Well, no. The reason was that every subject to which Goldman seriously took his scythe (here Lennon and Epstein and elsewhere Elvis Presley) was dead. It is a principle of defamation law around the world that you can't slander the dead.
The same reader also said, "Goldman took rock biography into the realms of serious literature. No other rock writer except Lester Bangs even comes close." Absolute nonsense. Not only does Goldman's work not even pretend to be serious literature, the field of rock writing is well endowed with outstanding literature. There are too many to mention.
As for this book, well, it's true Albert Goldman aims deliberately, maliciously below the belt, and he hits hard. It's also true his (deceased) subjects cannot hit back. My guess is he is right as often as he is wrong, but inevitably it's impossible to judge; you have to take - or refuse, as you see fit - the author's word for it.
The Lives of John Lennon is a very entertaining book to read, unless one of your sacred cows happens to be John Lennon. It also works on a far more important level: somehow (mostly by dint of getting shot) Lennon has acquired amongst people who should know better cult status as some sort of Messianic perfect citizen of the world. He was nothing of the sort. He was frequently a horrible little man. Imagine, far from being a defining anthem of our time, is a vaccuous and hypocritical pile of tripe.
Albert Goldman, for all his insidiousness and for all his trite attempts to be highbrow, makes these points very well indeed.
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