John Lennon


New York, December 8, 1980: The announcement shocked the world. Beatles founder and legendary musician John Lennon had been murdered in front of his New York home. With no warning, a lone gunman opened fire, shooting Lennon in the back just as Lennon returned from a recording session with his wife, Yoko Ono. Husband, father of two, cultural icon, and hero to millions, Lennon was dead.

Around the globe, people mourned the loss of a man who had ...

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New York, December 8, 1980: The announcement shocked the world. Beatles founder and legendary musician John Lennon had been murdered in front of his New York home. With no warning, a lone gunman opened fire, shooting Lennon in the back just as Lennon returned from a recording session with his wife, Yoko Ono. Husband, father of two, cultural icon, and hero to millions, Lennon was dead.

Around the globe, people mourned the loss of a man who had stood for peace, a man who had given so much joy to the world through his gift of music. No one had seen it coming...except one man—Mark David Chapman, Lennon's assassin.

What drove this former Beatles fan to commit such a terrible act? Follow the lives of both Lennon and Chapman, learn about the political and cultural settings in which both grew up, and trace—step by excruciating step—the final moments of John Lennon's life.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Sharon Martin
John Lennon, the Beatles, Mark David Chapman—for today's youth these names might be vaguely familiar, but even those familiar with them can learn something from Death Of A Dreamer. This is an excellent, albeit whirlwind, introduction to the Beatles (which also touches on the Cold War, Vietnam, the Kennedy assassination, Kent State, and Watergate) culminating in the assassination of John Lennon. While much information is packed into this slim volume, the author presents it clearly and concisely while putting it all into historical context. After reviewing Lennon's life and setting the historical stage, Behnke details the life of his killer, Mark David Chapman. Once Chapman collides with Lennon, the aftermath is explored. Chapman's motivation, trial, and the global reaction are detailed, up to and including the present time. Chapman and his behavior are presented factually and nonjudgmentally. The conclusion is that there are no clear-cut answers to explain his actions. While this small book covers a lot of territory, it does it well. A wealth of information is presented, explained, and connected. There is enough here to learn basic facts but also enough to pique your interest in pursuing more. Consider this an excellent introduction to an era of history through the lens of John Lennon. Reviewer: Sharon Martin
Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
This extremely well-research biography of the life and death of John Lennon provides those who are very familiar with Lennon as well as those younger readers who simply know that he's a Beatle with an intriguing glimpse of the legend as well as the man who killed him. While the first part of the book focuses on Lennon, his life in general, and then his specific words and stands on the various issues of the day, the following sections give just as much time to Lennon's killer—Mark David Chapman—and the twisted logic and mental instability that brought the two men together on that fateful evening outside the Dakota. The aptly titled Chapter 5, "Postmortem," focuses on the aftermath of the killing, including public reaction and the main question on everyone's mind—was Mark David Chapman legally insane? Chapman's eventual decision to plead guilty to the murder and his subsequent parole hearings offer additional insight into Chapman's thinking on the fateful night. The final sections of the text highlight Lennon's impact today—a timeline that begins with John Lennon's birth and ends in 2011, and a who's who of some of the famous names in the book for teens today who may not be as familiar with the Beatles. A well-developed bibliography and source notes provide additional insight for those who might be interested in learning more about Lennon or the Beatles. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
Kirkus Reviews
Twin narratives converge in New York City on December 8, 1980, when John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman. Behnke calls the murder an assassination, and by the general definition of the word--"to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack, often for political reasons"--the murder of John Lennon might qualify. Lennon was political by the end of his life, writing "Give Peace a Chance," which became the anthem of the peace movement, but he was hardly a revolutionary, as Behnke terms him. Chapman was not especially political, and he didn't really seem to know why he attacked Lennon; it was certainly not from any well-thought-out political motives, as the author herself describes. The volume will have plenty of eye appeal for young readers, though, with its lively (if overdone) black-and-white design, well-chosen photographs and thorough backmatter that includes a handy timeline and a "Who's Who?" section. The writing is mostly clear, though occasionally awkward and too often interrupted by unnecessary definitions and asides. It's an adequate starter book for readers a bit young for Elizabeth Partridge's John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth (2005). A good first volume for a new generation of John Lennon fans. (source notes, bibliography, for further information, index, about the author) (Nonfiction. 11-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822590361
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/2012
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,451,968
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 940L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Marie Behnke is an author and editor of books for children and young adults, as well as a photographer. Her books include biographies such as Jack Kerouac and Pope John Paul II and social studies titles including The Little Black Dress and Zoot Suits: Depression and Wartime Fashions from the 1930s to the 1950s, Kim Jong Il's North Korea, and The Conquests of Alexander the Great. She loves to read, write, and travel. She lives in Minneapolis.

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