I read it from cover to cover and will probably give it as a Christmas present. -- Jarvis Cocker THE GUARDIAN 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. -- Arifa Akbar THE INDEPENDENT A labour of love -- Simon Mayo R2 SIMON MAYO 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. EVENING STANDARD A treasure trove -- Pat Kenny RTE RADIO 'TODAY WITH PAT KENNY' Correspondence with estranged family is especially touching in later years TIME OUT 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. BLOOMBERG NEWS 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. -- Ben Thompson SUNDAY TELEGRAPH Though most of the letters are slapdash and artless in themselves, they have a curiously moving cumulative effect when taken as a whole. -- Craig Brown MAIL ON SUNDAY 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. -- Shelley Germeaux IRISH EXAMINER 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. i NEWSPAPER 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. INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE 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. -- Jonathan Meades EVENING STANDARD 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. THE SPECTATOR 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. SAGA 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. -- Gerald Isaaman CAMDEN NEW JOURNAL 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. SUNDAY HERALD GLASGOW 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 HOT PRESS (Ireland) 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. SUNDAY BUSINESS POST(Ireland) Lennon's scribbles tell the story of a boy blessed with genius; his emotional, and cultural and political awakenings are captured in his writings. WOMAN'S WAY (Ireland) 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. GOOD BOOK GUIDE Fascinating glimpses into an unguarded mind at work. RECORD COLLECTOR I've often wondered and shuddered at the prospect of having one's personal letters, scribble, photos, etc. eventually published for all to see. How embarrassing. But how great that Lennon's stuff, spanning from childhood to death, have appeared here. HUFFINGTON POST Nearly 300 are collected and annotated by Beatles biographer Hunter Davies here, and, as most of the originals are reproduced, we can also see the surrealistically silly drawings and graphics he often added in the margins. -- Richie Unterberger MOJO Davies has done an amazing job tracking down nearly 300 of John 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. Good Book Guide
A lifetime of letters, collected for the first time, from the legendary musician and songwriter.
John Lennon is one of the world's greatest-ever song writers, creator of 'Help!', 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', 'Imagine' and dozens more. Now, his letters have been collected and published, illuminating as never before the intimate side of a private genius.
Hunter Davies, author of the only authorised biography of The Beatles, has tracked down almost three hundred of John's letters and postcards - to relations, friends, fans, strangers, lovers and even to the laundry. Some of the letters are tender, informative, funny, angry and abusive, and some are simply heart-breaking. Many are illustrated with John's own drawings, doodles and jokes. Davies tells the story of each letter and together they form a compelling narrative, from Lennon's earliest surviving thank-you note, written when he was ten, to his last scribbled autograph given on 8 December 1980 - the day he was shot, aged forty.