John Lennon’s politics and social activism is honored in new book

December 3, 2013


The Walrus and the Elephants: John Lennon’s Years of Revolution by journalist James Mitchell is on sale today. In this unique look at John Lennon’s early years in New York and his budding social activism, we can see another side of the legendary musician, one that embraced feminism, passionately spoke out against the Vietnam War, and cared deeply about the social causes of the day.

When John Lennon moved to New York City in late 1971 he left behind a life of luxury, pop superstardom, and a need to repress his anti-war sentiments and political opinions. As he and Yoko Ono settled into their new lives in Greenwich Village, they embraced the vibrant subculture, the hippie radicals, the street musicians, and the many political and social causes that were energizing the people of New York and America.

In The Walrus and the Elephants Mitchell takes us behind the scenes into the most fascinating and underreported era of Lennon’s life, offering a front-row seat to his transformation from apolitical pop icon to revolutionary social activist.

Featuring exclusive interviews with activists including Gloria Steinem, congressional black caucus cofounder Ron Dellums, ‘Chicago Seven’ veteran Rennie Davis, counterculture icon Paul Krassner, and poet-activist John Sinclair, The Walrus and the Elephants is the first book about John Lennon to show how his emergence as a solo artist, his embrace of radical politics and feminism, and his love affair with New York City coincided. Through new research and in-depth interviews with those who witnessed Lennon’s transformation firsthand, Mitchell reveals the thoughtful, generous, and politically engaged side of one of the world’s most legendary artists.

If you are in New York, don’t miss the 33rd Annual John Lennon Tribute concert at Symphony Space this Friday, December 6th at 8pm, with performances by Betty LaVette, Steve Earle and many more! Seven Stories will be there selling copies of The Walrus and the Elephants.

“James Mitchell carefully and lovingly has reconstructed an inspiring and poignant chapter both in John Lennon’s odyssey and in the tangled flow of the American anti-war and other protest movements of the late nineteen sixties and early seventies. The Walrus and The Elephants is an indispensable window into an amazing time in American history and the history of rock and roll.” —Danny Goldberg, author of Bumping Into Geniuses

“This book serves as a backstage pass to the missing link between Lennon’s music and his activism, ranging from decriminalization of marijuana to termination of undeclared war—both ends of that spectrum fueled by the government’s misuse of power without compassion—revealing how the Nixon administration tried to silence him.” —Paul Krassner, author of Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counterculture

“Lennon is one of the most documented individuals in modern culture, yet never before has this early New York period of his history been examined with greater depth and clarity.”–Lee Ranaldo, co-founder of Sonic Youth

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