GEORGE HARRISON by Olivia Harrison
Kirkus Star


Living In the Material World
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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.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0220-4
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2011


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