Lennon Legend: An Illustrated Life of John Lennon

by James Henke
ISBN: 0811835170

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A Review of: Lennon Legend: An Illustrated Life of John Lennon
by Greg Gatenby

Lennon Legend by James Henke demonstrates wonderful design. Indeed, the complexity of the design is a principal facet of the book as a whole. The text is a straightforward account of the biographical facts of Lennon's life. Not being a Beatlemaniac, I cannot say whether superior biographies exist. But there can be no better book constructed in homage to John Lennon. The inner sleeve of this slipcased hardback contains a pocket holding a CD of Lennon speaking about his life and work. Nothing too exceptional about that. But that is where the ordinary ends and the awesome begins. The next few pages alone feature a waxpaper-enclosed facsimile of Lennon's handwritten song "In My Life", life-sized, foldout facsimiles of drawings he did as a kid, intriguingly-tucked away facsimiles of report cards (so real you'd swear you were holding the original), and life-like copies of playbills, posters, and programmes. The sheer number of cubbyholes and gatefolds and partially-hidden envelopes rivals those of the books produced by Nick Bantock, although in this case the items are reproductions of the real-world, and any Beatles or Lennon collector is bound to discover ephemera long thought to have been lost. But it would be wrong to suggest that the tactile charms of this book will please only Lennon fans. Anyone who loves books as books-as physical objects-will savour the palpable delights this book offers solely through its remarkable design.

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