Cover for WIENER: Come Together: John Lennon in His Time. Click for larger image

Come Together

John Lennon in His Time

The iconic musician and the price he paid for speaking out

An engaging look at one of music's most defiantly political figures, Come Together recreates two decades of rock and rebellion by tracing John Lennon's ever-evolving politics from the formation of the Beatles in 1960 to his assassination in 1980. From modest anti-establishment tweaking and a penchant for "more popular than Jesus" pot-stirring, Lennon grew into an influential voice of the peace movement opposed to the Vietnam War. His activism drew the ire of the FBI. In 1972, the Bureau tried to deport Lennon back to Britain--a fabled and failed effort to choke off Lennon's threat to merge his celebrity and music with radical politics. Wiener brilliantly recreates an amazing, impassioned time in American life that saw Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono holding bed-ins for peace, commenting on current events, and recording antiwar anthems like "Imagine." He also astutely observes Lennon's naivete and blind spots while offering details of his own ongoing effort to force the release of Lennon's FBI file by the US government.

"By setting Lennon squarely within his era, Wiener's study is exemplary. Lennon does not appear 'larger than life,' but as passionately involved in it."--Michael S. Kimmel, Newsday

"Stands out as one of the few [books] that don't want to deify, dish the dirt about or otherwise exploit the slain former Beatle. A sympathetic documentary history of Lennon's political thinking (which went through many phases), Come Together says that during the counterculture's flowering, rock music, had real clout in the American political arena. Certainly some government officials thought so, or they wouldn't have initiated deportation proceedings after Lennon aligned himself with the activist left. Jon Wiener . . . obtained twenty-six pounds of FBI and Immigration and Naturalization Service files on Lennon under the Freedom of Information Act, and there is some grim humor in his chapter about this material."--Stephen Holden, New York Times Book Review

"Documents the campaign of surveillance and harassment against Lennon by the FBI and the involvement of the Nixon Administration at the highest levels in ordering and overseeing this campaign. All the deliberate abuses of power revealed in the Watergate scandal make their appearance here as well."--Ian McMahan, American Book Review

"When history professor Jon Wiener made a Freedom of Information request to the federal government for the late John Lennon's file, he could hardly have hoped for a richer payoff."--Time

Jon Wiener is a member of the history department at the University of California at Irvine and the author of Social Origins of the New South.

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