This book is an exhaustive account of the trials and tribulations of an iconic punk band. As such, I would warn off the feint-hearted who have only a passing interest in The Clash...this is for folks captivated by the minutiea of track listings etc, and those who find Pete Frame's rock family trees offer irresistible appeal (in a completist / trainspotterish sort of way).
But don't get me wrong, this book is invested with passion a -plenty, and is an excellent complement to other works (like D. Hebdige's "Subculture - The Meaning of Style") which document the halcyon punk years so eloquently.
It is a long book - some 400 odd pages in small-ish print, with few illustrations - and it starts to wane just a tad by two thirds of the way through. This is mainly due to the fact that, by then, you are somewhat punch drunk by the constant trotting out of album tracks over-dubbed in the studio and road crew personnel changes...that sort of thing.
The agenda is pretty fair - it does come over pretty much in the FAN camp, but the band's fragile "street cred" qualifications (grammar schools, diplomat fathers etc.)do come in for some heavy critique; the sub-text of this is very much along the lines of "The Clash Myth: justified or not?" In this, it pulls few punches.
An interesting read which might have benefitted from some slightly more judicious editing.