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The John Lennon Letters Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

4.7 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

I read it from cover to cover and will probably give it as a Christmas present. -- Jarvis Cocker THE GUARDIAN The triumph of these 200 or so letters is that they are not just about John and Mimi, or John and The Beatles, or John and Yoko. they are all of that but, within the framework editor Hunter Davies has given them, they're about a time and place, and Lennon's role within it. -- Arifa Akbar THE INDEPENDENT A labour of love -- Simon Mayo R2 SIMON MAYO Hunter Davies, the man who wrote the official 1960s biograph of The Beatles, releases The John Lennon Letters today, a collection of nearly 300 quirky letters and postcards sent by Lennon to his family and friends, giving an insight into his life and humour. EVENING STANDARD A treasure trove -- Pat Kenny RTE RADIO 'TODAY WITH PAT KENNY' Correspondence with estranged family is especially touching in later years TIME OUT The detective work in sourcing the material was carried out by Beatles biographer Hunter Davies. As Yoko Ono writes in a foreword, he has done well. BLOOMBERG NEWS Davies was contacted by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, to write the only authorised pre-Yoko Beatles biography (first published in 1968), so to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of Lennon's correspondence (to which Ono own the copyright) more than 40 years later is a diplomatic coup upon which Kofi Annan might look with envy. -- Ben Thompson SUNDAY TELEGRAPH Though most of the letters are slapdash and artless in themselves, they have a curiously moving cumulative effect when taken as a whole. -- Craig Brown MAIL ON SUNDAY The book exudes beauty in an all-white hardbound book. The paper is especially high quality and heavy. The letters are in color, and very well-copied. I highly recommend this book for Lennon fans who want more than surface information; the fan who studies and researches Lennon's life, and want to understand his history. For those who care to really digest it, they will learn a great deal. -- Shelley Germeaux IRISH EXAMINER Long years of research and collection have enabled Davies to compile this revealing archive of notes, doodles, pranks, protests and heartfelt confessions from the Liverpool art-school kid who became an icon of the 20th century. i NEWSPAPER Much of Lennon's correspondence is published here for the first time. Beatlemaniacs will no doubt home in on his sometimes violent exchanges with Paul McCartney in the 1970s, but equally interesting are the more quotidian entries, like grocery lists, homemade Christmas cards and curiously loopy responses to fan mail. INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE While his public expression is that of a quick-change artiste, the private correspondence is constant. His handwriting is that of an intelligent being. He is often charming, which is maybe surprising. He evinces a generosity of spirit in letters to strangers. He is loyal to his often very odd relations and his ne'er-do-well father. His jocular punning and externally adolescent verbal extravagance are recurrent. -- Jonathan Meades EVENING STANDARD It looks beautiful: the cover is 'Imagine' - white, the pages carefully designed to weave Hunter Davies's commentary around both the letters themselves and the transcripts. THE SPECTATOR More than 200 examples are published (set out in chronological order so the story builds), painstakingly tracked down or borrowed back from those who'd paid handsomely to own them, all full of glorious turns of phrase and, occasionally, in mangled language. SAGA What is fundamental, however, is the sheer quality of the production, which immediately makes the book a desirable piece of Beatles memorabilia to be treasured. And, once you dismiss the nonsense items, the overall impact remains tremendous, especially the fact that Lennon is thrown off that loner pedestal we thought he inhabited. He is poignantly shown to be a warm, family man, forever concerned about keeping in touch with those he loved as he grappled with significant world issues that troubled him. -- Gerald Isaaman CAMDEN NEW JOURNAL Read as a whole, the book follows his path as an exuberant, cocky young Liverpool musician with the world at his feet who experiences an astonishing ascent to global fame. We read his thoughts on his bed-ins for peace, his encounters with the Maharishi, and his love for Yoko, and end up with the multi-millionaire holed up in his Berkshire mansion, then in an apartment in New York's Dakota, looking after his business interests, lying low, reading books, caring for his second son, Sean, writing when the mood seized him. SUNDAY HERALD GLASGOW Individually they don't tell us a whole lot, but gathered together these missives add hugely to our understanding of what was going on in Lennon's head HOT PRESS (Ireland) Hunter Davies, who knew Lennon well and wrote the Beatles' official biography in 1968, has certainly done a superb job of sourcing this material from all over the world. It is beautifully presented, with striking photographs and colour facsimiles of the original texts as well as lengthy annotations. SUNDAY BUSINESS POST(Ireland) Lennon's scribbles tell the story of a boy blessed with genius; his emotional, and cultural and political awakenings are captured in his writings. WOMAN'S WAY (Ireland) The fact that Hunter Davies was asked by The Times to write an obituary for each of The Beatles in 1967, is clear proof that he knows his subject well. In that same year he first met Yoko Ono who has given her blessing to this remarkable project. Davies has done an amazing job tracking down nearly 300 of Lennon's letters, notes and postcards to fans, friends, lovers, and even his laundry. He has then put each missive in a clear personal and historical context. GOOD BOOK GUIDE Fascinating glimpses into an unguarded mind at work. RECORD COLLECTOR I've often wondered and shuddered at the prospect of having one's personal letters, scribble, photos, etc. eventually published for all to see. How embarrassing. But how great that Lennon's stuff, spanning from childhood to death, have appeared here. HUFFINGTON POST Nearly 300 are collected and annotated by Beatles biographer Hunter Davies here, and, as most of the originals are reproduced, we can also see the surrealistically silly drawings and graphics he often added in the margins. -- Richie Unterberger MOJO Davies has done an amazing job tracking down nearly 300 of John Lennon's letters, notes and postcards to fans, friends, lovers, and even his laundry. He has then put each missive in a clear personal and historical context. Good Book Guide --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company; Unabridged edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619692457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619692459
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,134,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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