John Lennon: The Life

Publisher: Anchor Canada
National Bestseller

Drawing on previously unknown sources, unpublished letters, and unprecedented access to all the key figures, author and journalist Philip Norman gives us the most complete and revealing portrait of John Lennon that is ever likely to be published.

For this masterpiece of biography, Philip Norman set himself the challenge of looking afresh at every aspect of Lennon’s much-chronicled life. He has not just dug deep into the archives, including his own vast collection of tapes and notebooks dating back to the 60s, but spoken to hundreds of witnesses, from every walk of life and every stage of Lennon’s. The interviewees include Sean Lennon, whose moving reminiscences reveal his father as never before, and Yoko Ono, who speaks with sometimes shocking candour about her marriage to John.

In his brilliant Shout!, we were shown a band; in John Lennon, Philip Norman gives us a portrait of a man. It reconciles as never before the contradictions of this endlessly fascinating character–the volatile and violent hippie, the phenomenally wealthy advocate of no possessions, the family man and junkie–and his journey from Liverpool suburbia to becoming one of the presiding geniuses of pop culture.

From the Hardcover edition.


Before leaving London for the Sweet Toronto Peace Festival in September 1969, John had finally made up his mind to resign from the Beatles. But the whirl of departure had left no time to break it to the other three.

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“Norman is brilliant at evoking the postwar world from which the Beatles emerged and to which their unprecedented global success signaled the end…. This is the best life of Lennon to date.”
The Guardian (UK)

“[A] well-crafted and altogether magisterial biography. A rich, rewarding portrait of a brilliant man.”
The Washington Times

“Mammoth and marvelous.”
Edmonton Journal

“[Norman] has uncovered much new material in his research for this impressive and highly readable book. It is greatly to Norman’s credit as a biographer that he does justice to all of it in a book whose 854 pages simply fly by.”
Sunday Times (UK)

“Powerful and heartfelt.”
Washington Post

National Post

From the Hardcover edition.