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The John Lennon Letters Hardcover – October 9, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Davies] has done a sensitive and scrupulous job collecting and annotating Lennon's letters, and the book is beautifully designed." -- Vanity Fair

"A massive deposit of freshly excavated notes, screeds, asides and howls, each lavishly reproduced and carefully annotated, 'Letters' is the most intimate book ever published about Lennon. In its revelation of the man's psychology, it far surpasses all previous accounts by wives, lovers, half-siblings, ex-aides and even the best biographers." -- James Rosen, The Washington Post

"... Lennon's collected letters -- 285 of them, richly contextualized and handsomely presented... -- make for fascinating reading." -- The New York Observer

"... a must-read for Beatles fans." -- Glamour

An "illuminating volume that shows a different, unguarded side of the man." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Fans will lap it up." -- Bloomberg

"This book makes it clear, more than ever, how lamentable it is that we lost Lennon the man." -- Maclean's

"The letters offer an opportunity to see Lennon less as icon than as human being." -- David Ulin, Los Angeles Times' Jacket Copy

About the Author

John Lennon was born in Liverpool in 1940. A singer, songwriter, and musician, he was one of the cofounders of The Beatles. He died in 1980.

Hunter Davies is the author of over 40 books and has written for The Guardian (London), New Statesman, and The Sunday Times (London). He is married to the novelist and biographer Margaret Forster and they live in London.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316200806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316200806
  • ASIN: 0316200808
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first thing you will notice is how beautifully this book is designed. Great thought was put into the paper which has a wonderful thick and rich feel, to the tones of the overall color scheme(white and ivories) to the actual letterpress look of the typography, it's a package that had careful attention paid to it. The actual book is revelatory in that it actually gives the innermost thoughts of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. John was honest and was never afraid to say what he was feeling at the time, those feelings changed and shifted as he moved through the events of his life. The letters are funny, cruel, witty, romantic, bitter, loving, happy, sad, nasty, contrite and brutal. They are also peppered with his simple yet beautiful Thurberesque drawings and doodles. Admittedly I am an unabashed Lennon fan, this collection is a gift, allowing a glimpse into this complicated artist and icon's thoughts, but more importantly his humanity.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
WOW. Another birthday present from Yoko, via Hunter Davies. John's handwritten letters, reproduced with his little cartoons and all, transcribed with plenty of context. Something old, but which is new for all of John's many fans worldwide. All you need is this book as you remember John on his birthday October 9th. Don't hesitate - this is beautiful (and essential for collectors).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
as long as i have been a BEATLES fan, there have been books , books and books written about them, and John. This book was written BY John, and i enjoyed every word. For someone who was just a fan of the music, let this one pass.....but if you love John, this is the book for you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's the small artifacts of everyday life which reveal so much about us - the notes, letters, photos, lists, all capture our daily moods, thoughts, big events & small moments. Some are intimate; others are mundane, but they all have the capacity to shed light on who we are.

Collected here are John Lennon's letters, postcards and other ephemera; each pictured with a transcription (in case you can't read his handwriting) and well-written text to give context to each item. They show John's humor, kindness, friendship and creativity, as well as his darker sides - frustration, anger, and sadness.

The book is beautifully produced - 392 pages, on heavyweight, high-quality paper, with color (and a few black & white) reproductions of the letters and other items, a full index, a brief foreword by Yoko, and an introduction by the editor, Hunter Davies. The contents are gathered into 23 chapters, each detailing a different period of John's life, or topic. Just a few of these are - for example - Early Years (childhood); Hamburg; Beatlemania; India; Apple Dramas, Problems with Paul; Double Fantasy. Many of the pieces are embellished with John's drawings.

The items in The John Lennon Letters were obviously collected, considered, and written about with great care; Hunter Davies has done a great job in curating this collection. I'm always wary of writing five-star reviews (there's usually some improvement that could have been made), but you know there's really nothing here that I can find fault with.

There's plenty here to see, read, and reflect on, and it all combines to paint a deeply personal portrait of the man, John Lennon. As a longtime Beatles fan, I've gotten great enjoyment out of this book and the glimpses it offers into John and his relationships with others. Anyone interested in John, the Beatles, or their history should find this book engrossing and a pleasure to delve into.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love it! Love it! Love it! Only down-side is it hits you right in the heart what a terrible loss his death is to the world.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
I like millions of 1.0 Beatle fans have been consuming Lennon and Fab 4 products in various forms for what seems like my entire life. Vinyl. cassettes. bootlegs. Mp3s, DVD, the anthologies-the books- from Please Please Me on a 45 rpm disc to LOVE at The Mirage and everything in between-all of it. Just when you thought you knew it all ...something like The John Lennon letters comes along. I've been glued to this book since Santa dropped it off
( how does he know me so well?) - what an incredible piece of work- This book, as well as John's life of intimate correspondence. Amazing what an incredible communicator Lennon was. The books brilliant layout sets up each letter giving every shred of this amazing collection context, perspective and meaning. I know John better for having read this book - and I read the hard cover version - the first paper book I've read in ages ( my last 50 titles consumed on kindle for iPad ) I can't imagine another pop star of Johns stature being a letter writer- it's so analog-so old fashioned. I couldn't imagine Elvis or any pop star doing this from the pampered comfort of rock stardom.
John's heart and personality are in full view. The witty, brilliant, caustic, severe, dreamer, husband, radical and ultimately very human and real man this great artist was. From bitch slapping Todd Rundgren with a couple well placed barbs, to his way of saying NO to EMI and Warner Bros attempts to sign him to their labels in his " free agent years" and especially the communications with dear friends and family- John Lennon comes alive in this fabulous book. The ending, of course had me in tears as he, of course, even found a moment to autograph an LP sleeve for the sad pitiful boy from Hawaii waiting outside his residence to do him harm.
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