can't decide whether it wants to be a legitimate psychological portrait or sensationalistic. The highlights of the book, for me, were the chapters "All the Lonely People" and "Fan Mail." These chapters examined the culture we live in that leads people to obsess over famous people. I was disappointed in the book because I thought it would examine that more than it did, and also because it glamourized Mark David Chapman. I mean, it includes a short story he wrote. I don't care about that, I don't care about HIM. I care about the sociological and psychological factors that made him do what he did. I don't want to know his life story, and I REALLY don't want to empathize with him.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Rod Quinn on July 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is not necessarily one for Lennon fans, and I can imagine that plenty would avoid it because they can't forgive Chapman for what he did.
However, the story that unfolds helps to explain why Chapman did what he did, and is a chilling examination of an unsound mind. It is also compelling evidence why handgun law reform is essential, and Lennon's death is a perfect example of what can happen when madmen can buy a gun and carry it around.
Don't judge the book by its subject..judge it by the fact that it is a superbly written explanation of why a tragedy happened.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Martone on October 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book takes you back to Mark's childhood and offers the reader an inside understanding of the experiences that shaped his twisted thoughts. In looking at current tragedies such as the killings at Columbine High School, Jonesborough, Arkansas and others, books like this that delve into the minds of unlikely killers offer educators a reflective look and may help in the identification of future killers, before they kill. The information gained offers one a reflective look into the mind of a child and brings up the question, "What can we do to help prevent killings in the future." It turns a child from a number into a human being that needs to be understood during their developmental years. There are two emotions felt while reading: compassion for the man whose childhood experiences broke your heart, enmity as he describes his cold calculating plan of murder. Well done.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. P. Watt on March 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By his own admission, Chapman was a self-professed nobody, upset with his lot in life, and was looking to lash out at somebody famous. By killing Lennon, Chapman attained status as somebody (namely, "the guy who killed John Lennon"). In an odd way, reading this book only feeds into the attention Chapman craves. I wouldn't say this book is necessarily "pro-Chapman". Using Chapmans own words via interviews and in print form, the material within the book portrays Chapman (to me) to be every inch of the nobody he felt himself to be. There's really no deeper explanation to be found behind the assassination of John Lennon and the reasons why it happened are made abundantly clear; Chapman was exactly what he thought of himself as. A loser. The in-depth probings of the voices inside his head that drove him to do it just illustrate that point in detail, and after reading the book I felt that I was (in an odd way) just giving Chapman a degree of satisfaction, as he was and is little more than a child in a man's body content with receiving negative attention rather than none at all.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Perry Aspinall on August 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Why has this book not been reprinted? Parole December, 2000? Jones' book recorded death threats towards Mark Chapman. Where is he today? Why is there no press coverage of his impending release. Would you like to live next door to this man? Well in less than a year that will be a possibility. My searches on the web have so far come up fruitless. Anyway, the book appeared to be objective and was an interesting read for anyone who was a fan.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cwn_Annwn on March 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Let Me Take You Down gets inside the head of Mark David Chapman. The author did hours upon hours of interviews with him at Attica prison in New York. At times it reads like a self analytical bad acid trip from Chapman. On one hand I can accept that what is presented in this book is reasonably accurate for how Chapman remembers things I personally believe that Chapman was probably under some sort of "Manchurian candidate" mind control when he killed Lennon.

There are many questions about Chapmans background and much that fits the protocol of how these Manchurian candidates are created. From mysterious figures visiting Chapman at random times, to his work for the YMCA, which is known to often be used as a front for the CIA, his stays in various mental hospitals, to him being globetrotted around the world to some very off the wall locations by the YMCA when he was just a very average to mediocre college kid/dime a dozen employee. He also spent time working at a military base as well as after becoming a patient at a mental he was soon thereafter hired as an employee, which is unheard of that a mental hospital would do something like that. Theres just too much that doesn't add up about Chapman as well as what was going on at the time with Lennon being monitored and harassed by the FBI for me to not view the Lennon murder as being very fishy. You also have a lot of wacky theories out there about the Lennon murder which is a common tactic to discredit the idea that all is not right with the official version. For example there is actually a book written that claims Stephen King killed John Lennon!
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