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Mass Market Paperback The Lives of John Lennon Book

ISBN: 0553280570

ISBN13: 9780553280579

The Lives of John Lennon

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Book Overview

The result of six years of research and some 1,200 interviews, this book takes fans deep into Lennon's secretive world, from his traumatic childhood to his Beatles days to his hidden life with Yoko... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Greatest Book on John Lennon

The original publication of _The Lives of John Lennon_ in 1988 was accompanied by hysteria. Much of it emanated from Yoko Ono, who likened Goldman's book to "being punched in the face." Yoko is a close friend of Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine, which duly ran an article attempting to discredit Goldman's book. Some of Lennon's fans took this behavior in and assumed that _The Lives of John Lennon_ was forbidden; they would not read it because doing so would make them naughty. Now, however, the dust has settled, and _The Lives of John Lennon_ holds up beautifully. Each contention of Goldman's which was alleged to be outrageous in 1988 stands. Remember the ridiculous panic over Goldman's portrait of Lennon as a heavy drug user? That drug use has now been acknowledged by just about everyone who knew Lennon, including Ono and Lennon's first wife, Cynthia Powell. The same is true about Goldman's claims about Lennon's tendency towards violence (a tendency Lennon himself owned up to in his Playboy interview). And, while Ono and others acted agitated over Goldman's depiction of Lennon as bisexual, Ono herself is found to have said she considered John Lennon a "closet fag" in a 1981 interview. (Why, then, was Ono so upset by the appearance of Goldman's book? Because of what it reveals about her.) It will be clear to anyone who approaches Goldman's book with a fair mind that the outrage its publication originally sparked was unjustified. _The Lives of John Lennon_ is not dishonest or flawed in any way. A perusal at his "Sources" section reveals his awesome thoroghness. Goldman bravely explored areas of Lennon's and Ono's lives that others shied away from out of deference to Ono, a worshipful attitude towards Lennon, and a reluctance to figure things out. Albert Goldman was the most fearless and thorough writer to approach this subject. _The Lives of John Lennon_ might be overwhelming to the infantile fans who deify Lennon, but for those with genuine interest in Lennon, it is indispensable.

Ignore Yoko's self-serving warnings and give this book a chance.

For many years I refused to read this book because I did not want to blot or tarnish, with content that had been repeatedly described as putrid, hostile, slanderous, character-damaging dreck, my image of John Lennon. After finding a hardcover in mint condition for only five bucks, however, I couldn't resist, and I'm glad I buckled. First off, like me, anyone wanting to read the book probably loves John so much that nothing anyone could ever say about him would really sully or ruin their affection for the man. Secondly, I realized quickly why Yoko Ono had so fervently condemned this book as I reached the second half. Overall, Goldman says nothing horribly negative about John (yes, he's described as neurotic and slightly crazy, but didn't we always know that about John, and wasn't that part of his appeal?) The person Goldman painstakingly describes as evil is Yoko. She comes across as satanic in nature, and while I was initially hesitant to accept this harsh assessment of her, too many other books, such as Pete Shotton's and Tony Bramwell's, paint a similar portrait for Goldman to be completely wrong. For instance, Goldman is the only writer to reveal that no record exists of the phone calls Yoko Ono famously and dramatically claims to have made to Paul and Mimi the night John died. An abundance of facts of this nature are to be found in the book. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I recommend you read it. The experience made me realize that my love for John is impenetrable, and if yours is too, then I recommend you check this book out. Ask yourself, who is the person who has done the most campaigning to destroy this book? The answer is the woman about whom Goldman does a good deal to expose. (As a final asterisk, I meant to only give this a four star review, but I edited the review so many times that I ultimately hit the wrong button)

This book gives the grown up version of John Lennon...

...And not the fairy tale moptop version, which makes it the best book written on Lennon. The best book written on the Beatles is the now out of print: "The Love You Make - An Insiders Story of the Beatles" by Peter Brown. Brown was Brian Epstein's business manager, right hand man, and confidant. Many of the facts reported as fiction by Albert Goldman's critics are corroborated in Brown's book.Seperating the myth from reality about John Lennon should not make anyone less of a Beatles or a John Lennon fan. Anyone who grew up with a more than casual interest in Lennon knew that he was given to violent episodes and that his mantras: "all we're tryin' to do is get us some peace"; "all you need is love"; et al; was Lennon's bit on staying relevant with the counter culture of the 60's.Goldman's revealing of Lennon's inner demons does not diminish his genius. It rather brings him down to the level of human understanding.

A tomcat who lost five of his lives...

I wasn't going to review this book, but I am shocked at the immature and personal reader reviews so far. Why pick on Goldman? I read this book cover-to-cover in one night several years ago, and it never even occurred to me to hate the author. Whether or not all of the tackier details are true, this is biography of the highest order- we learn who Lennon was in each of his "lives" , in painstaking detail. Writers don't go to that much trouble with a subject they don't like. Goldman not only nails each of Lennon's masks, he gives a spot-on analysis for why he need ed them... and it wasn't just his hypocricy. Far from resembling a tabloid, The Lives of John Lennon is similar to Alice Miller's Thou Shall Not Be Aware in the absolutely subjective view of history through one person's wonderful and horrible life. This book will be enjoyed by ANYONE who is interested in the varieties of human emotion, music business, Jungian psychology and modern history. It will be rejected by anyone who takes criticsm of any kind as an attack.I am not a Beatle's fan ( although my mother was, and I love Primal Scream),but my I feel more, not less, for John Lennon after reading this book. If your image of your loved ones is so fragile that you reject them for being human, well, I refer you to the first chapters of Lennon's life. Oh, and incidentally, Albert Goldman is the only person I have ever heard of who made sense of Lennon's attraction to Yoko.

By far the best biography ever written of John Lennon

This book has been unfairly maligned ever since it was published. This hostility says a lot more about the childishness of the average rock fan than it does about Goldman's work. Goldman has written a work of the highest and deepest biography. It does not pretend to be a hagiography, nor a work of music criticism. Anyone with a sincere interest in John Lennon's life as he lived it will be riveted by Goldman's revlations. To begin with, he gives us much more of Lennon's childhood than was previously known -- here's John's mother and stepmother and father and half-brothers and -sisters -- and he uses this information to fashion a compelling analysis of John's personality and character, attributes that defined him for the rest of his life. He's also tremendously insightful about Yoko Ono, Brian Epstein, Phil Spector, May Pang, Stu Sutcliffe and Allen Klein, all of whom were key in John's life. Likewise, Goldman opens up the world of the business of the Beatles and makes it interesting. The portrait of John Lennon that emerges after 700 pages is by far the most nuanced, intelligent and, yes, sympathetic portrait that has been, or ever will be written of Lennon. It will only disappoint those who insist that biographies of the great man must paint him as a saint.
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