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Living in the Material World: George Harrison

4.38  ·  Rating Details ·  1,254 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
Drawing on George Harrison’s personal archive of photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia, Olivia Harrison reveals the arc of his life, from his guitar-obsessed boyhood in Liverpool, to the astonishment of the Beatles years, to his days as an independent musician and bohemian squire. Here too is the record of Harrison’s lifelong commitment to Indian music, and his ad ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
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Oct 29, 2011 Jamison rated it liked it
if you love george harrison, you'll love this book.

if you love pictures of sixties celebrities, candid in everyday life, you'll love this book.

if you've wanted to know everything about george harrison's love for car racing, but almost nothing about his life with olivia and patti, then you'll love this book.

large book, comparable to the book version of "beatles anthology", right down to transcripts of the interviews in the documentaries.
Oct 06, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, non-fiction
Loyalty dictates that I should give this beautiful book 5 starts, but there were a few flaws that dampened my overall enjoyment. While the images are splendid, there seem to be gaps in the “narrative,” such as the mid-years of the Beatles (perhaps because Patti Boyd was on the scene?) and the final decade or so of George’s life. I did love the Travelling Wilburys studio shots, though I wish there had been more, and I skipped the handful of pages dealing with George’s love of racing. My favorite ...more
Nov 22, 2011 Eve rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Beatles fans, coffee table book collectors
Ostensibly the companion to the Martin Scorsese documentary, this book doesn't rehash the film. Instead, it is a beautiful collection of photographs of and by George, from childhood to his last years.

While John Lennon's late life is characterized as 'John the bread baker' or 'John the house husband,' George definitely is 'George the gardener'—and yet an unspoken role is that of George the photographer. Easily half of the photos are by his hand: unposed, casual snaps full of vibrancy and life an
Jan 28, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Michael by: Olivia Harrison...indirectly of course
Most of the pictures and quotes by George and others are post fab-four. George's second and last wife Olivia put together a nice tribute to our George. Hare Krishna......mgc

after thought....seeing George in the water in near proximity to my profile pic helps me see another thing I share with George...swimming.
Oct 05, 2011 Amy rated it liked it
This spare coffee-table tome is the companion book to the Martin Scorsese documentary. It has lots of nice pictures and some fascinating letters reprinted, but there's not much text (unlike the companion book to the Anthology series, which was chock full of goodies). This book might be better if you've seen the documentary, which I haven't yet, but on its own you'd really have to be a hardcore Beatles nerd like me to follow the chronology or understand the significance of the people in the photo ...more
The five-star rating is for hardcore Beatles fans only, who will find a wealth of pictures previously unpublished to sate their desire for even more views of Beatles. Others may or may not care for the mix of photos (yes, lots of them, many taken by George himself) and comments about Harrison by his friends and fellow travelers.

I wouldn't buy it, but it was a great read. If I learned nothing else, I learned that George really DID garden, day and night. My grandmother would've been proud.
May 10, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is a must get for any George Harrison and/or Beatles fans!!! :D This book is a tie-in for the Martin Scorsese film with the same name and it's just fantastic!!! :D The pictures Olivia used and all the quotes from all of George's family, friends, and George himself are just so great!!! :D George has always been my favorite Beatle since I was 2-years-old in the late 80s, and I still feel like I keep learning more about him. He was so layered and the book shows all the different sides to ...more
Tony Nielsen
Oct 16, 2011 Tony Nielsen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
For anyone with any affinity for the Beatles, or simply George Harrison for that matter, this is BRILLIANT. So yes, I am still a Beatles fan, and it has become more apparent over the years that Harrison's input into their sound was under-rated at the time. No matter it was fun to see his life so lovingly portrayed in this magnificent book. The depth of coverage is astounding, and many of the photos sensational. It's a coffe table book that will be a conversation starter for sure. Can't wait to s ...more
Angela Joyce
Jun 03, 2014 Angela Joyce rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies, fun
This is a beautiful work full of pictures I hadn't seen in other Beatles-related books, along with excellent quotes. Whatever George Harrison's human frailties may have been (these are briefly touched on in the Martin Scorsese documentary of the same title), there must have been something quite special about him to have had such longtime, devoted friends. The book gives one the feeling of having known him, just a little, and wishing he was still around to make more music and do more gardening.
Aaron Badgley
Feb 21, 2014 Aaron Badgley rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, excellent biography based on an equally brilliant documentary and CD.
This is essential for George Harrison fans.
Debra Daniels-zeller
Oct 22, 2013 Debra Daniels-zeller rated it it was amazing
I'd always been more interested in George and John in The Beatles, so when this book came out, I'd wanted to read it. I'm not sure what took me so long, but I read the book and then watched the documentary with the same title. The book is filled with lots of photos, letters to George's parents and other correspondence and interesting details about his relationships, his spiritual roots, gardening and guitar playing. With clips from interviews with friends, musicians and bandmates like Paul McCar ...more
Fran Toolan
Nov 04, 2011 Fran Toolan rated it it was amazing
This book is a work of art in every respect. The subject (George Harrison) is a work of art, as is his legacy.

Living in the Material World is a coffee-table-like book full of well organized photos and interview snippets. Many of the photos were taken by George himself and the book is more of a diary of his life rather than a biography. It chronicles many aspects of Georges life that were previously unknown to me.

The book is a companion to Martin Scorcese's documentary of the same name, and many
May 07, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Beatles/Music/Pop Culture fans. A splendid time is guaranteed for all
This is for the iBooks ebook edition:

Marvelous! Great pics and stories with short audio/video clips throughout. A joy.

Not a comprehensive biography, as mentioned by several others, but stands on it's own. If you are any more than a passing fan you'll probably know most of the stories. Sounds like the film might fill in some details; I haven't seen it.

The ebook is cool, many more than 5 stars, it is the formatting that suffers. Text font and color are not changeable; grey text on a white backgrou
Carrie Dye
Jan 02, 2012 Carrie Dye rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
I enjoyed flipping through coffee table size memory book about George Harrison and reading the notes his friends, wife and son wrote about him. It is mostly pictures from his life and it is an elegant companion to the Martin Scorcese film. George is one my favorite guitar players - so creative and melodic. I think he expressed his emotion and spiritually through his playing. He also totally "got" the Indian spiritual side when he went with the Beatles to meet Maharishi. He also was a follower of ...more
Hassan AlHejaili
Mar 25, 2015 Hassan AlHejaili rated it it was ok
I got the book "Living in the Material World: George Harrison" with a documentary directed by Martin Scorsese under the same title in the summer of 2012, and I didn't like either of them. The film was too long. It didn't surprise me with new information. It didn't say a lot about the inner spiritual side of George Harrison. On the other side, the book has very cool footage of George Harrison. Therefore, if you like old footage, 60s culture, or George Harrison's face you would like the book, but ...more
Jun 04, 2015 Liliana rated it it was amazing
George Harrison is a man who inspires me greatly, his spirituality is something to be envied. His spirit was so gentle and kind so throughout this book as you go along the journey of his life, you see him become someone. This book is filled with plenty of wonderful pictures and documents along with some quotes from family and friends. It was such a pleasure to discover George in this book.

It's short and sweet. Simply fascinating. I recommend this book to any Harrison fans. It's such a interestin
Overall, pretty good had a lot of cool pictures to go along with quotes that George said about his life or that people had said about George. It was good that I have read past books about George because otherwise it may have been confusing. Furthermore as I expected it did not touch on his life with Pattie, since this book was produced by his second wife Olivia. It gives you better insight of who George was as a person from these little stories and interactions people had with him. However for b ...more
Jun 26, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it
This was a very good insight into the life of George Harrison. While it may not be anything mind-blowing for your average Beatles fan, it paints a nice picture of the person George truly was. There are a lot of fantastic pictures that show just about anything worth noting in his life, from his early days all the way to the end. The only flaw is that it was sometimes lacking in the text department. Overall, though, this is a comprehensive and interesting look into the life of George Harrison that ...more
Jun 23, 2013 Raymond rated it it was amazing
This is truly a beautiful homage to George Harrison's life story. Told through, mostly his own, photos and quotes. Featuring pictures from his early friendship with McCartney and Lennon and the Beatles, his difficulties with fame and life as an ex-Beatle, to spiritual searching and parenthood, the entries are a glimpse of the not-so-public "quiet Beatle", allowing us to see his religious beliefs as he lived them. A rewarding read for anyone with an interest in the Beatles, George Harrison himsel ...more
Karen Yelton-Curtis
Feb 03, 2016 Karen Yelton-Curtis rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Every once in a while I need a good dose of pop culture -- this book fit the bill. It was recommended in a book catalog that I receive for its "scrapbook quality". The text moves from Harrison's childhood to his involvement with The Beatles and life after the group's breakup. While reinforcing some details that I recalled, the book also provided insight into Harrison's interests with musical experimentation as well as his forays into film production.
Arief Wicaksono
Dec 25, 2013 Arief Wicaksono rated it really liked it
It's really an interesting perspective on paradox of George Harrison spirituality surrounded (and often swallowed) by aggressive and expansive materialism, in which he'd been successfully taming them through elegant altruism. Yet, thing the book didn't tell specifically, how is George financial security, which represents the materialism, that allowed peace in mind of his devoted spirituality life. This will be an interesting discussion and relevant to the current situation...
Feb 04, 2012 Hollie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My undying love for the Beatles lead to a vastly growing love for George Harrison! This book is a wonderful representation of his life through pictures, many of which haven't been shown before. The book shows George from a young age right until his sad death in 2001; paying particular depth to his love of the Indian culture and his life after the Beatles. I loved this book and highly recommend it to all George and Beatles lovers!
Jun 20, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it
Beautiful coffee table book for George Harrison fans. The reason I'm not giving it five stars is that most of the great photos and quotes in this book are already in the Scorsese documentary. (And I would've loved a photo of the McLaren F1 in its entirety.) I recommend this book for completists only.
Dec 07, 2011 Rachy rated it really liked it
Definitely a companion piece or supplement to the recent documentary. I had read bits of Pattie Boyd's memoir, where I learned she was interested in photography. But that is also true of George. Even if you're not a Beatles fan, you have to admit he took some cool pics. Highly recommended for people interested not just in music history but also photography.
Annette Reynolds
May 06, 2014 Annette Reynolds rated it it was amazing
Beautiful companion book to Martin Scorsese's film about George Harrison. If you're a true fan, you'll want this volume filled with "new" photos and great quotations from friends, family, and George himself. If you don't know much about him, watch the movie first.

This book could've been THREE volumes and I still would've wanted more...
Robin Jackim
Feb 13, 2013 Robin Jackim rated it liked it
Nice coffee table book for fans of George Harrison or The Beatles. It is a quick read with lots of excellent large format photos. It provides some insight into the life of George Harrison. Not an in depth biography by any means, but a look at some of the things that were important to the man, and maybe a bit of a look at how he thought about it all.
Andrew Doran
May 06, 2012 Andrew Doran rated it really liked it
Gorgeous collection of photos and quotes of and about George Harrison. I've read a lot of Beatle-related books and so many of these photos were new to me. Great presentation. Some of the chronology leaps around a bit but they do well to cover the cornerstones of George's life in 400 pages as well as keeping a feeling of intimacy.
Nov 12, 2012 Chris rated it liked it
This is more a scrapbook, with lots and lots of pictures of George Harrison and his life. There are postcards that he wrote to his family, and then there are comments from people that knew him. As it is put together by his 2nd wife, there is nothing in the book about his first wife, Patty Boyd. I enjoyed all the pictures and learning more about his life.
George Bradford
Feb 25, 2012 George Bradford rated it really liked it
A beautiful book. 400 pages of images, observations and recollections from (and about) George Harrison. This is not a traditional biography. But it is a joyful celebration of Harrison's life. And I thoroughly enjoyed spending George Harrison's birthday reading -- and spending time with -- this book.
Aug 15, 2012 Joyce rated it really liked it
Shelves: beatles
If you're a fan of George Harrison, you're gonna like this book. Mostly the book conveys the person he really was through pictures, personal writings and memories by his close friends and family. It's a wonderful tribute/reflecion of a talented and beautiful person.
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