John Lennon: The Life

Abridged Audiobook

Written By: Philip Norman

Narrated By: Graeme Malcolm

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Date: October 2008

Duration: 12 hours 55 minutes


Philip Norman turns his formidable talent to the Beatle for whom belonging to the world's most beloved pop group was never enough. Drawing on previously untapped sources, and with unprecedented access to all the major characters, here is the definitive portrait of John Lennon.

This masterly biography takes a fresh and penetrating look at Lennon's much-chronicled life, including the songs that have turned him, posthumously, into almost a secular saint. In three years of research, Norman has turned up an extraordinary amount of new information about even the best-known episodes of Lennon folklore. The book's numerous key informants and interviewees include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir George Martin, and Yoko Ono, who speaks with sometimes shocking candor about the inner workings of her marriage to John.

Honest and unflinching, as John himself would wish, Norman gives us the whole man in all his endless contradictions—tough and cynical, hilariously funny but also naive, vulnerable and insecure—and reveals how the mother who gave him away as a toddler haunted his mind and his music for the rest of his days.


  • Hans

    If you know anything about The Beatles, DO NOT RENT THIS BOOK. In the middle of family trivia, the author suddenly says "and Paul, comfortable with his place." !! That's the FIRST mention of Paul McCartney!! No audio here at all about how they met or decided to get together. Ridiculous. Not an abridgement, a butchering!! Later, "when John Dean revealed the taping system in the White House." WRONG! Makes one wonder how much of the other stuff the author guessed at. DO NOT RENT. Who "abridged", some, totally awesome 16 year old? Simply Audio: pre-listen before you offer.

  • Anonymous

    I didn't realize I chose the abridged version of this book and advise others not to! Whole important sections were omitted, severely detracting from the experience of what was a compelling account of this seminal artist's life.

  • Anonymous

    I think the book is good, because the audio book is only a sampling. The audio cuts out 5 year stretches at a time. It skips John meeting Paul, goes from the Beatles just getting to do their first album with George Martin to working on the 5th album skipping all the sudden rise to fame. I have read reviews that the book is very good, and I would say what I did listen to was very good, but a terrible hatchet job. This was a terrible disservice to audio books, I will never buy an abridged version of a book again.

  • Anonymous

    An absorbing, entertaining book. The narrator is very skilled, and Norman is a skilled writer, well researched, and knowledgeable. Lennon is portrayed as artistically gifted, cruel and conversely kind, shy and uncomfortable but also charismatic, immature, self-absorbed, emotionally fragile, petty, conflicted, politically progressive but financially privileged, and later bored. Norman is also a fair music critic. His explication of some songs reveals an appreciation of musicology and early record technology, as well as an understanding of Lennon's persona and the cultural significance of the period. You may find yourself pausing the book to listen to the songs that Norman is describing -- giving you a deeper appreciation of their artistry and meaning. The abridged version inevitably skipped parts of the chronology I would have wished to hear about. This still does not detract too much from the great experience of the audiobook.