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The Beatles: The Biography Hardcover – 25 Apr 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 924 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (25 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845131606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845131609
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16 x 6.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,087,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Robert Spitz is the author of Dylan: a Biography and Barefoot in Babylon, about the legendary Woodstock music festival in 1969.

Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Solzhi on 6 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
To start with the positive - the first third of this book provides the best account of the Beatles' formative years thus far, and is everything that good biography should be - well researched, thorough, objective yet affecting. However, virtually all of these virtues are turned on their heads by the end. The latter part in particular,covering the years 1968-1970, is riddled with errors and inconsistencies, and there is a real feeling that the author (or possibly the editor) just couldn't be bothered. Added to this is the irritating moralising that increasingly creeps in. No opportunity to pour vitriol, of a kind not seen in this country since the late 1960's, on the head of Yoko is missed. The author clearly feels that the Beatles were silly, immature young men. Whilst this may or may not have been the case, he clearly also feels that being in a pop group (albeit the Beatles) is far more important than being in a marriage (John and Yoko), and if THAT isn't a silly and immature attitude then I'm not sure what is. It is also something, of course, that John spent much of the 1970's attempting to argue down.
To sum up, whilst there is a lot of interesting stuff here (particularly the darker version of the tales of Pete Shotton), there are also a lot of mistakes and too much intrusion of the author's old maid-ish attitudes. We still don't have a truly definitive biography of the Beatles that accurately presents ALL the facts as they happened, and furthermore trusts the reader to make up his or her own mind. Perhaps the 3 volume Lewisohn which is in the offing will be the one? Sadly, despite a strong start, this isn't.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Some Other Guy on 3 Aug. 2006
Format: Hardcover
A weighty tome that cries out to be the "definitve" story of The Beatles and whilst there are some nuggets of new early years information, it is woefully short of being the definitive story. It is possible that such a book is impossible to write although there is no question that extensive research has gone into its preparation - it's just quite fanciful in places and overly dramatic and often reads like a proposal for "The Beatles - The Movie". Mistakes occur throughout, particularly the picture captions. It is recommended for the new information but not as a definitive biography.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Garfield on 21 Oct. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I really can't disagree with the other reviews of this lengthy book. It is very long (over 800 pages) and does contain mistakes - albeit not particularly serious ones, just sort of irritating (such as referring to Freddy and the Dreamers instead of Freddie) and inserting [sic] round all sorts of things (such as after an English critic's reference to Sgt Pepper - in the UK this album is (as far as I'm aware) normally referred to thus, rather than the strictly more correct Sgt Pepper's). But my main reason for being irritated by this otherwise well written and readable book is its American-ness (of which the Sgt Pepper gripe above is one example). The book's most glaring shortcoming is its lack of a UK discography - US, no problem, but we all know how different the track listings could be. So 3 stars for being well written and trying to be exhaustive. But how much better it could have been...you really had to be there.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Reader from London on 21 Aug. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is epic in size and ambition. Bob Spitz has spent a significant chunk of his life researching the Beatles and then pouring this information into hundreds of pages of prose. The problem is his talent, as a writer does not match Bob's ambition. Despite all the information, and this is almost certainly the most comprehensive study of the Beatles ever published, the writer comprehensively fails to communicate the excitement of the rise of the Beatles, to explain the genius of the musicians themselves and instead bludgeons the reader into boring submission. I am a Beatles junkie but this wore more out. There is simply no light and shade and no insight into the greatest cultural phenomenon of the 20th century. The main achievement of this book is to make an epic story a bore.

In fairness the sheer effort at leaving no stone unturned does uncover the odd interesting insight but these are submerged by the grotesque lack of editing. It used to be said the White Album was a good single album fighting to get out of a double - wrongly I think - but maybe this is a good and much shorter book fighting to get out of an obese monster. Bob Spitz clearly loves the Beatles but sometimes love is not all you need.
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