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Baird, daughter of John Lennon's mother Julia and her second husband, has written a memoir that comes as a revelation. She describes the warm, close-knit relationships in Lennon's extended family and his frequent visits to his extraordinary mother, who painted, sang, played banjo, and helped John learn the guitar but tragically died young. (Lennon lived at the time with his Aunt Mimi.) Baird thus presents a side of Lennon kept hidden from a public that usually saw only his outrageous creativity. Particularly revealing is her account of John's reaching back to his Liverpool family in his later years. A more penetrating book than Cynthia Lennon's A Twist of Lennon (Avon, 1986). Based on Lennon's personal archives, which Yoko Ono has opened for the first time, Imagine: John Lennon is the most personal, evocative portrait of Lennon yet produced in picture-book format. Family snapshots are combined with the works of major photographers and complemented by commentary from Lennon and the friends and family closest to him. Companion to a film by David Wolper that is being released simultaneously, Imagine would have had greater impact and depth had it not relied so heavily on the film but instead developed a more comprehensive text. Still, it is a powerful book, and the film may create heavy demand. Both books are highly recommended. This is the season for Lennon: Morrow published Albert Goldman's The Lives of John Lennon in September. Ed. Daniel J. Lombardo, The Jones Lib., Inc., Amherst, Mass. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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In this pictorial biography of John Lennon, which includes 250-plus photos accompanied by quotes (Lennon's own and those of people who knew him) Lennon is all but canonized. We see him as a boy in his school uniform; as a teenage performer with George and Paul; with his first wife, Cynthia, and with their son, Julian; also with his and Yoko's son, Sean. There are snaps of Lennon on holiday with Ringo; Lennon playing pool and guitar; shots of the Beatles on stage with Ed Sullivan and practicing TM with the Maharishi; depictions of John and Yoko in bed, in studios and at home, in New York, London and Paris. The book deceivingly attempts to gentrify an iconoclastic, controversial, working-class hero and the counterculture he espoused, smoothing out the rough spotsand it is also the ``exclusive tie-in to the major Warner Bros. motion picture of the same name,'' written and directed by the authors. 250,000 first printing; first serial to Rolling Stone; Literary Guild featured alternate (October) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved