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Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon

3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Fusion Press (30 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1901250431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1901250435
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,710,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Author

There has been much written in the press about the fact that in 1981, under controversial circumstances, I transcribed John Lennon's private diaries. Now, 20 years later, what is being described as my "poignant" and "controversial" book, "Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon," has finally been published to worldwide acclaim. According to the October 2000 issue of "Mojo," it's the #1 rock 'n' roll book in the UK. For this I am grateful.

What I tried to do in "Nowhere Man" is get inside Lennon's head unlike any book ever has. I did this by using my knowledge of his diaries as a road map to the truth. In other words, I tried to tell the truth as John saw it. It was my intention to paint the most honest and emotionally accurate three-dimensional portrait of John Lennon as a human being that I was capable of doing. He comes off as neither a rock 'n' roll saint, as some biographies would have you believe, nor a degenerate murderer who could barely play the guitar, as others suggest. Lennon was a flawed and complicated man. Ultimately, he was The Great Searcher, a man who looked everywhere for The Answer but never found it. By the time you're finished reading "Nowhere Man," you will know how it feels to have been John Lennon, and that is a devastating yet sublime experience.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've been reading quite a lot about John Lennon recently (the new Philip Norman biography, Ray Coleman's Lennon, the two memoirs by his first wife, Cynthia, and Pauline Lennon's Daddy Come Home: The True Story) but this book is the poorest of the lot - it's probably even worse than Geoffrey Ellis's I Should Have Known Better, which is saying something.

Robert Rosen was a 28 year-old New York cabbie and graduate of journalism school when Lennon's personal assistant, Fred Seaman (later fired by Yoko and given five years probation for theft), approached him to collaborate on a book about Lennon. Seaman and Rosen briefly had in their possession the personal diaries of Lennon, but Rosen's notes and the diaries themselves were stolen. Hence, Rosen does not base his account on anything more than his memory of the journals he claims to have read, hearsay, and imagination. Nowhere Man is much more a work of imagination than "investigate journalism" - much more so than Rosen is willing to admit in the opening pages, although he does concede that "I have used no material from the diaries". Since what he writes should not be taken as fact, it is fundamentally misleading of him and his publishers to subtitle the book 'The Final Days of John Lennon'.

Rosen tells us of his attempt to get inside Lennon's mind and lifestyle, which turns out to be unintentionally funny: "I ate the foods that he ate. I fasted. [...] I lived as he would have lived, but without Yoko, without Sean, without a staff of maids, cooks, governesses, chauffeurs, and their assorted servant seers and personal assistants. I lived as he would have lived, but without his Beatle past, without his superstar present, without his $150,000,000". Well, I'm sorry, but then he wasn't living remotely like Lennon was!
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Format: Paperback
The overreaching concern of Robert Rosen's "Nowhere Man" is to let the reader experience "what it was like to be John Lennon" during his career hiatus of 1975-1980. Challenging the "official" notion of this period as a blissful time of house husbandry and bread baking, "Nowhere Man" posits that the once inseperable JohnandYoko had become almost completely estranged; Yoko a "New Age Capitalist Monster", Lennon a lonely and tormented prisoner of his incredible wealth and fame.

Rosen strikes an engagingly Lennonesque balance between poeticism and unswerving directness throughout the book, and is largely sympathetic towards his protagonist, "doing time in a gilded prison". The chapter chronicling the descent into madness of Lennon's assassin is particularly powerful.

Yet the underlying problem with "Nowhere Man" is the other book born out of its controversial genesis: Fred Seaman's The Last Days of John Lennon. Lennon's former personal assistant published his memoir in 1991 after "Project Walrus", the biography he and Rosen were collaborating on using Lennon's stolen journals, collapsed in a maelstrom of acrimony and double-dealings. In Rosen's bitter introduction, he begs the reader's sympathy for the mental anguish he endured after Seaman "robbed" Lennon's journals back from him- a mind-boggling conceit considering Rosen's complicity in their theft.

"Nowhere Man" is essentially a Cliffsnotes version of Seaman's book, which tells exactly the same story in considerably more detail and with none of Rosen's brouhaha about "channelling Lennon's spirit".
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Lennon is portrayed here as an addict, a neurotic, unstable and in the author's own words a compulsive 'wanker'. Rosen felt a duty to portray the side of Lennon we did not see, but like other books on the subject this does not prepare us for the creative rebirth John had in 1980. While largely ignored at the time 'Watching The Wheels' is now seen as a classic and 'Starting Over' plus 'Beautiful Boy' have both become familiar and popular standards. 'Walking on Thin Ice' on which he played and produced is also seen as an avant garde classic. All this churned out in the space of three to four months. Rosen's portrayal of Lennon as a deluded screw-up sits uncomfortably with this lucid, creative vision.
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Format: Paperback
I bought Nowhere Man some time ago and I must say it is a beautifully written book where the author goes through the final days of Lennon. He uses his memories and imagination to show how Lennon lived at the end of his life. Rosen himself warns in the author's note that "Nowhere Man" is a work of investigative journalism and imagination", so he's not cheating anyone. He had the real diaries with him until some dark figure betrayed him, so he had a privileged knowledge into Lennon's final days and thoughts. He was in contact with key figures at the time so I do think it is worth reading. You won't feel you've wasted your money.
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