John Lennon has always intrigued me: his years as a Beatle, his razor-sharp wit, his peace activism and Yoko-encouraged feminism. Like the Sixties, Lennon turned out to be complicated and contradictory. Chanting peace, he hit women and fought men. He seemed brashly independent, but always needed someone strong to contain him: his Aunt Mimi, Paul McCartney, and finally Yoko Ono..
The accompanying 150 photographs of Lennon and his times (some rarely or never seen), show the span of his life, as well as formative people and places. Naturally, putting together the book turned out to be as complex as the Sixties and Lennon combined. I spent months immersed in research, visited Liverpool to get a feel for his roots, then plunged into writing and searching out photos. It took me three intensely focused, challenging, and rewarding years to complete the book.
Lennon’s music as a Beatle and solo artist, as well as stories about his life, are woven into our culture. I hope John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth is an honest picture of Lennon’s life as he lived it.
Published by Viking
York Times, November
"This excellent photographic biography… doesn't merely lionize its subject; it also shows Lennon's unpleasant side, including an early anecdote in which he taunts a Jewish piano player with Holocaust remarks. Though easy to read and full of simple declaratives, this isn't a particularly sanitized version of Lennon's life. Partridge cites Lennon's own expletives when needed, and she presents the 1960's, in gorgeous photos and words, without resorting to clichés about paisley prints, peace marches and psychedelia."
Francisco Chronicle, October
"The tip-off that Elizabeth Partridge isn't going to soft-pedal John Lennon's daring and complex life for the kiddies is that she starts her photographic biography "John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth" with the bed-in he staged during his honeymoon with second wife Yoko Ono, the avant-garde artist accused of breaking up the Beatles. "
for the Center of Children's Books, December,
"Separating John Lennon the man from John Lennon the myth is a daunting enterprise, but Partridge manages to accomplish the task with considerable honesty in this engrossing biography of an edgy and enigmatic figure… The striking black-and-white photographs throughout the book are themselves worth the price of admission, tracing the decades pictorially and giving a strong sense of the phenomenon that was John Lennon."
"John Lennon's Aunt Mimi disapproved of his guitar hobby because "you could never make a living 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 Guthrie (2003), her mission is to uncover the person behind the image."
"Partridge presents a captivating portrait of a legendary musician… The book's 140-plus photos effectively augment the narrative and help Partridge deliver what John craved: the truth."
Reviews, September, 2005
"Partridge does a masterful job of placing Lennon's music in the context of his times-the influences of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, as well as the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War and Watergate... Given the massive amount written about the Beatles, separating the man from the myth is a huge challenge, superbly accomplished here, with great attention to documentation."
Horn Book Magazine, Sept/Oct. 2005 "P
"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... 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."
School Library Journal, September, 2005
"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...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."
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
256 Pages, yourng adult.
Softcover ISBN-10: 0670059544
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0670059546
I love researching and writing books, both fiction and nonfiction. I'm fascinated by courageous, artistic people, and ordinary people who do something extraordinary and make a difference.
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New York Times Review