Half of What I Say: Book Review: Ray Connolly’s Being John Lennon: A Restless Life

A rule of thumb in Roman history involves diligent analysis of the memoirs from one of its greatest, most famous figures: Julius Caesar. It is widely acknowledged among historians that Caesar’s recollections habitually overestimated the strength of his enemy’s numbers, ensuring that his own military victories appeared that much more impressive. For students and historians of Rome, this requires analyzing Caesar’s memoirs – such as The Conquest of Gaul – with an acknowledgement of that habit of self-serving hyperbole. Indeed, Gilbert Garraghan could very well have had Caesar in mind when describing, in A Guide to Historical Method, a habit of exaggeration as an element that historians must acknowledge in those sources that possess it.

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The Brothers McCartney: Book Review: The Macs

One of the criticisms various Beatles fans leveled at Mark Lewisohn’s Tune In is the relative lack of attention paid to the death of Mary McCartney. The event, its emotional aftermath, and the presumed psychological and emotional consequences it had on her widower, Jim, youngest son, Mike, and, oldest son, Paul, receives roughly half of the page coverage devoted to the death of Julia Lennon. For a Beatles historiography which has tended, over the decades, to zero in on John’s trauma while seemingly neglecting that of the band’s other members – Ringo’s childhood health struggles, for example – this lack of equal page time from the band’s preeminent historian on a subject which many fans felt had already been inadequately explored left them disappointed.

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Lennon vs. McCartney: A Flawed Lens

In February, I will be giving a small, 45 minute presentation at one of Wichita’s history museums: The Museum of World Treasures, for their Coffee with the Curator series. This is the second time they’ve asked me to do a presentation on the Beatles. The last time I gave an overview of the band’s history and historiography: basically, I provided a rough outline of my book. This time, I want to discuss something more in-depth: The Lennon vs. McCartney schism which has had such a fundamental impact on the band’s historiography.

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