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Books  >>  Biography

Philip Norman

John Lennon

Philip Norman John Lennon The Life
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Main description:

For more than a quarter century, Philip Norman's internationally bestselling Shout! has been unchallenged as the definitive biography of the Beatles. Now, at last, Norman turns his formidable talent to the Beatle for whom belonging to the world's most beloved pop group was never enough. Drawing on pre-viously untapped sources, and with unprecedented access to all the major characters, here is the comprehensive and most revealing portrait of John Lennon that is ever likely to be published.

This masterly biography takes a fresh and penetrating look at every aspect of Lennon's much-chronicled life, including the songs that have turned him, posthumously, into a near–secular saint. In three years of research, Norman has turned up an extra-ordinary amount of new information about even the best-known episodes of Lennon folklore—his upbringing by his strict Aunt Mimi; his allegedly wasted school and student days; the evolution of his peerless creative partnership with Paul McCartney; his Beatle-busting love affair with a Japanese performance artist; his forays into painting and literature; his experiments with Transcendental Meditation, primal scream therapy, and drugs. The book's numerous key informants and interviewees include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir George Martin, Sean Lennon—whose moving reminiscence reveals his father as never before—and Yoko Ono, who speaks with sometimes shocking candor about the inner workings of her marriage to John.

Honest and unflinching, as John himself would wish, Norman gives us the whole man in all his endless contradictions—tough and cynical, hilariously funny but also naive, vulnerable and insecure—and reveals how the mother who gave him away as a toddler haunted his mind and his music for the rest of his days.

Review quote:

“[A] haunting, mammoth, terrific piece of work.”

Review quote:

“[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.

Review quote:

“[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.”

Review quote:

“It’s this level of detail that makes Norman’s 822 pages such compulsive reading.”

Review quote:

“Powerful and heartfelt.”

Review quote:

“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-.”

Short description/annotation:

Phillip Norman, whose 1981 classic Shout! is considered the definitive biography of The Beatles, returns with John Lennon: The Life. This New York Times bestseller is an intimate look at the troubled genius who—along with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr—changed the shape and sound of popular music forever. From his early Liverpool days and heartbreaking childhood tragedies through the heady roller-coaster ride that was The Beatles and far beyond—his prolific post-“Fab Four” career, his turbulent marriage to Yoko Ono, his peace crusade, and his shocking death on the New York City streets—John Lennon: The Life is a remarkably fair and honest, utterly enthralling study of an achingly human rock legend.


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