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George Harrison: Living in the Material World

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

4.8 4
by Olivia Harrison, Mark Holborn (Editor), Martin Scorsese (Foreword by), Paul Theroux (Introduction)

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Drawing on George Harrison’s personal archive of photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia, Olivia Harrison reveals the arc of his life, from his guitar-obsessed boyhood in Liverpool, to the astonishment of the Beatles years, to his days as an independent musician and bohemian squire. Here too is the record of Harrison’s lifelong commitment to


Drawing on George Harrison’s personal archive of photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia, Olivia Harrison reveals the arc of his life, from his guitar-obsessed boyhood in Liverpool, to the astonishment of the Beatles years, to his days as an independent musician and bohemian squire. Here too is the record of Harrison’s lifelong commitment to Indian music, and his adventures as a movie producer, Traveling Wilbury, and Formula One racing fan. The book is filled with stories and reminiscences from Harrison’s friends, including Eric Clapton, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and many, many others. Among its previously unpublished riches are photographs taken by Harrison himself beginning in the mid-1960s. It is a rich tribute to a man who died far too young, but who touched the lives of millions.

Praise for George Harrison: Living in the Material World:

“The ‘quiet’ Beatle’s widow draws on photos, letters, and memorabilia to evoke a living, breathing portrait of the man who sought a more spiritual life after experiencing the riches that came with fame. The book is tied to the HBO documentary directed by Martin Scorsese.” —USA Today

“George was the quiet Beatle, so it’s a real magical mystery tour to peer behind the scenes with this nearly four-hundred-page book.” —New York Post

“Seems well worth putting on your coffee table.” —Huffington Post 

“Fans of George Harrison, the quiet Beatle who died in 2001, will lap up George Harrison: Living in the Material World, by his second wife, Olivia.” —Bloomberg.com

“The four-hundred-page book is filled with reproductions of notes, letters, scribbled lyrics, and some never-before-seen photographs. How many Beatles fans are out there? And how many ‘liked George’? Quite a few, it may turn out: the book debuts at number 24 on our extended nonfiction bestseller list this week, in its first week on sale.”
 —Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

This tribute to "the quiet Beatle" is overseen by his wife and longtime partner. The photographs, letters, diaries, and other memorabilia from the family's archives and reminiscences are supplemented by reminiscences by the two surviving Beatles and other close friends.

David Garber

Kirkus Reviews
Highly personal photos, letters and commentary illuminate the extraordinary life and times of late Beatles guitarist and songwriter George Harrison (1943–2001). In this highly revealing book, fans will see the world the way Harrison saw it--largely through his own camera lens. Here we have Harrison looking out on the bleak brick-and-mortar streets of postwar Liverpool, England, and readers, like him, have absolutely no indication that this is the start of something incredible. It's just George, his mum and dad, his brothers and a couple of school chums who have come around to bang on guitars. Quickly, however, things change and Harrison is suddenly looking out on a throng of guys and gals gleefully packed into a tight underground club in Hamburg, Germany. Delightfully innocent letters home accompanying these shots brim with unrestrained awe and excitement about the whole thing. In no time at all, it seems, Harrison was hanging out with music icons, yogis, race-car drivers and movie directors. He packed a lot of living into his 58 years, taking on the role of rock star, spiritual seeker, movie mogul, racing enthusiast, philanthropist and even gardener--not to mention loving husband, father and friend. This collection from Harrison's widow Olivia--a companion to the HBO documentary directed by Martin Scorsese--depicts each of these impressive incarnations with remarkable clarity. Accompanying commentary from friends including Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar, Eric Idle and others help round out the intimate portrait. Harrison consistently strove for a higher plane of existence, but he was also something of a rascal (and Monty Python acolyte) who abhorred authority, pomposity and hypocrisy in all its forms. These insightful photographs succeed in reaching past the laconic expression Harrison seemed to favor at times, and exposing the glint in his eye. A rare and revelatory look at a rock legend.

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 10.80(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
Up to 18 Years

Meet the Author

Olivia Harrison is a producer and philanthropist. She has received a Grammy Award for her video of the 2002 Concert for George, which she organized to benefit the Material World Charitable Foundation in memory of her husband, George Harrison; and a UNICEF Spirit of Compassion Award in recognition of her family’s assistance to the children of Bangladesh. Mark Holborn is a distinguished editor of illustrated books, who has worked with numerous photographers and artists, from Annie Leibovitz to Lucian Freud.

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George Harrison 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
RichBuskin More than 1 year ago
A magnificent book, full of absolutely incredible photos that were never intended for public consumption. Kudos to Olivia Harrison for doing this - it has to be one of THE major Beatles-related books alongside their own 'Anthology' and Mark Lewisohn's body of work on the group, including his forthcoming multi-volume bio. That having been said, 'Living in the Material World' is not without its flaws: many of the captions are weak - yes, the photos largely speak for themselves, but with expert input there could have been more precise dating and, in certain cases, useful observations and background info. (Just one of many examples is a terrific 1963 side-on stage shot of the band that includes the back of someone watching quietly from the wings. What many readers possibly won't realize, and what makes this photo all the more significant, is that the man is their devoted road manager Neil Aspinall who would later run their company, Apple. It would have been worthwhile pointing this out, along with numerous other helpful tidbits.) Also, conspicuous by her omission is George's first wife Pattie, who was by his side during the most eventful decade of his life. The one group photo in which she does appear has her listed as Pattie Boyd at a time when she was Pattie Harrison. That, however, is it as far as she's concerned. Even a close-up portrait of George at their Kinfauns home that was almost certainly taken by Pattie is credited only to the "Harrison family." Her absence cannot have been a mere oversight; more likely, it speaks to bad blood between the two wives, which is unfortunate since it results in a major aspect of George's life being excluded from this otherwise comprehensive, beautifully produced and truly outstanding book.
BeatleBangs1964 More than 1 year ago
"I want to tell you, my head is filled with things to say." -- George Harrison, 1966 This is without a doubt the most beautiful and longest awaited biography of George Harrison to date! This is a rare gem of a book and readers are treated to input from George's sisters-in-law; brothers; sister; fellow Beatles and other friends and his loving wife, Olivia. I especially loved the previously unpublished photographs of George as a young child and those of various French and Harrison family members. It was plain that George was created by love and literally born into love. From 1965-1969, Louise Harrison lent her voice to a column in a newsletter in a fan club newsletter honoring her son. Readers are treated to postcards George wrote Louise and other family members; his drawings from his school workbooks and his own observations about his life during the inception of rock & roll, which was a touchstone period in his boyhood. George's lifelong friendship with Ravi Shankar, whom he met in 1965 is well-chronicled, as is his passion for gardening, a gift he inherited from both Harold Sr. and Louise French. This book is a MUST HAVE for all Beatle fans and Harrison fans in particular.
Beatleboy1968 More than 1 year ago
Nice new book with never before seen pictures and copies of hand written notes. A must for the Harrison fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago