- Hardcover: 864 pages
- Publisher: Ecco; 1 edition (October 28, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006075401X
- ISBN-13: 978-0060754013
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 413 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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John Lennon: The Life Hardcover – October 28, 2008
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Critics generally praised John Lennon: The Life, though they often seemed shocked at how much hate and violence could be found in one of the 20th century's most famous proponents of peace and love. Some were also taken aback by the book's length—over 800 pages for a figure who famously lived only to age 40. But most reviewers concluded that the bulk of this biography was appropriate, not only because Norman is the first author to investigate Lennon in such detail but because his sense for which details are interesting (a well-developed portrayal of the young Lennon's Liverpool) and which are not (Beatles ephemera) keeps the book moving at a steady pace.
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC
“[A] haunting, mammoth, terrific piece of work.” (New York Times Book Review)
“It’s this level of detail that makes Norman’s 822 pages such compulsive reading.” (Bloomberg News)
“[Norman] sharpens what we know about Lennon at just about every turn…devotees will relish the new information, while casual readers will find a familiar story told more truly than ever before.” (Rolling Stone)
“[Norman’s] definitive biography draws impressively on exclusive and extensive interviews with Yoko Ono and, for the first time on the record, their son Sean…densely detailed, intricately woven and elegantly told, John Lennon: The Life neither condemns nor condones, nor does it consecrate its subject. (USA Today)
“The bad news is that John Lennon: The Life is so rich and enveloping that it demands to be read…it’s a clear-eyed and compassionate study of a man...Grade: A-.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Powerful and heartfelt.” (Washington Post Book World)
Top customer reviews
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Then why giving only three stars?
Well, Philip Norman, the author, is famous for diminishing the role of Paul McCartney in the Beatles. He said that John was three quarters of the Beatles - which is very unfair to Paul, George and Ringo. Throughout the book he puts plenty of quite derrogatory remartks to Paul that are totally uncalled for. He has also included quite a few gossip remarks. One example is suggesting that Stu Sutcliff's death could have been caused by a fight with John.That is based on a remark from a Stu's relative, years after his death, which is not confirmed by Paul, Astrid, or any of the other guys. It is there just to include a polemic topic.
Throughout the book he keeps suggesting a homo affective relation between John and Stu, that do not resonate with any of John's, Paul's, Astrid or anybody else's accounts.
He does not provide much detail or comments on the music either. One particularly silly comment, describing Abbey Road, is saying that Oh! Darling is a particularly unmemorable song (once again to downplay Paul). Well the proof that he is wrong is someone who was born after The Beatles disbanded (me) still be hearing and enjoying that very song, right? It is memorable that long afterwards.
At this point you're probably asking why I am still giving it three stars, right? There is some good reasons for that. The author does a good job in portraying a scenario of all John's life phases and what was happening in England and in the world. He provides lots of details and facts.
My criticism is that you need to take everything with a grain of salt. Don't have this book as your only source of information. Read other stuff from John and about him, to have a more balanced view.
And don't listen to the author when he writes about Paul. Too much unjustified bickering. John was certainly my favourite Beatle, but I believe that the true power of The Beatles was that those FOUR guys challenged themselves to put out the world's best music ever. So many years passed and I still listen to them constantly.
Read the book, but beware of the author bias.
And I suppose the big question is still; Who broke up the Beatles? Clearly the death of Brian Epstein was a factor but it also seems clear John was determined to leave and used Yoko as a wedge to make that happen. it was just never going to work having her in the studio and the idea of her providing input on the music made it worse. a damn shame but they left behind a treasure trove. John's death is still one of the seminal moments in my life. We know from Double Fantasy that there was much more to come.
Most recent customer reviews
to glimpse his genius. He is now, by far my favorite Beatle...Read more