“The John Lennon Letters,” (also available in the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Canada) which hits the streets Oct. 9 when he would have turned 72, is a birthday gift to us all. The massive 392 page book is filled with almost 300 letters and documents dating from his childhood to the day of his death, including what was possibly his final autograph.

These aren't just a pile of papers from unimportant times in his life. There are letters written while the Beatles were in Hamburg, during the days of Beatlemania and on his own after the Beatles had broken up.

But the marvelous thing about the book, which was compiled by author Hunter Davies, who wrote the Beatles' authorized biography, is the pure emotion contained in the letters. And while Lennon was often thought of very imaginative and hard and there are examples of that, the book shows he could also be very tender.

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