John Lennon vs. the U.S.A.: The Inside Story of the Most Bitterly Contested and Influential Deportation Case in United States History by Leon Wildes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
John Lennon's musical legend is known worldwide because of what he contributed to music, art and pop culture. What isn't as well known and is often glossed over in biographical details is the legend that he left in the American immigration and legal systems. In John Lennon vs. the USA reader get a first-hand account of just what Lennon's deportation case did for the future of the immigration system in the United States, told from the person that knew the case best, Leon Wildes.
For fans of Lennon's musical side, this book offers little more than a few tidbits about Wildes' personal relationship with the Lennons. However, you do get to see that Lennon truly trusted his lawyer and would do anything for another chance to prove his case, such as signing a shopping bag full of memorabilia for a terminally ill child so his father would testify as an expert in the field of cannabis.
What is really remarkable about this book is the legal case itself, regardless of how famous Wildes' clients had been. Before this case, there were secrets, instructions on how to determine a non-priority case hidden from the public, and an interference from American politics like no other. It is a truly scary thought that a paranoid politician with power could try and do so much to deport a musician who, while on American soil had First Amendment rights, and chose to use them.
The case also led to many first, including utilizing the Freedom of Information Act and leaving a legal legacy to those today who find themselves on the brink of deportation for various reasons. That is why the book seems timely, even if it is talking about a forty-year-old case: Wildes recognized that there were many immigrants, legal and illegal, that were being ignored or even protected when they should have been deported because of criminal acts, while all Lennon was trying to do was live his life in New York City and help find his wife's first child.
This is the kind of book that gives hope to immigrants fighting to stay in the country when they have a case to do so, and it also offers American citizens a glimpse at how lucky they are to have the rights and privileges granted to them because of where they were born—a book that should be required reading for anyone entering immigration law.
*Received a copy of this book through NetGalley
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