Cover image for John Lennon : all I want is the truth : a photographic biography
Title:
John Lennon : all I want is the truth : a photographic biography
ISBN:
9780670059546
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Viking, 2005.
Physical Description:
232 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Reading Level:
1010 L Lexile
Personal Subject:
Summary:
The story of one of rock's biggest legends, from his birth during a 1940 World War II air raid on Liverpool, through his turbulent childhood and teen years, to his celebrated life writing, recording, and performing with the Beatles and beyond.
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Summary

Summary

Award-winning biographer Elizabeth Partridge dives into Lennon's life from the night he was born in 1940 during a World War II air raid on Liverpool, deftly taking us through his turbulent childhood and his rebellious rock'n'roll teens to his celebrated life writing, recording, and performing music with the Beatles. She sheds light on the years after the Beatles, with Yoko Ono, as he struggled to make sense of his own artistic life - one that had turned from youthful angst to suffocating fame in almost a split second.

Partridge chronicles the emotional highs and paralyzing lows that Lennon transformed into brilliant, evocative songs. With striking black and white photographs spanning his entire life, John Lennon- All I Want Is the Truth is the unforgettable story of one of rock's biggest legends.


Author Notes

Elizabeth Partridge (www.elizabethpartridge.com) is a National Book Award finalist and author of several nonfiction books for children, including Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange ; This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie ; and Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary . She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

As she did for Woody Guthrie in This Land Was Made for You and Me, Partridge here presents a captivating portrait of a legendary musician, tracing Lennon's life from his birth in 1940 during a German air raid on Liverpool to his murder in Manhattan 40 years later. This well-researched photobiography (with 140-plus photos) includes copious quotations from Lennon and his colleagues, ranging from eloquent to profane; paired with Partridge's crisp reporting, the quotes offer a spontaneous and incisive look at Lennon's life. At times, the narrative suggests a level of intimacy that readers might question (e.g., when Cynthia, who would become John's first wife, tells him she is pregnant: "She watched, her heart pounding in her chest, as he looked at her, speechless"), but the well-known milestones are documented in detail. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Horn Book Review

(Middle School, High School) Author of This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie (rev. 3/02), Partridge takes on another complex, self-centered, prolific musical genius. John Lennon's life is almost melodramatic in its amalgamation of intractably defiant acts, creative angst, wild success, wealth, sex, drugs, and, finally, violent death. Young adult readers will be riveted, and Partridge is fair and open with the facts. She contextualizes the Beatles' rise and disbanding with enough background information, both politically and musically, to illuminate the chaotic world behind the top ten charts. She also manages to bring Paul, George, and Ringo into the story while maintaining a steady focus on John -- no easy feat given their close personal and professional relationship. Among the most intriguing aspects is Yoko Ono's powerful hold over John (she's a blend of the free-spirited mother who abandoned him and the determined aunt who raised him) and her role in the Beatles' ""divorce"" from one another. Quotes are fully attributed in extensive footnotes, and the book includes a comprehensive bibliography and an index. The book design is luxurious; thoughtfully chosen, well-placed black-and-white photographs on nearly every page project a visual commentary that adds substantively to an accessible text. The chronological organization not only clarifies stages in Lennon's life but also slips a little history to unsuspecting teenagers as they get past the mask of an iconic popular star. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Gr. 9-12. John Lennon's Aunt Mimi disapproved of his guitar hobby because "you could never make a living 0 at it." Such anecdotes surface with delightful regularity in Partridge's biography of the influential mid-twentieth-century musician. As in This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie0 (2003), her mission is to uncover the person behind the image. Partridge's unflinching reports on the outlet from public attention that Lennon sought in a debauched lifestyle, in which "booze, pills, and joints were consumed in astonishing amounts," may cause some readers to think that the sensational aspects of Lennon's life have been overemphasized. But many YAs will find the nonjudgmental tone refreshing, and those drawn by the rock-music theme will admire Partridge's sensitive analysis of the Beatles' creative output. Dynamic design distinguishes the book inside and out, from the eye-catching size and shape that cleverly mimics an old vinyl album cover to the abundant archival photos within. A discography and an immense bibliography set readers on the right paths. Despite source notes limited to quotes, this has the markings of a YA biography staple--as hard-hitting as Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan's Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop0 (2004), and equally compelling in its perspective on the Swinging Sixties. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2005 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Partridge cuts through the mythology and misinformation surrounding the life of the legendary singer/songwriter and goes a long way toward revealing the complexities of his personality. She relies heavily on Lennon's own writings and the wealth of interviews he granted during his lifetime. What emerges is an unflinchingly honest portrait of a troubled, angry, and highly creative individual who was captivated by rock 'n' roll and often used it as a means of expressing his unhappiness and confusion. Partridge skillfully captures the amazing speed at which the Beatles were swept into astonishing popularity that led to an unrelenting schedule of touring, songwriting, and recording that slowed down only when touring became both too grueling and too dangerous. She doesn't shy away from the sordid details of the band's mercurial rise to fame and fortune but her nonjudgmental commentary focuses first and foremost on the music. Lennon's life after the dissolution of the Beatles is explored in depth, as are Yoko Ono's influence and the worldwide impact of his death. With an abundance of gorgeous black-and-white photos, some of them full-page or even spreads, this handsome book will be eagerly received by both Beatles fans, who are legion, and their elders, who will enjoy reliving the glory days of the Fab Four and exploring the inner workings of a creative talent.-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

The Quarry Men hadn't played many recent gigs when Pete's mother arranged for them to play July 6, 1957, at the St. Peter's Parish Church garden fete--the big summer celebration in Woolton. By midday when John met up with Pete, the day was already warm. Though he was still underage, John managed to pick up several bottles of light ale and guzzle them down on their way. By the time they arrived, the church grounds were decorated with flags, balloons, and bunting. In the big white refreshment tents, women were putting together sandwiches and laying out homemade cakes. Mimi arrived just before the Quarry Men started their first set. She was having a cup of tea in one of the tents when the band started up with a loud explosion of noise. Mimi followed as everyone poured out of the tent to the far field where the band was set up. John caught sight of her as she walked toward the stage, openmouthed, staring at him. He quickly began busking, making up words to the song he was singing. "Mimi's coming," he sang. "Oh, oh, Mimi's coming down the path. . . ." It was the first time Mimi had ever seen him playing with the Quarry Men. She couldn't believe her eyes. The band moved on to their other big numbers, "Railroad Bill," "Cumberland Gap," and "Maggie May." While Mimi was still reeling, a friend of Ivan's, Paul McCartney, arrived on his bike. Paul was dressed to kill: He'd come to the garden fete hoping to pick up girls. His white sports jacket was shot through with metallic threads that sparkled in the sunlight, his black drainies were tight, his hair was carefully greased back in a "duck's arse." Paul arrived in time to hear John singing the Del Vikings' recent hit, "Come Go with Me." Instead of singing the lyrics "Come go with me, don't let me pray beyond the sea," John threw in words from American rhythm and blues songs: "Come go with me, down to the penitentiary." Paul was fascinated, amazed that John was making up his own lyrics. While the Liverpool City Police Department put its German shepherds through their obedience trials--the day's big attraction--John and the other Quarry Men moved their equipment to the empty church hall where they were scheduled to play for the evening dance. They sat on folding chairs in the hall, drinking beer and talking. Ivan turned up with Paul, eager to introduce him to John. John regarded Paul warily, then Paul borrowed a guitar and whipped into Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock." John was incredulous. The song was too difficult for the Quarry Men. John moved in close, drunkenly hanging over Paul's shoulder, eager to watch his fingering. Paul ripped through "Be-Bop-a-Lula" and a couple of his favorite Little Richard songs. To top it off, Paul tuned John's guitar, showed him a couple of chords, and wrote out all the lyrics to "Twenty Flight Rock." John, used to making snap decisions, was faced with a dilemma. Though Paul was nearly two years younger, he had impressive musical skills. He even knew how to tune his guitar! Having him in the group would immeasurably improve their music. But John worried it might also threaten his leadership. "I half thought to myself, 'He's as good as me.' Now, I thought, if I take him on, what will happen? I'd been kingpin up to then." Excerpted from John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth by Elizabeth Partridge All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.