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BOOK OF THE MONTH
FEAR OF LIONS
Amita Kanekar
399

On a hot April morning in 1673, two young Mughal nobles, Shamsher and his sister...(+)

Author Spotlight

Michael Wolff is the author of Fire and Fury, the number-one Sunday ...(+)

  Michael Wolff  
 
 
 
The John Lennon Letters
John Lennon

Classification : Music
Pub Date : Oct 01, 2012
Imprint : Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Page Extent : 400
Binding : HB
ISBN : 9780297866343
Price : 1,350

About the book

John Lennon was a writer as well as a musician. It was entirely natural for him to put pen to paper whenever he had an idea, a thought, a reaction or a desire to communicate.



He lived - and died - in an age before emails and texts. Pen and ink was what he turned to. John wrote letters and postcards all of his life; to his friends, family, strangers, newspapers, organisations, lawyers and the laundry - most of which were funny, informative, campaigning, wise, mad, poetic, anguished and sometimes heartbreaking. For the first time, John's widow, Yoko Ono, has given permission to publish a collection of his letters. The Editor is the Beatles' official biographer, Hunter Davies, who knew John well.



John's letters are in a way something of a mystery - where are they all? Over the years many have come up at auction, then sold to dealers and collectors. Or they have been kept by the recipients, locked up safely. It has been a wonderful piece of detective work tracing many of these 250 letters, postcards and notes, which are arranged in chronological order, so that a narrative builds up, reflecting John's life. It will be visual - in a sense that many of the letters are reproduced as they were, in his handwriting or typing, plus the odd cartoon or doodle. THE JOHN LENNON LETTERS is fundamentally a book to read and study, providing a unique insight into the mind of one of the great figures of our times.


Read Review   Want to write a review?
Fascinating glimpses into an unguarded mind at work
The fact that Hunter Davies was asked by The Times to write an obituary for each of The Beatles in 1967, is clear proof that he knows his subject well. In that same year he first met Yoko Ono who has given her blessing to this remarkable project. Davies has done an amazing job tracking down nearly 300 of Lennon's letters, notes and postcards to fans, friends, lovers, and even his laundry. He has then put each missive in a clear personal and historical context
Lennon's scribbles tell the story of a boy blessed with genius; his emotional, and cultural and political awakenings are captured in his writings
Hunter Davies, who knew Lennon well and wrote the Beatles' official biography in 1968, has certainly done a superb job of sourcing this material from all over the world. It is beautifully presented, with striking photographs and colour facsimiles of the original texts as well as lengthy annotations
Individually they don't tell us a whole lot, but gathered together these missives add hugely to our understanding of what was going on in Lennon's head>
Read as a whole, the book follows his path as an exuberant, cocky young Liverpool musician with the world at his feet who experiences an astonishing ascent to global fame. We read his thoughts on his bed-ins for peace, his encounters with the Maharishi, and his love for Yoko, and end up with the multi-millionaire holed up in his Berkshire mansion, then in an apartment in New York's Dakota, looking after his business interests, lying low, reading books, caring for his second son, Sean, writing when the mood seized him
More than 200 examples are published (set out in chronological order so the story builds), painstakingly tracked down or borrowed back from those who'd paid handsomely to own them, all full of glorious turns of phrase and, occasionally, in mangled language
It looks beautiful: the cover is 'Imagine' - white, the pages carefully designed to weave Hunter Davies's commentary around both the letters themselves and the transcripts
While his public expression is that of a quick-change artiste, the private correspondence is constant. His handwriting is that of an intelligent being. He is often charming, which is maybe surprising. He evinces a generosity of spirit in letters to strangers. He is loyal to his often very odd relations and his ne'er-do-well father. His jocular punning and externally adolescent verbal extravagance are recurrent
Much of Lennon's correspondence is published here for the first time. Beatlemaniacs will no doubt home in on his sometimes violent exchanges with Paul McCartney in the 1970s, but equally interesting are the more quotidian entries, like grocery lists, homemade Christmas cards and curiously loopy responses to fan mail
The book exudes beauty in an all-white hardbound book. The paper is especially high quality and heavy. The letters are in color, and very well-copied. I highly recommend this book for Lennon fans who want more than surface information; the fan who studies and researches Lennon's life, and want to understand his history. For those who care to really digest it, they will learn a great deal
Davies was contacted by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, to write the only authorised pre-Yoko Beatles biography (first published in 1968), so to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of Lennon's correspondence (to which Ono own the copyright) more than 40 years later is a diplomatic coup upon which Kofi Annan might look with envy
The triumph of these 200 or so letters is that they are not just about John and Mimi, or John and The Beatles, or John and Yoko. they are all of that but, within the framework editor Hunter Davies has given them, they're about a time and place, and Lennon's role within it
The fact that Hunter Davies was asked by The Times to write an obituary for each of The Beatles in 1967, is clear proof that he knows his subject well. In that same year he first met Yoko Ono who has given her blessing to this remarkable project. Davies has done an amazing job tracking down nearly 300 of Lennon's letters, notes and postcards to fans, friends, lovers, and even his laundry. He has then put each missive in a clear personal and historical context
Lennon's scribbles tell the story of a boy blessed with genius; his emotional, and cultural and political awakenings are captured in his writings
Hunter Davies, who knew Lennon well and wrote the Beatles' official biography in 1968, has certainly done a superb job of sourcing this material from all over the world. It is beautifully presented, with striking photographs and colour facsimiles of the original texts as well as lengthy annotations
Individually they don't tell us a whole lot, but gathered together these missives add hugely to our understanding of what was going on in Lennon's head>
Read as a whole, the book follows his path as an exuberant, cocky young Liverpool musician with the world at his feet who experiences an astonishing ascent to global fame. We read his thoughts on his bed-ins for peace, his encounters with the Maharishi, and his love for Yoko, and end up with the multi-millionaire holed up in his Berkshire mansion, then in an apartment in New York's Dakota, looking after his business interests, lying low, reading books, caring for his second son, Sean, writing when the mood seized him
More than 200 examples are published (set out in chronological order so the story builds), painstakingly tracked down or borrowed back from those who'd paid handsomely to own them, all full of glorious turns of phrase and, occasionally, in mangled language
It looks beautiful: the cover is 'Imagine' - white, the pages carefully designed to weave Hunter Davies's commentary around both the letters themselves and the transcripts
While his public expression is that of a quick-change artiste, the private correspondence is constant. His handwriting is that of an intelligent being. He is often charming, which is maybe surprising. He evinces a generosity of spirit in letters to strangers. He is loyal to his often very odd relations and his ne'er-do-well father. His jocular punning and externally adolescent verbal extravagance are recurrent
Much of Lennon's correspondence is published here for the first time. Beatlemaniacs will no doubt home in on his sometimes violent exchanges with Paul McCartney in the 1970s, but equally interesting are the more quotidian entries, like grocery lists, homemade Christmas cards and curiously loopy responses to fan mail
The book exudes beauty in an all-white hardbound book. The paper is especially high quality and heavy. The letters are in color, and very well-copied. I highly recommend this book for Lennon fans who want more than surface information; the fan who studies and researches Lennon's life, and want to understand his history. For those who care to really digest it, they will learn a great deal
Davies was contacted by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, to write the only authorised pre-Yoko Beatles biography (first published in 1968), so to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of Lennon's correspondence (to which Ono own the copyright) more than 40 years later is a diplomatic coup upon which Kofi Annan might look with envy
The triumph of these 200 or so letters is that they are not just about John and Mimi, or John and The Beatles, or John and Yoko. they are all of that but, within the framework editor Hunter Davies has given them, they're about a time and place, and Lennon's role within it
Lennon's scribbles tell the story of a boy blessed with genius; his emotional, and cultural and political awakenings are captured in his writings
Hunter Davies, who knew Lennon well and wrote the Beatles' official biography in 1968, has certainly done a superb job of sourcing this material from all over the world. It is beautifully presented, with striking photographs and colour facsimiles of the original texts as well as lengthy annotations
Individually they don't tell us a whole lot, but gathered together these missives add hugely to our understanding of what was going on in Lennon's head>
Read as a whole, the book follows his path as an exuberant, cocky young Liverpool musician with the world at his feet who experiences an astonishing ascent to global fame. We read his thoughts on his bed-ins for peace, his encounters with the Maharishi, and his love for Yoko, and end up with the multi-millionaire holed up in his Berkshire mansion, then in an apartment in New York's Dakota, looking after his business interests, lying low, reading books, caring for his second son, Sean, writing when the mood seized him
More than 200 examples are published (set out in chronological order so the story builds), painstakingly tracked down or borrowed back from those who'd paid handsomely to own them, all full of glorious turns of phrase and, occasionally, in mangled language
It looks beautiful: the cover is 'Imagine' - white, the pages carefully designed to weave Hunter Davies's commentary around both the letters themselves and the transcripts
While his public expression is that of a quick-change artiste, the private correspondence is constant. His handwriting is that of an intelligent being. He is often charming, which is maybe surprising. He evinces a generosity of spirit in letters to strangers. He is loyal to his often very odd relations and his ne'er-do-well father. His jocular punning and externally adolescent verbal extravagance are recurrent
Much of Lennon's correspondence is published here for the first time. Beatlemaniacs will no doubt home in on his sometimes violent exchanges with Paul McCartney in the 1970s, but equally interesting are the more quotidian entries, like grocery lists, homemade Christmas cards and curiously loopy responses to fan mail
The book exudes beauty in an all-white hardbound book. The paper is especially high quality and heavy. The letters are in color, and very well-copied. I highly recommend this book for Lennon fans who want more than surface information; the fan who studies and researches Lennon's life, and want to understand his history. For those who care to really digest it, they will learn a great deal
Davies was contacted by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, to write the only authorised pre-Yoko Beatles biography (first published in 1968), so to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of Lennon's correspondence (to which Ono own the copyright) more than 40 years later is a diplomatic coup upon which Kofi Annan might look with envy
The triumph of these 200 or so letters is that they are not just about John and Mimi, or John and The Beatles, or John and Yoko. they are all of that but, within the framework editor Hunter Davies has given them, they're about a time and place, and Lennon's role within it
Hunter Davies, who knew Lennon well and wrote the Beatles' official biography in 1968, has certainly done a superb job of sourcing this material from all over the world. It is beautifully presented, with striking photographs and colour facsimiles of the original texts as well as lengthy annotations
Individually they don't tell us a whole lot, but gathered together these missives add hugely to our understanding of what was going on in Lennon's head>
Read as a whole, the book follows his path as an exuberant, cocky young Liverpool musician with the world at his feet who experiences an astonishing ascent to global fame. We read his thoughts on his bed-ins for peace, his encounters with the Maharishi, and his love for Yoko, and end up with the multi-millionaire holed up in his Berkshire mansion, then in an apartment in New York's Dakota, looking after his business interests, lying low, reading books, caring for his second son, Sean, writing when the mood seized him
More than 200 examples are published (set out in chronological order so the story builds), painstakingly tracked down or borrowed back from those who'd paid handsomely to own them, all full of glorious turns of phrase and, occasionally, in mangled language
It looks beautiful: the cover is 'Imagine' - white, the pages carefully designed to weave Hunter Davies's commentary around both the letters themselves and the transcripts
While his public expression is that of a quick-change artiste, the private correspondence is constant. His handwriting is that of an intelligent being. He is often charming, which is maybe surprising. He evinces a generosity of spirit in letters to strangers. He is loyal to his often very odd relations and his ne'er-do-well father. His jocular punning and externally adolescent verbal extravagance are recurrent
Much of Lennon's correspondence is published here for the first time. Beatlemaniacs will no doubt home in on his sometimes violent exchanges with Paul McCartney in the 1970s, but equally interesting are the more quotidian entries, like grocery lists, homemade Christmas cards and curiously loopy responses to fan mail
The book exudes beauty in an all-white hardbound book. The paper is especially high quality and heavy. The letters are in color, and very well-copied. I highly recommend this book for Lennon fans who want more than surface information; the fan who studies and researches Lennon's life, and want to understand his history. For those who care to really digest it, they will learn a great deal
Davies was contacted by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, to write the only authorised pre-Yoko Beatles biography (first published in 1968), so to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of Lennon's correspondence (to which Ono own the copyright) more than 40 years later is a diplomatic coup upon which Kofi Annan might look with envy
The triumph of these 200 or so letters is that they are not just about John and Mimi, or John and The Beatles, or John and Yoko. they are all of that but, within the framework editor Hunter Davies has given them, they're about a time and place, and Lennon's role within it
Read as a whole, the book follows his path as an exuberant, cocky young Liverpool musician with the world at his feet who experiences an astonishing ascent to global fame. We read his thoughts on his bed-ins for peace, his encounters with the Maharishi, and his love for Yoko, and end up with the multi-millionaire holed up in his Berkshire mansion, then in an apartment in New York's Dakota, looking after his business interests, lying low, reading books, caring for his second son, Sean, writing when the mood seized him
More than 200 examples are published (set out in chronological order so the story builds), painstakingly tracked down or borrowed back from those who'd paid handsomely to own them, all full of glorious turns of phrase and, occasionally, in mangled language
It looks beautiful: the cover is 'Imagine' - white, the pages carefully designed to weave Hunter Davies's commentary around both the letters themselves and the transcripts
While his public expression is that of a quick-change artiste, the private correspondence is constant. His handwriting is that of an intelligent being. He is often charming, which is maybe surprising. He evinces a generosity of spirit in letters to strangers. He is loyal to his often very odd relations and his ne'er-do-well father. His jocular punning and externally adolescent verbal extravagance are recurrent
Much of Lennon's correspondence is published here for the first time. Beatlemaniacs will no doubt home in on his sometimes violent exchanges with Paul McCartney in the 1970s, but equally interesting are the more quotidian entries, like grocery lists, homemade Christmas cards and curiously loopy responses to fan mail
The book exudes beauty in an all-white hardbound book. The paper is especially high quality and heavy. The letters are in color, and very well-copied. I highly recommend this book for Lennon fans who want more than surface information; the fan who studies and researches Lennon's life, and want to understand his history. For those who care to really digest it, they will learn a great deal
Davies was contacted by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, to write the only authorised pre-Yoko Beatles biography (first published in 1968), so to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of Lennon's correspondence (to which Ono own the copyright) more than 40 years later is a diplomatic coup upon which Kofi Annan might look with envy
The triumph of these 200 or so letters is that they are not just about John and Mimi, or John and The Beatles, or John and Yoko. they are all of that but, within the framework editor Hunter Davies has given them, they're about a time and place, and Lennon's role within it
What is fundamental, however, is the sheer quality of the production, which immediately makes the book a desirable piece of Beatles memorabilia to be treasured. And, once you dismiss the nonsense items, the overall impact remains tremendous, especially the fact that Lennon is thrown off that loner pedestal we thought he inhabited. He is poignantly shown to be a warm, family man, forever concerned about keeping in touch with those he loved as he grappled with significant world issues that troubled him
More than 200 examples are published (set out in chronological order so the story builds), painstakingly tracked down or borrowed back from those who'd paid handsomely to own them, all full of glorious turns of phrase and, occasionally, in mangled language
It looks beautiful: the cover is 'Imagine' - white, the pages carefully designed to weave Hunter Davies's commentary around both the letters themselves and the transcripts
While his public expression is that of a quick-change artiste, the private correspondence is constant. His handwriting is that of an intelligent being. He is often charming, which is maybe surprising. He evinces a generosity of spirit in letters to strangers. He is loyal to his often very odd relations and his ne'er-do-well father. His jocular punning and externally adolescent verbal extravagance are recurrent
Much of Lennon's correspondence is published here for the first time. Beatlemaniacs will no doubt home in on his sometimes violent exchanges with Paul McCartney in the 1970s, but equally interesting are the more quotidian entries, like grocery lists, homemade Christmas cards and curiously loopy responses to fan mail
The book exudes beauty in an all-white hardbound book. The paper is especially high quality and heavy. The letters are in color, and very well-copied. I highly recommend this book for Lennon fans who want more than surface information; the fan who studies and researches Lennon's life, and want to understand his history. For those who care to really digest it, they will learn a great deal
Davies was contacted by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, to write the only authorised pre-Yoko Beatles biography (first published in 1968), so to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of Lennon's correspondence (to which Ono own the copyright) more than 40 years later is a diplomatic coup upon which Kofi Annan might look with envy
The triumph of these 200 or so letters is that they are not just about John and Mimi, or John and The Beatles, or John and Yoko. they are all of that but, within the framework editor Hunter Davies has given them, they're about a time and place, and Lennon's role within it
More than 200 examples are published (set out in chronological order so the story builds), painstakingly tracked down or borrowed back from those who'd paid handsomely to own them, all full of glorious turns of phrase and, occasionally, in mangled language
It looks beautiful: the cover is 'Imagine' - white, the pages carefully designed to weave Hunter Davies's commentary around both the letters themselves and the transcripts
While his public expression is that of a quick-change artiste, the private correspondence is constant. His handwriting is that of an intelligent being. He is often charming, which is maybe surprising. He evinces a generosity of spirit in letters to strangers. He is loyal to his often very odd relations and his ne'er-do-well father. His jocular punning and externally adolescent verbal extravagance are recurrent
Much of Lennon's correspondence is published here for the first time. Beatlemaniacs will no doubt home in on his sometimes violent exchanges with Paul McCartney in the 1970s, but equally interesting are the more quotidian entries, like grocery lists, homemade Christmas cards and curiously loopy responses to fan mail
The book exudes beauty in an all-white hardbound book. The paper is especially high quality and heavy. The letters are in color, and very well-copied. I highly recommend this book for Lennon fans who want more than surface information; the fan who studies and researches Lennon's life, and want to understand his history. For those who care to really digest it, they will learn a great deal
Davies was contacted by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, to write the only authorised pre-Yoko Beatles biography (first published in 1968), so to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of Lennon's correspondence (to which Ono own the copyright) more than 40 years later is a diplomatic coup upon which Kofi Annan might look with envy
The triumph of these 200 or so letters is that they are not just about John and Mimi, or John and The Beatles, or John and Yoko. they are all of that but, within the framework editor Hunter Davies has given them, they're about a time and place, and Lennon's role within it
While his public expression is that of a quick-change artiste, the private correspondence is constant. His handwriting is that of an intelligent being. He is often charming, which is maybe surprising. He evinces a generosity of spirit in letters to strangers. He is loyal to his often very odd relations and his ne'er-do-well father. His jocular punning and externally adolescent verbal extravagance are recurrent
Much of Lennon's correspondence is published here for the first time. Beatlemaniacs will no doubt home in on his sometimes violent exchanges with Paul McCartney in the 1970s, but equally interesting are the more quotidian entries, like grocery lists, homemade Christmas cards and curiously loopy responses to fan mail
The book exudes beauty in an all-white hardbound book. The paper is especially high quality and heavy. The letters are in color, and very well-copied. I highly recommend this book for Lennon fans who want more than surface information; the fan who studies and researches Lennon's life, and want to understand his history. For those who care to really digest it, they will learn a great deal
Davies was contacted by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, to write the only authorised pre-Yoko Beatles biography (first published in 1968), so to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of Lennon's correspondence (to which Ono own the copyright) more than 40 years later is a diplomatic coup upon which Kofi Annan might look with envy
The triumph of these 200 or so letters is that they are not just about John and Mimi, or John and The Beatles, or John and Yoko. they are all of that but, within the framework editor Hunter Davies has given them, they're about a time and place, and Lennon's role within it
Long years of research and collection have enabled Davies to compile this revealing archive of notes, doodles, pranks, protests and heartfelt confessions from the Liverpool art-school kid who became an icon of the 20th century
The book exudes beauty in an all-white hardbound book. The paper is especially high quality and heavy. The letters are in color, and very well-copied. I highly recommend this book for Lennon fans who want more than surface information; the fan who studies and researches Lennon's life, and want to understand his history. For those who care to really digest it, they will learn a great deal
Though most of the letters are slapdash and artless in themselves, they have a curiously moving cumulative effect when taken as a whole
Davies was contacted by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, to write the only authorised pre-Yoko Beatles biography (first published in 1968), so to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of Lennon's correspondence (to which Ono own the copyright) more than 40 years later is a diplomatic coup upon which Kofi Annan might look with envy
The triumph of these 200 or so letters is that they are not just about John and Mimi, or John and The Beatles, or John and Yoko. they are all of that but, within the framework editor Hunter Davies has given them, they're about a time and place, and Lennon's role within it
The detective work in sourcing the material was carried out by Beatles biographer Hunter Davies. As Yoko Ono writes in a foreword, he has done well
I read it from cover to cover and will probably give it as a Christmas present
A labour of love>
Correspondence with estranged family is especially touching in later years>
Hunter Davies, the man who wrote the official 1960s biograph of The Beatles, releases The John Lennon Letters today, a collection of nearly 300 quirky letters and postcards sent by Lennon to his family and friends, giving an insight into his life and humour
A treasure trove>
     
John Lennon
John Lennon was, as one of the Beatles and the composer of many of their greatest songs, one of the most famous people of the 20th century. He died aged forty in 1980. Hunter Davies, the editor of the...(+)
Books by John Lennon
The John Lennon Letters (PB)