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John (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Cynthia Lennon
4.7 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)

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This isn't Cynthia Lennon's first book about her legendary ex-husband. A Twist of Lennon--a slim volume that John tried to suppress on grounds of libel--came out in 1978. But now, 25 years after his death, she finally feels ready to tell the "full and truthful story" of their life together. Why? In his foreword, son Julian writes of their being "dismissed or at best treated as insignificant bit players" in the story of John's life; it's Cynthia's goal, with John, to set the record straight. She does make a case for being more than just "the impressionable young girl who fell for him, then trapped him into marriage," and it's moving to read, in his own words, of John's love for his son. And while there's nothing new in her account of the Fab Four's rise to fame, as the greatest success story of the rock era, it's a legend that bears retelling. But most salient of all are Cynthia's sketches of pain, regret, and intimidation. John was indeed a brilliant, loving man, but he was also "passionately jealous," "verbally cutting," sometimes abusive, and often neglectful. (It is hinted that his behavior may have paralleled that of the woman who raised him, his Aunt Mimi.) Unfortunately, Cynthia's "response to John's provocative and cruel behavior was to stick by him more solidly than ever...[feeling] that if he could trust me and believe that I loved him he might soften."

It's not this dysfunction, however, but rather John's use of LSD, on which she blames the emotional "chasm" that led to the failure of their marriage. And though the Lennons' divorce comes relatively late in the book, the pages that follow are by far the saddest, as they chronicle John's increasing distance from and neglect of his former family--especially Julian, who would only see his father three times after he moved to New York in 1971. It's no surprise that Cynthia lays much of the blame for this at the feet of Yoko Ono, who is described as controlling and insensitive, especially in the wake of John's murder. But even though there's a lot of bitterness and resentment in these pages, it's not overwhelming, being offset by Cynthia's fierce love for her son and her continuing affection for her ex-husband. A full picture of John Lennon's life will never exist as long as Ono judges herself unable to write about their time together, but John goes a long way toward improving the situation. --Benjamin Lukoff


Chapter 1

One early December afternoon in 1980 my friend Angie and I were in the little bistro we ran in north Wales, putting up the Christmas decorations. It was a cold, dark afternoon, but the atmosphere inside was bright and warm. We'd opened a bottle of wine and were hanging baubles on the tree and festive pictures on the walls. Laughing, we pulled a cracker and the toy inside fell onto the floor. I bent to pick it up and shivered when I saw it was a small plastic gun. It seemed horribly out of place among the tinsel and paper chains.

The next day I went to stay with my friend Mo Starkey in London. I couldn't really spare the time during the busy pre-Christmas season, but my lawyer had insisted I go to sign some legal papers, so I took the train, planning to return the following day. I left my husband and Angie to look after things in my absence. Angie was the ex-wife of Paul McCartney's brother, Mike, and after her marriage broke up she'd come to work for us, living in the small flat above the bistro.

It was always good to see Mo. We'd been friends since 1962, when I was John's girlfriend and she was the teenage fan who fell in love with Ringo at the Cavern. Ringo and Mo had married eighteen months after us, and in the days when the Beatles were traveling all over the world, she and I had spent a lot of time together. Her oldest son, Zak, was fifteen, a year and a half younger than my son Julian, and the boys had always been playmates.

When Mo and Ringo parted in 1974 she had been so heartbroken that she got on a motorbike and drove it straight into a brick wall, badly injuring herself. She had been in love with him since she was fifteen and his public appearances with his new girlfriend, American actress Nancy Andrews, had devastated her.

After the split Mo, still only twenty-seven, had moved into a house in the London neighborhood Maida Vale with her three children, Zak, eight, Jason, six, and Lee, three. Because of the injuries she'd received in the motorbike accident she had plastic surgery on her face and was delighted with the result, which she felt made her look better than she had before. Gradually she'd begun to get over Ringo, and she had a brief fling with George Harrison before she began to see Isaac Tigrett, millionaire owner of the Hard Rock Café chain.

The evening I arrived Mo had her usual houseful of people. Her mother, Flo, lived with her, as well as the children and their nanny. Mo always had an open house and that evening some old friends of ours, Jill and Dale Newton, had joined us for dinner. The nanny had cooked a huge meal, and later, Jill and Dale, Maureen and I sat over a couple of bottles of wine and talked about old times. After a while the conversation turned to the death of Mal Evans, the Beatles' former road manager. Mal had been a giant of a man, generous and soft-hearted. We'd known him since the early days when he'd worked for the post office and moonlighted as a bouncer at the Cavern Club. When the Beatles began to be successful they took him on to work for them.

Mal had been a faithful friend to the boys and was especially close to John: they got on incredibly well and, with the Beatles' other loyal roadie, Neil Aspinall, he had been on every tour, organizing, trouble-shooting, protecting and looking after them.

When the Beatles broke up Mal had been lost. He'd gone to live in Los Angeles where he began drinking and taking drugs. It was there, on January 4, 1976, that the police had been called by his girlfriend during a row. She claimed that Mal had pulled a gun on her, and when they burst into the apartment the officers found Mal holding a gun. Apparently he pointed it at them before they shot him. It was only after he died that they found the gun wasn't loaded. It was a tragic story, and we could only imagine that Mal had been under the influence of drugs. The Mal we knew could no more have shot someone than flown to the moon. Whatever the true story, his death had shocked us all and that night, our talk around Mo's fireplace was of what a good man he had been and how awful his premature death was. To us, the idea of being shot was almost unimaginable-how could it have happened to such a good friend?

After a while I went to bed. I knew the others would carry on talking and drinking until the early hours, but I wanted a good night's sleep as I had to get up early in the morning to catch the train home.

I was asleep in the spare room when screams woke me. It took me a few seconds to realize that they were Mo's. At that moment she burst into my room: "Cyn, John's been shot. Ringo's on the phone-he wants to talk to you."

I don't remember getting out of bed and going down the stairs to the phone. But Ringo's words, the sound of his tearful voice crackling over the transatlantic line, was crystal clear: "Cyn, I'm so sorry, John's dead."

The shock engulfed me like a wave. I heard a raw, tearing sob and, with that strange detachment that sudden shock can trigger, realized I was making the noise. Mo took the phone, said good-bye to Ringo, then put her arms around me. "I'm so sorry, Cyn," she sobbed.

In my stunned state I had only one clear thought. My son-our son-was at home in bed: I had to get back so that I could tell him about his father's death. He was seventeen and history was repeating itself in a hideous way: both John and I had lost a parent at that age.

I rang my husband and told him I was on the way and not to tell Julian what had happened. My marriage-the third-had been strained for some time and, in my heart of hearts, I knew it was going to end, but he was supportive. "Of course," he said. "I'll do my best to keep it from him." By the time I was dressed and had gathered my things, Mo had organized a car and a driver to take me to Wales. She insisted on coming too, with Zak. "I'll bring Julian back to stay with us if he needs to get away from the press," she promised.

John had been shot in New York at 10:50 p.m. on December 8. The time difference meant it was 3:50 a.m. on December 9 in Britain. Ringo had rung us barely two hours after it had happened, and we were on the road by seven. It was a four-hour drive to north Wales, and during the journey I stared out of the window in the gray dawn and thought of John.

In the jumble of thoughts whirring around my mind two kept recurring. The first was that nine had always been a significant number for John. He was born on October 9 and so was his second son, Sean. His mother had lived at number 9; when we met my house number had been 18 (the two digits of which add up to 9) and the hospital address Julian was born in was number 126 (again, each digit adds up to 9). Brian Epstein had first heard the Beatles play on the ninth of the month, they had got their first record contract on the ninth and John had met Yoko on the ninth. The number had cropped up in John's life in numerous other ways, so much so that he wrote three songs around it-"One After 909," "Revolution 9" and "#9 Dream." Now he had died on the ninth-an astonishing coincidence by any reckoning.

My second thought was that for the past fourteen years John had lived with the fear that he would be shot. In 1966 he'd received a letter from a psychic, warning that he would be shot while he was in the States. We were both upset by that: the Beatles were about to do their last tour of the States and, of course, we thought the warning referred to that trip. He had just made his infamous remark about the Beatles being more popular than Christ and the world was in an uproar about it-crank letters and warnings arrived by every post. But that one had stuck in his mind.

Afraid as he was, he went on the tour, and apologized reluctantly for the remark. When he got home in one piece we were both relieved. But the psychic's warning remained in his mind and from then on it seemed that he was looking over his shoulder, waiting for the gunman to appear. He often used to say, "I'll be shot one day." Now, unbelievably, tragically, he had been.

We reached Ruthin by mid-morning, and as we rounded the corner into what was normally a sleepy little town, my heart sank. There was no way that my husband could have kept the news from Julian: the town was packed with press. Dozens of photographers and reporters filled the square, the streets to our house and the bistro.

Amazingly we managed to park a few streets away and slip in through the back door, without being spotted by the crowd at the front. Inside my husband was pacing up and down restlessly. My mother, who lived above the bistro with Angie, was peering anxiously at the crowd from behind a drawn curtain. She was seventy-seven and suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's. Confused by the crowds outside, she had no idea what was going on.

I looked at my husband, the question unspoken. Did Julian know? He nodded toward the stairs. A minute later Julian came running down. I held out my arms to him. He came over to me and his lanky teenage frame crumpled into my lap. He wrapped his arms around my neck and sobbed onto my shoulder. I hugged him and we cried together, both heartbroken at the awful, pointless waste that his father's death represented.

Mo had busied herself making tea, while Zak sat quietly nearby, not knowing what to say or do. While we drank the tea we talked about what to do. Maureen offered to take Julian back to London, but he said, "I want to go to New York, Mum. I want to be where Dad was." Although the idea alarmed me, I understood.

Maureen and Zak hugged us and left, then Julian and I went up to the bedroom to ring Yoko. We were put straight through to her, and she agreed that she would like Julian to join her. She said she would organize a flight for him that afternoon. I told her I was worried about the state he was in, but Yoko made it clear that I was not

welcome. "It's not as though you're an old schoolfriend of mine, Cynthia." It was blunt, but I accepted it: there is no place for an ex-wife in public grieving.

A couple of hours later my husband and I drove Julian to Manchester airport. The press spotted us as we left home, but when they saw our faces they drew back and let us pass. I was grateful. We sat through the two-hour drive in virtual silence. I was exhausted by the depth of my emotions and by the need to hold back my pain and attend to the necessary practicalities, for Julian's sake.

At the airport I watched him being led off by a flight attendant, his shoulders bowed, his face chalk white. I knew he would sit on the plane surrounded by people reading newspapers with headlines about his father's death splashed across their front pages and I longed to run after him. Before he disappeared through the gate he turned back and waved. He looked painfully young and I ached at having to let him go.

Back in Wales the press was still camped outside our door in huge numbers-there wasn't a spare room left in town. Years later, when she was hosting the British talk show This Morning, Judy Finnegan told me that she had been a young reporter among that throng. "I felt for you," she told me. "You looked absolutely shattered."

I was furious when my husband let one of the more persuasive journalists, a man who said he was writing a book about John, into our home. Later he claimed that I gave him a lengthy interview, but in fact I said just a few words, then asked him to leave. I was in no state and no mood to give an interview. I fell into bed and lay, numb and exhausted, too wrung out for any more tears, trying to take in the enormity of what had happened.

That night, after I drifted into a shallow sleep, there was a terrible crash. I leapt up, screaming-it was as though a bomb had gone off. I ran outside in my nightdress and saw that the chimney pot on our roof had crashed through the ceiling into Julian's attic bedroom. A high wind had blown up, as if from nowhere. It seemed ominous and I thanked God that Julian hadn't been there.

The next day Julian rang to tell me he had arrived safely and was in the Dakota apartment with Yoko, Sean and various members of staff. Hundreds of people were camped outside the building, but Sean didn't yet know of John's death so those inside were trying to keep up the pretense of normality until Yoko felt ready to tell him. Julian sounded tired, but he said that John's assistant, Fred Seaman, had met him at the airport and had been very kind to him. It was a relief to know that someone was looking out for my son.

In Wales, life had to go on. We couldn't afford to close the bistro and John and Angie couldn't manage in the busy season without me, so we opened for business. I cleaned, cooked, served customers and looked after my mother, all the while feeling numb and disconnected. While I got on with the business of life I had to contain my grief, but as headlines about John continued to dominate the news and his music soared up the charts, memories of him, our life together and all we had shared played constantly through my mind. The many hundreds of sympathy cards and messages I received from those who had known John, and those who had simply loved the man and his music, helped. But as I struggled through a disjointed, empty couple of weeks in the lead-up to Christmas, with my son away and my marriage on the rocks, I felt overwhelmed with sadness, frustration and loss. How could the man I had loved for so long and with such fierce, passionate intensity be gone? How could his vibrant life energy and his unique creativity have been snuffed out by a madman's bullet? And how could he have left his two sons without a father when they both needed him so much?

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 733 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 322 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0307338568
  • Editeur : Hodder & Stoughton; Édition : New Ed (16 février 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00713DN8A
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.7 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°246.361 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 In John's Life 9 septembre 2010
John Lennon, aka the Chief Beatle, was a prominent figure in every sense of the word. He left an indelible stamp on history, music and other aspects of culture and remains a fascinating person to this day.

Of the many Lennon biographies I have read, I liked this one best. This is not to discount the stellar works by Alan Clayson and Ray Coleman, whose objective, scholarly treatment of Lennon remain biographical bars that have been raised.

Cynthia's first book, "A Twist of Lennon" was written when John was still living. In that first book, which could be thought of as a volume one to this work, one gets the impression that Cynthia was too close to the memories and that it was hard for her to write objectively. That would certainly be understandable. Since she was writing about her life and experiences as she knew them, objectivity was not required; however, one gets the sense that Cynthia was still as freshly hurt as she was when the incidents took place.

In "John," readers get a more rounded picture of Cynthia, John, the other Beatles and their wives as well as others who were close to the Beatles, such as their manager, the late Brian Epstein. Readers get a "feel for" or a sense of each person mentioned in the book, including family members such as the previously little mentioned people in Cynthia's family. Readers come to see the forces, people and influences that shaped Cynthia, and by extension John Lennon as well.

I think this is a stellar book; it presents a John Lennon as only one person could have possibly known him. John is not placed on a pedastal, but on his feet of clay, warts and all so that readers keep in mind that John, George, Cynthia, et al. are REAL PEOPLE and not impersonal, out of reach icons.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 John par Cynthia 12 décembre 2014
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Merci pour la livraison de ce livre sur la vision de John Lennon par Cynthia sa première épouse. Vision non angélique et pour cela plus intéressante car plus vrai, cela change des biographies ou elle est presque absente à cause de Yoko.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 vu par son ex-femme 21 juin 2013
Par Powerzet
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
celle qu'il a quitté pour Yoko, a qui il n'a pas laissé grand chose, mais elle raconte leur histoire sans amertume. Il n'en sort toutefois pas grandi...
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  420 commentaires
296 internautes sur 312 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Inspring, eleqount, and ultimately sad. 3 octobre 2005
Par Beatles Fan - Publié sur Amazon.com
I have been a John Lennon fan since I was about six years old. I have read alot of books about him, and was always fascinated by him. This book by Cynthia is by far my favorite. I admit I have never been one to like Yoko, so I could come off as bias. I always felt really bad about Cynthia but never fully understood what had happened. I cant say for sure what she writes is true, but the pain that was caused at times had me disgusted with John.

In the beginning the book is wonderful. It provides really good mental pictures and shows a John Lennon that we havent seen before. Reading about their college years and younger days was fascinating. To see John more human was refreshing. We see a side of Mimi that has never really been written about. Cynthia seems to still be affected by her. Although Mimi is presented as nasty, rude, and demanding, you still feel she was loved.

Hearing about John during his first years of fame was really great too. It is neat to be able to see sides of him that we havent before. Although always on the edge, he is seen here as a loving man who desperately misses Julian but continues to mess up. The letter shown in here that John writes home is sad, and showed he was very vulnerable.

You begin to feel the tension as John spins more and more out of control. You feel the sadness and you can understand how both of them felt. That is one thing I really enjoy about this book. Althought written from Cynthia's perspective, she strives to explain John's also and understands they were both vastly different in many areas. It showed to me that she still loves John to this day.

The book gets pretty sad to read as John plummets. The chilling way in which he dumps Cynthia is almost hard to read. John goes from wanting to repair the marriage to coldly cutting both Julian and her off completely. It is really hard to read. And this is where I began to feel bad for Cynthia and Julian, and John who seems to be suffering from mental problems in some way. Someone I admire so much could do such cruel things. Cynthia mentions how it was disgusting to see John singing on T.V. about peace but couldn't even show peace to his family and most importantly Julian.

Throughout the book we are given the affect John's behavior had on Julian and this is also hard to read. But, I don't want to spoil the book anymore. But as I have always felt, John seemed to be really getting things together towards the end. He seems more like his old-self and I have read other accounts of this and it is sad considering what happened to him.

All in all, this is a fantastic book. It was a very easy read and offers incredible insight into John's life. A very well written book. I love it!
141 internautes sur 147 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 John Lennon history continued 10 octobre 2005
Par R. DelParto - Publié sur Amazon.com
As anniversaries are celebrated and observed, more information referencing the Beatles are released. However, works by immediate family members or those closest to individual band members may become less. The release is quite fitting in that it coincides with what would have been John's 65th birthday and 25 years since his death. As with any event in history, having the opportunity to read accounts from those who witnessed the events bring us much closer to understanding who the individual was and debunking any myths or rumors that have existed through out the years and laying them to rest. In this case, Cynthia Lennon attempts to show the truth about John Lennon. What makes her biography or memoir so unique is that she examines her relationship with John Lennon from his pre-Beatle days as a college art student in the late 1950s up to her bitter divorce in 1969 as well as the John's post-Beatle years. Her story shows the change and transformation of John Lennon to readers, and the emotions and guilt that she experienced as she went through the process -- the coming to terms with her loss and being at peace with what happened.

JOHN is not a book about the Beatles or their music. Cynthia guides the reader through a chronology of her life with stories about how she met John Lennon and relating events that pertained to her own personal life, her long-time friendship with her girlfriend, Phyllis McKenzie, and her mother, who were always there to support her through trying times. The most interesting aspect of the book is the love-hate relationship between Cynthia and John's Aunt Mimi, and more in-depth information about John's sisters, Julia and Jacqui. In addition, the most heart wrenching part of the book is the one between father and son, which covers Julian's birth up to John's death. Cynthia's correlation with what song or record John was working on or singing about was effective in telling the story as it related to Julian and Cynthia's reality. Cynthia ties loose ends of the John Lennon story, and suggests that drugs and John's longing for a "mother-like" figure may have caused him to forge a life with Yoko Ono.

Overall, JOHN is a compelling and inviting book. The photographs that accompany Cynthia's narrative are enthralling as well. Some have never been published and come directly from Cynthia Lennon's own personal collection, while others may be all too familiar to John Lennon and Beatle fans. JOHN offers readers another perspective of the man who became an iconoclastic figure after his passing, but was merely as human as his fans.
57 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 In Her Own Write .... Cyn's Life with John Lennon 20 mars 2006
Par J. Bouffard - Publié sur Amazon.com
By the time the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, I was madly in love with them and their music. Paul McCartney was the love of my 13-year-old life, so it never bothered me that John Lennon was married and had a child. To my friends who were ardent Lennon fans, this fact was unacceptable. There were times I wondered how John's wife, Cyn, felt about all of this. After reading her memoir, entitled John, that question has been answered -- along with many others.

First and foremost, the reader should pick up this book expecting to read about love, happiness, frustration, pain, hurt, anger, tears, and conflict -- all of the things you would find in any relationship that is put under a non-stop eye of media scrutiny. No matter what you've read about the Beatles over the past 43 years, this story is different because it's told by someone who wasn't in the machine that made the Beatles a success. We've all read stories about John, Paul, George, and Ringo as told by everyone from their roadies to their contemporaries. Now we get to hear from the woman John married first and who was an unsuspecting participant on the ride of insanity known as Beatlemania.

When I began this book I was looking forward to hearing Cynthia's side of the story. I knew there would be some bitterness against Yoko, some anger towards John, comments on the use of drugs, cashing in on her marriage to him, and perhaps some self analysis in the process. She is only human and the journey of writing this book had to be a painful one for her, even all these years later. Yes, all of that is in her book. She is honest in her narrative and admits there have been times she's cashed in on the Lennon name to support herself and Julian. Anyone who's been a single parent with a child to support can understand that.

Now, let's move on to the positive aspects of this book. Cynthia weaves a wonderful picture of the Liverpool that was in the late 1950s/early 1960s. From her first meeting of John at Liverpool Art College through the early days of their romance, she shows us all the colors of John's character. She spends time discussing his early life with his family ... the father who deserted him, the mother who died tragically, life with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George, his half-sisters, and his other aunts and uncles and cousins. Through these descriptions, you get a feel for the loving family he had around him. You also begin to see how John built walls around himself to keep out the pain created by certain events in his childhood. His acerbic wit, jealousy, temper and creative genius all stemmed from his insecurities.

Some of the funniest bits of the book are when she describes the early stages of their romance. She talks about some of the letters John sent to her from Hamburg, Germany and how some were so risque she had to hide them so her mother wouldn't see them. I enjoyed how she shared John's romantic side, such as the card he made her for their first Christmas together, or the things he wrote on the envelopes of his letters, such as "Please Mr. Postman, don't be slow, I'm in love with Cyn so go, man, go." She also quotes bits of his letters to give us a picture of the John she knew and with whom she fell in love.

Cynthia portrays herself as a rather shy girl, full of insecurities, that carried over into her adult life. She is blunt about saying she wanted a "normal" life with John. Obviously, they never had a chance to be normal. Several times, Cyn mentions that LSD and drugs were a big contributor to the break up of their marriage. I will let you draw your own conclusions on that. Her description of finding out that John and Yoko were a couple is heart-wrenching. I could feel her pain in her words.

Probably the most important aspect of this book is the glimpse of Julian's childhood. He was always sheltered from the press as much as possible, so it was interesting to get her perspective on how his life was affected by it all. She is fiercely proud and protective of her son. Julian writes the foreward for this book, and likewise he is fiercely proud of and loyal to his mum. Cyn's descriptions of how John's death affected both she and Julian are sad, touching, and painfully honest.

John was everything I expected and then some. For any Beatles fan, it's worth the read.
59 internautes sur 62 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Cynthia, The Truth, and John 31 janvier 2007
Par Bob Barr - Publié sur Amazon.com
I've been a fan of the Beatles since the first night that they were on Ed Sullivan in 1964. I could not be more in the Beatles camp without needing medication.

Actually some people think I do need medication over my Beatles fixation, but never mind. The reason I say this is so that you'll know whose "side" I'm on.

The most recent histories of the World's Greatest Band (this one and "The Beatles: The Biography" by Bob Spitz) are more reliable as general retellings than most of the previous dreck we've gotten, with the possible exception of Phillip Norman's, excellent "Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation." In fact, most of the previous general histories we've got on the Beatles have been garbage--being either authorized fan-club/tennie-bopper raves, or idiot kiss-and-tell scandal tomes (like "The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles" which paints the Beatles as victims and jerks simultaneously).

In fact, even "Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles" by the very odd Geoff Emerick (who, despite having been in on the most important of the Beatles recording sessions seems to have entirely missed the point) is pretty good.

So we've got an excellent crop of fairly recent Beatles books out now. So what? Well, I think that for those of you who want to understand the Beatles story on a gut level, this is one of the must-have volumes.

Cynthia Lennon is honest in this volume on the level that her famous ex-husband always claimed to be, and generally wasn't. The feeling I get as I read this volume is that, for an autobiography, the book is unusually truthful. I suspect we're getting about 75% of the truth, and 99% of the truth as Cynthia saw it (understanding the distinction in those two points is critical in reading autobiography). Her portrait of John is unflinching and to the point when she speaks of the events she witnesses. It is also solid from the standpoint that a lot of the action that occurred in and around the Beatles circle happened just off of Cynthia's radar, and she tells us plainly when she was off stage. It is interesting that she seems honestly bemused by so many of the events that occurred in her own life.

The portrait of the "Cynthia Era" Lennon that emerges is the one we always suspected was the truth: that John was a funny, warm, intelligent person--usually. We also see the Post-Yoko John, and the bizarre head changes that Ono put John through.

Cynthia suggests that the changes in Lennon's temperament were symptoms of drug abuse, and I'm certain that was a contributing factor, but she either doesn't see or leaves us to read between the lines about the influence that Ono had over Lennon. I suspect that she's being kind; the combination of Ono's machinations, and Lennon's emotional and intellectual vulnerability were a frightening force, and changed John completely. In fact, the immediate post-Ono Lennon seems more like a cult adherent than a drug casualty, and that was, the way it seemed to fans like me at the time.

Lennon switched from the affable (if temperamental) head Beatle to a surly, smug, unsmiling but silly media manipulator who was more than delighted to exchange creative credentials for media attention. As Cynthia points out, "He never smiled and he took himself so seriously."

Best of all, Cynthia asks the ultimate question about Lennon, 'How could he be so interested in world peace, and so uninterested in making peace with his own son?"

Cynthia also seems aware that McCartney, who has received bad press in the last few years for having the bad taste to remain (Quelle Horreur!) popular and mainstream, is a talent in his own right, and half of the Beatles songwriting legacy. Cynthia is also aware that the Beatles were a band, an organism of four men, not John Lennon and three other guys. It was nice to hear someone say this; the other Beatles have gotten short shrift since Lennon's death.

Of course, a central part of the "Lennon Problem" is carefully discussed here; Lennon wanted a divorce from his wife. In the early 21st century that situation is considered sad, but with the current 50% divorce rate it might also seem unremarkable. In the late 1960's it was scandalous, and the way Lennon dealt with his ex-wife and child we even worse.

You won't learn a lot about how the Beatles music was made here, Cynthia wasn't allowed in that part of her husband's life (no big deal there, how many of you reading this take your spouse to work?), but you will learn a lot about who John Lennon was, and how he mutated into the media-hungry self-righteous maniac he became in the 1970's. Best of all, Cynthia still loves John, and despite the degree that he wronged her, she leaves us room to do so as well.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Another View of the Lennon Legend 7 octobre 2005
Par P. Garcia - Publié sur Amazon.com
Longtime Lennon fans are probably wondering what Cynthia Lennon's new book has to say that wasn't in her previous book, A Twist of Lennon.

John retraces much of the territory covered in her previous work, such as meeting John at Liverpool Art College, the blossoming of their romance, and the onslaught of Beatlemania. However, as revealed in the excerpts and preliminary reviews published in the British papers, Cynthia talks more candidly about John's complex relationships with his Aunt Mimi, and his older son, Julian.

She relates how Mimi got custody of John--repeated calls to Social Services, complaining about Julia's cohabitation, eventually resulted in John living at Mendips and being raised by authoritarian Mimi. After bringing John into her home, Mimi was relentless in her criticism of him and ripped his self-confidence to shreds. Mimi's kindly husband, George Smith, gave John much of the love and affection he craved. Uncle George's untimely death left John without a loving father figure. That loss compounded the feelings of abandonment that permeated his life and later caused John to place emotional distance between himself and his loved ones.

John could be volatile and cruel to his loved ones, and occasions on which he is brutal to Julian are painful to read. In one instance, during a playful time at John and Yoko's home, Julian giggles. John screams: "I can't stand the way you f******g laugh! Never let me hear your f*****g horrible laugh again!" Cynthia says that to this day Julian rarely laughs.

Cynthia suspects that Yoko wielded an immense amount of control over John and was the reason why he was out of contact with Julian for years at a time. While John was with May Pang, he had Julian visit him more frequently. The contact ceased once again when he returned to Yoko.

While Cynthia claims to have forgiven John for any misery he caused her, her anger on behalf of Julian comes through loud and clear. She lets it be known that Julian was neglected by his father after the marriage dissolved. Pointing out that the man so famous for anthemic songs of love and peace could not bring himself to enjoy those same conditions with his own son, Cynthia is neither condemning nor cruel in her assessment. Those who were hoping for a no holds barred attack on John will be sorely disappointed.

Cynthia does, however, find fault with Yoko's treatment of Julian in the aftermath of John's death. He helped Yoko break the news to Sean, and comforted his younger brother. In Yoko's famous statement to the press, she says that she told Sean that the man who shot John will have to go to court. Sean asks if it's a tennis court or a basketball court. Cynthia says that was a conversation that actually took place between Julian and Sean, and she feels that Julian, as John's older son, should have been included in the statement.

And yes, there is the issue of Julian's inheritance. A trust fund was set up upon John and Cynthia's divorce; when Sean was born, rather than set up a separate fund, the fund was split between the two boys. When John died, his estate was left to Yoko, Julian, Sean, and Kyoko, with Yoko as trustee. Her trusteeship effectively blocks Julian from accessing the estate.

This is not a book that analyzes John's music, or his place in the pop music pantheon. It is Cynthia's story of "the real John-the infuriating, lovable, sometimes cruel, funny, talented and needy man who made such an impact on the world." There are no new revelations for ardent Lennon fans familiar with his life before Yoko Ono. The more casual fan will probably find much new information, especially Cynthia's recollections of life in Liverpool before and during Beatlemania. Those stories are touching, but they also include the veil of secrecy under which she lived, at Brian Epstein's insistence, as he believed that a married Beatle with a child was an impediment to the group's success.

In the end, we are left with an honest depiction of the emotional, personal, financial, and psychic turmoil of living with, and loving, an immensely talented, complex, yet troubled man.
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