The White Book: The Beatles, the Bands, the Biz: An Insider's Look at an Era

Ken Mansfield, Author, Brent Stoker, With , with contributing editor Brent Stoker. Thomas Nelson $22.99 (248p) ISBN 978-1-59555-101-6

The second memoir from record-industry vet Mansfield (The Beatles, the Bible and Bodega Bay ), a “simple look at a complex happening,” recounts his overwhelmingly positive experiences working with the Fab Four (and others) as they put together their late-career masterpiece The White Album . Mansfield relates how a lucky break in the 1960s took him from promotions executive for Hollywood's Capitol Records to U.S. manager of Beatles-owned Apple Records. One of the few Americans allowed into the group's inner circle, Mansfield presents revealing one-on-one time with each band member, yielding insight beyond their public personas. He notes, for instance, that “mere words can't explain how intimidating” John Lennon and Yoko Ono were. Though he provides his side of artistic debates (should “Hey Jude” or “Revolution” be the first Apple single?), and eyewitness accounts of key Beatles moments (including the group's final public performance atop the label's London headquarters), Mansfield misses numerous opportunities to provide insider details and to comment on the progress (or lack thereof) in the recording industry; further, Mansfield's awkward writing style—clumsy metaphors and alliteration, short chapters and confusing chronology—gives the work an amateurish feel. As Mansfield notes in the foreword, this book is “something to enjoy because of its simplicity”: engaging but hardly essential reading for the casual fan. (Oct. 30)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
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