The Cynical Idealist: A Spiritual Biography of John Lennon [NOOK Book]

Overview

A radio playlist could easily follow John Lennon’s "Mind Games" with "Do Ya Think I’m Sexy." But comparing the two, it becomes obvious that Lennon had more in common with the great thinkers of any age than with the songwriters who were his contemporaries. Cynical Idealist reveals, for the first time, the spiritual odyssey of this extraordinary man. Out of a turbulent life, from his troubled, working-class childhood throughout his many roles — Beatle, peace advocate, social activist, househusband — Lennon managed ...
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The Cynical Idealist: A Spiritual Biography of John Lennon

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Overview

A radio playlist could easily follow John Lennon’s "Mind Games" with "Do Ya Think I’m Sexy." But comparing the two, it becomes obvious that Lennon had more in common with the great thinkers of any age than with the songwriters who were his contemporaries. Cynical Idealist reveals, for the first time, the spiritual odyssey of this extraordinary man. Out of a turbulent life, from his troubled, working-class childhood throughout his many roles — Beatle, peace advocate, social activist, househusband — Lennon managed to fashion a philosophy that elevates the human spirit and encourages people to work, individually and collectively, toward a better world. Like Socrates, Lennon wanted to stimulate people to think for themselves. "There ain’t no guru who can see through your eyes," he sings in "I Found Out." Cynical Idealist beautifully articulates this and the other lessons John Lennon passed along through his songs and through the example of his life.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
John Lennon will likely be remembered for two things: helping found the Beatles and writing the song “Imagine.” Those accomplishments, however, only scratch the surface of a complex and fascinating life. Writer and artist Tillery explores Lennon’s spirituality as it develops, beginning with childhood traumas, through his time with the Beatles, and finally, in his role as a social activist. Throughout his short life, Lennon fought many existential battles with himself and whatever he thought of as “God.” To interpret Lennon’s spiritual hunger, Tillery draws upon the work of Victor Frankl, the Austrian psychiatrist and WWII death camp survivor who wrote volumes on the importance of people finding meaning in their lives by focusing outward. The author characterizes Lennon as a loving man who, in the latter part of his life, was able to find some semblance of peace and to encourage others to do the same. Lennon searched for and sang about the truth, discarding religious indoctrination and accepted norms when they proved unhelpful. If this is Lennon’s legacy, one could do a lot worse. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

"The closest thing to a post-mortem sofa session. Lennon is sympathetically sliced and projected in the context of his time, leading to a sharp image of a spiritual man who became larger than life while feeling very small. Oh, and readable too.
" --Corjan de Raaf, Singer/Songwriter

"Like most creative people, John Lennon was a complex character, part well-meaning, often starry-eyed idealist, part leather-jacketed teddy boy, with much else thrown in to boot. Whatever your take on him, the thinking-man's Beatle was the first in a cadre of rock stars who used their celebrity as a force for good, anticipating later figures like Bono and Bob Geldof by decades. Lennon's ambivalent relationship with a number of self help/spiritual fads mirrored the shifting moods of more than one generation, and for teenagers like myself coming of age in the 70's, he was the conduit for a number of worthy causes: peace, women's rights, and the painful exploration of the self. Most books on Lennon focus on the skeletons in his closet. This one shows where his heart was." --Gary Lachman, Rock n' Roll Hall of Famer, former bassist for Blondie, and author of Turn Off Your Mind

"John Lennon will likely be remembered for two things: helping found the Beatles and writing the song "Imagine." Those accomplishments, however, only scratch the surface of a complex and fascinating life. Writer and artist Tillery explores Lennon's spirituality as it develops, beginning with childhood traumas, through his time with the Beatles, and finally, in his role as a social activist. Throughout his short life, Lennon fought many existential battles with himself and whatever he thought of as "God." To interpret Lennon's spiritual hunger, Tillery draws upon the work of Victor Frankl, the Austrian psychiatrist and WWII death camp survivor who wrote volumes on the importance of people finding meaning in their lives by focusing outward. The author characterizes Lennon as a loving man who, in the latter part of his life, was able to find some semblance of peace and to encourage others to do the same. Lennon searched for and sang about the truth, discarding religious indoctrination and accepted norms when they proved unhelpful. If this is Lennon's legacy, one could do a lot worse." --Publishers Weekly, Nov. 9, 2009

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780835630375
  • Publisher: Quest Books
  • Publication date: 12/13/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 885,975
  • File size: 816 KB

Meet the Author

A native of the Southwest, Gary Tillery was born in Phoenix in 1947. In 1968-69 he served in Vietnam with the United States Air Force. His enlistment was over in 1970.

After two decades in the business world, primarily as co-owner of an advertising agency in suburban Chicago, he turned his time and energy to his lifelong passion for literature and art. He published a collection of interrelated short stories set in Vietnam titled Darkling Plain, and began a series of humorous novels featuring “soft-boiled” detective Jack Savage—the first two titled Death, Be Not Loud and To An Aesthete Dying Young.

Tillery is also a professional sculptor. His most prominent work is the sculpture for the Vietnam Memorial in Chicago. He also created the bronze bust of Steve Allen for the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood; and through his association with the Rotblatt-Amrany Studio he created, among other works, the life-size bronze of Luis Aparicio at U. S. Cellular Field.
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Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Part 1 The Roots of Rebellion

1 Nowhere Land 11

2 Rock'n' Roll 17

3 Help! 25

Part 2 The Long, Dark Cynical Night

4 God 39

5 Love 51

6 Meditation 61

7 Cynicism 71

Part 3 Life as a Work of Art

8 Reborn Artist 87

9 Peace Advocate 99

10 Social Activist 109

11 Househusband 123

Part 4 Cynical Idealism

12 Superstars 135

13 Mind Games 143

14 Imagine 151

15 Shining On 157

Epilogue 167

Chronology 169

Notes 173

Bibliography 187

Index 193

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Compleat John Lennon

    Gary Tillery has managed in this concise book to offer us a quality biography of the musical giant John Lennon, a biography as sensitive as any in print. Not only does he share the details of Lennon's chaotic childhood, suggesting the factors that built his adult self as an artist who was driven to discover the meaning in a world that seem to lack meaning. But wisely Tillery spends enough time with the personal traumas as well as the germinal events the resulted in the formation of the singing group the Beatles (a clever reference to the Beat generation in altering the beetle spelling!) and the changes that occurred with fame. The book also has a superb chronology that allows the reader to follow the important phases in this man's life and career.

    But the book is not only a fine biography that makes the reader revisit the heyday of the Beatles, it goes much further than that. Tillery uses his matrix of an artist's life to unveil the development of the man who would become a popular philosopher especially among young people asking the same questions that Lennon explored. His wise but common street talk and his actions delved into the important issues of his time - challenging authority and instead searching for our own reality, that reality that allows of self-transformation, fostering the concept of world peace, supporting feminism, and changing the things we feel need revision. Though these ideals may sound simplistic, in Lennon's words and actions he stood for the kind of being that cared for mankind and would settle for nothing less than self improvement and involvement in the deeds that would improve not only his time but also the future.

    What makes Gary Tillery's THE CYNICAL IDEALIST: A SPIRITUAL BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN LENNON important is the manner in which he writes: clarity of prose, reality of expression of analyses, and commitment to honor an important man of our times. As Tillery points out the other peace leaders - Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. - met the same end as Lennon, death by assassination or murder. Without resorting to puffery or hero worship, Tillery places Lennon's accomplishments with the arts as well as with the framework of political upheaval of his day to reveal a man who will be remembered not only for his prodigious talent, but also for his influence on philosophical thinking. This is a fine book that deserves wide readership.

    Grady Harp

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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