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on 4 September 2009
This is a 2009 update on Hunter Davies' original tome from 1968. By update, I mean that he has included the 1985 postscript and has now added some text from this year. These extra entries are a perfect complement to the 1968 book, which is reproduced as the main part of the book.

The story itself is utterly compelling even to long-standing Beatles fans like myself. I cannot read too much about this wonderful band even if I already know some of the facts. I say "some" because there is always something new to learn about them as you will find in this book. The author tells the story beautifully and breaks the chapters down into different segments (e.g. a chapter on each of the fab four and chapters on Hamburg, Beatlemania, The End Of Touring etc.). There is a certain chronology to the book without becoming the usual month-by-month tale.

I found it difficult to put this book down. Hunter Davies' style is crisp, witty but factual and lets family and friends do the 'talking' when necessary. I had an eerie feeling whilst reading this, especially the 1967/68 years when the breakup of marriages and indeed the band itself had yet to come. A great book for anyone who wishes to read the story about The Beatles, a marvellous one for fans like myself.
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on 3 April 2014
As the authorised biography of The Beatles you'd expect Hunter Davies' account of the lives of Fab Four, from their very birth to the final breakup of the band, to be factually accurate and without the flaws that are sometimes seen in other biographies and hustled together books on the phenomenon that ended up being called Beatlemania.

Unfortunately, as Hunter Davies himself points out in the notes and additions that accompany the original biography, the story had to be approved by each individual member of The Beatles and, in one case (Brian Epstein), relatives too. So what we end up with is a heavily edited and censored account that glosses over details that others have pursued with greater in-depth investigation, notably 'You Never Give Me Your Money' by Doggett.

Also the tone of this book is lightweight, written as though it was meant for The Beatles fan club, using short sentences which sometimes makes it seem almost fictional in nature which it certainly is not. None of that detracts from the story of how each Beatle grew up, what made them the characters they were, and how they found each other by fortuitous chance.

Indeed it is the early parts of the individual stories which are the most interesting, especially as the accounts are based on extensive interviews and character drawings which you won't find in other books. Note that this latest edition keeps the original early edition text as the core of the book but surrounds it with additional notes, comments and added historical perspectives that are well worth having.

No-one interested in how The Beatles grew up and what made them what they were should be without this book. You'll need others too, particularly Lewisohn's The Complete Beatles Chronicle and Doggett's You Never Give Me Your Money, to complete the history and give more of the facts, but Hunter Davies lived through Beatlemania and was close to the Fab Four and, even though this story reads as though it's by Royal Command, you get a real feeling of how these four musicians rocked the '60s - literally.
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on 28 October 2014
Before a visit to the childhood homes of Lennon and McCartney I wanted to read about their early years. This book did the job perfectly. The four separate stories are covered clearly, and then interwoven. But as it moves on to Hamburg, Beatle-mania and the years of studio recording it loses its touch. Hunter Davies was one of the Beatles inner circle - and values his access a little too much. He is very coy about the drug use, the sexual exploits and infidelities. I know they are not central, but to gloss over them leaves the story incomplete.
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on 2 August 2017
To me they were the greatest band this country has ever produced and now i know from reading this book the people behind them. I knew it was a struggle from the off to get recognition and the fame and fortune that was to follow, but i now feel as if i knew them as friends thanks to this remarkable on the scene biography from Hunter Davies. Brilliant!
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on 26 January 2018
A great page-turner -I defy anyone to put this down for a minute -story is brilliantly told by Hunter Davies
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on 31 July 2017
Brilliantly written. The best biography e v er
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on 21 July 2016
As a huge fan of the Beatles, this book was a good read. The story of them becoming the Beatles and the present day updates Is interesting and very informative. The middle section that mentions the touring seems to drag, but can't complain as the rest is ideal for any Beatles fan. Would recommend.
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on 4 February 2009
What sets this book apart from the plethora of Beatles books is when it was written. Hunter Davies was given access to all The Beatles just before the release of Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane and up to mid-1968 when it all began to unravel.

Hunter Davies writes for the broadsheet newspapers so this was the first 'grown-up' book about The Beatles. As it was authorised by all four Beatles prior to release don't expect much rumour or scandal!

What you do get is a profile of each member and a snapshot of how they were at the time. He includes updates with the benefit of hindsight as the legend continues to grow through the years.

A must for anyone looking to put together a Beatles library!
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on 3 February 2018
excellent book, full of interesting information
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on 16 December 2014
Fantastic book about the best band in the world and ever likely to be (sorry Stones fans). A lot of people know the story or think they know the story but this book provides a deep insight and interesting facts and mini-stories of the Fab Four.

Go pick up a fascinating read.
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