Released on Paul McCartney's 70th birthday, this is a nicely produced tribute to the man, put together by James Kaplan. The book is 112 pages long, glossy and with lots of photo's (as you would expect). It begins with an introduction, continues with Bob Spitz's 'Top 40' Macca songs - I didn't agree with it, I doubt you will either, but with such a huge catalogue to choose from it is always going to be difficult. Most artists have a few hits, which would certainly make a top 10, but this is someone whose work spans nearly six decades and there is quite a choice. Other articles look at the historic meeting between John and Paul at the Woolton fete (if this interests you, you might enjoy The Day John Met Paul: An Hour-by-Hour Account of How the Beatles Began) and further chapters which include a potted history of the Beatles and his solo career.
Overall, this is a nicely put together book, although it is certainly a tribute rather than a biography and merely glosses over his life story. The photographs are nice - I had seen most of them, but there are a handful I haven't seen before, which make it worthwhile. As you would imagine, there is much focus on Paul's relationship with John and also with Linda and there are some interesting comments from members of his family and those he has worked with. There are also interviews and tributes from other musicians, for example from Billy Joel about Paul appearing with him at the last Shea Stadium show [[ASIN:B004LWJ6U8 Billy Joel - The Last Play At Shea (NEW DVD)]). It is not a must have book, but there is enough to make this an enjoyable addition to my library.
This is a one-sitting read (112 pages)and it is a potted history of McCartney's life and career. It captures some of the most important moments in his life very well and adds a few insights which even the most well-read McCartney-ists will find interesting.
The early photographs and the first meeting between McCartney and John Lennon are covered particularly well. The importance of the Hamburg trips in bringing the band together is well recorded too. Then, the rise to fame and the birth of 'Beatlemania' is described briefly - this could be the subject of a complete book.
The importance of the women in his life is well told: his long relationship with Jane Asher and then his happy marriage with Linda Eastman. Then, in a particularly insightful piece, it explains how his divorce from Heather Mills raised the public's affection for McCartney in the UK and established him even more as a national treasure.
This book is like reading an extended TIME article: the writing style is easy to read, the pictures are good, the commentary adds value. It's not heavyweight, but it's interesting.
I give this book five stars: not because it is the best book about the Beatles and McCartney ever written but because it is exactly what it sets out to be: a concise summary of a life that has made a huge impact on music and given so much pleasure to millions of people.
I don't have the exact number of books I have about Sir Paul McCartney, but I am glad I bought this one. It is a quick way to go through Sir Paul's life and the book contains many nice pictures. If you don't want to buy a big, thick book, buy this one. He is actually a great guy. Terje from Norway