"From ABBA To Mamma Mia" may be a little bit expensive but this book is definitely worth its money. The pictures were taken by longtime ABBA- friend Anders Hanser and the story was written by Carl Magnus Palm who is also responsible for "The Complete Recording Sessions". And this is a big plus because in this book you don't read the usual gossip about catfights and nervous breakdowns- instead you get solid information about the work of ABBA, their story and who they really are. Anders Hanser was as close to the group as a photographer can possibly be and therefore there are many pictures that show ABBA behind the scenes, without make- up or even at private parties.
What ought to be of interest to an ABBA fan is that the photos in this book are quite revealing. How often was it pointed out that Agnetha and Frida did not get on very well- but the pictures printed here tell a different story. You see the two women embracing each other and smiling happily into the camera, you see them backstage before the "Dick Cavett meets ABBA"-show helping each other with their clothes, their make-up, hugging each other. There are also photos from Stig Andersons 50th birthday party with Agnetha and Frida as part of a ladies choir- and dancing next to Agnetha is no one else but Lena Kallersjö, Björn's second wife. So one gets to learn that even those two didn't hate each other.And that is the wonderful thing about this book- by looking at the pictures you realize how many of those speculations during ABBA's heyday were false and untrue.
The quality of "From ABBA To Mamma Mia" is quite astonishing. The lay-out is perfect, with the four letters on the cover printed in silver and the pictures are simply beautiful. You want to look at them again and again because you see snapshots from a video-shooting that you have never seen before or photos from recording sessions that were never published.
Another big plus is the fact that Anders Hanser even took photos during the "solo-years". He took many pictures of Frida's two recording sessions for "Something's Going On" and "Shine" and photographed Agnetha during recording sessions for "WRap Your Arms Around Me".
One small (in fact, very small) disappointment is the fact that Anders Hanser got to know the group as late as in 1977- so therefore there are no photos of ABBA from former years. The first photos by Hanser were taken during the recording sessions for "Chiquitita". But considering all the information you get from this book you easily forget that you'll find nothing here about the years 1972-1976.
I think this is one of the best books that were ever written about ABBA and the group themselves seem to think the same- because it's the first time that all four of them have written the foreword to a publication about ABBA.
So, even if it's a little bit expensive- if you're a fan you hardly will be able to resist such a wonderful piece of work about a group that dominated the pop world for almost ten years.