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John Lennon: The Life Paperback – September 8, 2009
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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)
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Top Customer Reviews
Philip Norman has tackled one of the most difficult subjects for a biography because Lennon's life was well covered by the press and fostered a lot of myths himself. With access to Yoko Ono, Freddie Lennon's biography (and unpublished papers), Sean Lennon, Paul McCartney (via email) and others, Norman has prepared a biography that is fair balanced and presents his contradictory character thorughout his life--his bravado as well as his insecurities (of which there were many).
Fans that have read other Beatles books or Lennon biographies should be aware that the bulk of the book covers Lennon's pre-Beatles life and his time in the band throughout most of the 800 plus pages of the book. Norman does revisit familiar ground simply because they are essential events and there are those that haven't read ANY books on Lennon but he also introduces a lot of new information as well.
There are a few flaws because we are, after all, only human.Read more ›
But fortunately, Philip Norman is making a valiant effort to show, if not all of John Lennon's facets, then as many of them as possible. Having explored the Beatles and their impact on a generation, Norman narrows his focus down to "John Lennon: The Life" -- and he does a superb job unearthing the many details, relationships and differing faces of this much-lamented rock star. We'll never get a John Lennon autobiography, but Norman does a pretty good job of getting inside his shaggy head.
John Lennon was born into an incredibly stormy marriage (which broke up soon after) and raised by his loving, strict Aunt Mimi, though he was something of a hellraising trickster as a child. The one blot: the tragic, shocking death of his mother Julia.
Of course, everyone knows what happened later -- after a brief stint at art school, Lennon became part of a band with an ever-shifting name, and started working on pop songs alongside Paul McCartney. Though briefly devastated by the death of a bandmate, Lennon quickly rose to fame and fortune when the renamed Beatles became not just a hit band, but a new way of life for the youth of Britain, and then the entire world. Hit album after hit album poured from the Beatles, along with the usual rock-star intake of drugs, sex and occasional PR disasters.
But Lennon's interests began to stray in more spiritual directions, and as his marriage to the sweet-natured Cynthia fell apart, he met and fell in love with eccentric Japanese artist Yoko Ono.Read more ›
The artist Norman depicts has a lot in common with the popular description of a rockstar. The poet who sang about love never missed a chance to cheat on his women, and the man who championed brotherhood and neighborly living often strong-armed and bullied his friends. Norman shows us that he never let people forget that he was John Lennon and they weren't.
His book, however, is not a hatchet-job. Intertwined with his attempts to revise the pedestalized legacy of Lennon is a thorough, faithful account of the intimate and defining moments of a life that led to a canon of music unequaled in artistic merit and inspiration. Norman's intent was to show his readers both the sour and the sweet.
He achieves his goal in part with impressive, exclusive interaction with Yoko One, Paul McCartney, Producer George Martin and others. To those interviews, Norman adds research and his own conjecture and formulates theories about Lennon's mother's death and (what is sure to be the focus of much of this book's publicity) questions about whether Lennon harbored any homosexual tendencies/curiosities.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I finished Paul McCartney by Philip Norman, I decided that I needed to read Lennon's story from the same author. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Julie E.
Plenty of detail on John's life. I am a long time Beatles fan, but still learned a lot. There is a lot of information.
Then why giving only three stars? Read more
I lived through the Beatles era and have gained a much greater understanding of the talent, the issues, and mostly John.Published 1 month ago by slbenedon
This guy upset Paul McCartney with his 1st book about The Beatles and in oder to get Paul's green light & cooperation on new book about him he did a hatchet job on John so he can... Read morePublished 1 month ago by John Molinari
This has to be one of the most in depth biographies I have ever read. From pre-birth to his untimely death, there isn't a detail missing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bonni
So much detail, humanity, and reality! I felt like a bystander in the entire story. This book gave me an insight and new take on Lennon. He was just as human as the rest of us. Read morePublished 2 months ago by S. H. Daia
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this well written biography of John Lennon. The book provides insight into his upbringing and events that shaped his life and influenced the music he... Read morePublished 2 months ago by KBK
How a bio on the life of John Lennon can have NO photos of The Beatles or John & Yoko is beyond me. Two chapters in can't really tell the overall quality of the book but it does... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Pastor Joe