Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon

"Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon," first published in 2000 and written by New York journalist Robert Rosen, who in 1981 had access to John Lennon’s diaries, is a controversial account of the ex-Beatle’s last five years. The book disputes the official view of Lennon as a contented househusband raising his son Sean and baking bread while Yoko ran the family business. Instead, "Nowhere Man" portrays Lennon’s daily life at the Dakota as that of a "tormented superstar, a prisoner of his fame, locked in his bedroom raving about Jesus Christ, while a retinue of servants tended to his every need."

Rosen says that he used his memory of Lennon’s diaries as “a roadmap to the truth.”

The final part of the book, "The Coda," focuses on the mental disintegration of Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman, and includes "Chapter 27," the so-called missing chapter of J.D. Salinger’s classic novel of disaffected youth, "The Catcher in the Rye," that "inspired" Chapman to murder Lennon. It was Chapman’s goal, according to Rosen, to write Chapter 27 "in Lennon’s blood."

Originally written in 1982, the manuscript remained unpublished for 18 years. Soft Skull Press acquired the rights to the book in 1999 and brought out the hardcover edition the following year. Quick American Archives then picked up the rights and published the paperback edition in 2002.

"Nowhere Man" was a bestseller in the United States (Los Angeles Times, September 3, 2000), England (Mojo, October 2000), and Japan (Amazon.co.jp, October 2000). In 2003, Random House Mondadori brought out a Spanish-language edition in Latin America. The book received extensive coverage and was excerpted in such publications as Proceso, La Jornada, El Universal, Reforma, Semana, Gatopardo, Soho, El Heraldo, El Mercurio, La Tercera, Las Últimas Noticias, and The Clinic. "Nowhere Man" appeared on bestseller lists in Mexico and Colombia.

The other foreign editions were published by DHC (Japan, 2000), Fusion Press (UK, 2000), and Hannibal (Germany, 2001).

The title of the book refers to The Beatles' song "Nowhere Man", as well as to Lennon's assassin.

Rosen’s latest book, "Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography," will be published by Headpress in the United Kingdom in 2010.


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