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.
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.
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