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December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died (Book) Hardcover – November 1, 2010
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*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.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a day in the life of then many people that were associated during his last days including John.
It is written in a tell tale style and very detailed with many antidotes. No false information here as it was all first hand. A very fast read (one night) and I wanted more.
Very well done!
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. First with the Plastic Ono Band and then with self titled albums, Lennon composes some of the seventies most influential music, all the while still trying to "find" and define himself personally as he matures. The literary result is a marvelous and seamless narrative that takes the past and gives an ethereal context to that day and its aftermath.
Chapman's psychosis is also clearly on display here as Greenberg has clearly done his due diligence and presents a fair and compassionate account of Chapman who's personae is riddled with self doubt and destructive tendencies all the while being harbored by his ever present copy of "Catcher In The Rye". Chapman then is shown sliding (some would say becomes uncovered) ever so surely into the maniacal personality that, in the end, reveals the true danger that he possessed all along and one that he brought to bear on that fateful night.
I would say that the only critique of this work that I can muster is that Greenberg's post assassination coverage of the grief extolled by all Lennon's intimates is, at times, schmaltzy and a bit overdone. This is especially true when explaining Paul McCartney's "Drag, isn't it?" remarks in the immediate aftermath of Lennon's death.
All told though, Greenberg is able to take a clear veneration of the Beatles and Lennon, in particular, and turn it into an excellent investigative account that doesn't lose the literary touch that great books need. I would definitely recommend this to all readers.