I suppose this book is most easily described in terms of what it isn’t: It starts at the very beginning and ends on December 31, 1962 — before the Beatles reach their world-wide fame. This encyclopedic survey of the Beatles’ early history is detailed and authoritative, yet moves along briskly across its 800(!) narrow-margined pages, alongside a copious Notes section and elaborate Index. The writing style is brisk and often breezy, and sometimes seems to miss making major and absolute points when it could.
But I think this is actually one of its strengths in that it isn’t pushing a specific interpretation of events or causes-and-effects, but restrains itself while effusively describing the events that helped create the Beatles as we know them now.
The writing flows along from one anecdote, first-person account, or set of details, to the next, as it describes landmarks like their early song writing, their performances in Liverpool and Hamburg, and the dismissal of former member Pete Best. This is simply a must-have purchase for anyone interested in the Beatles’ early years, and leaves me eager for the next volume.