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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
"What can I tell you about myself that you have not already found out from those who do not lie?" These words by John Lennon commence The Beatles Anthology, and they encapsulate what is so spectacular about this sprawling, exquisite book. After all, John's words couldn't be farther from the truth: Fans of the Beatles have long been aching to hear the real story, after hearing so much from so many who, if not deliberately lying, certainly didn't know everything about the Fab Four and their unbelievable journey. And now, finally, there is The Beatles Anthology. It includes extensive interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison conducted exclusively for the book; it includes John Lennon's words, in reproduced interviews and journal entries, gathered with the help of Yoko Ono; it contains scores of photographs from the Beatles' private collections, many of which have never been published. In short, like the Beatles themselves, The Beatles Anthology rocks.
With remarkable candor, the Fab Four discuss everything, from the fateful decision to replace Pete Best with Ringo to their drug experimentation and sexual exploits, their marriages, life during the height of Beatlemania, and rivalry within the group. In a particularly revealing quote, John says of his relationship with Paul, "It wasn't resentment, but it was competitive. I mean, rivalry between two guys is always there: it was a creative rivalry...it was not a vicious, horrible vendetta, because it's not on that level."
The slow breakup of the group is also discussed at great length and with great frankness. George describes the mood of the concert at Candlestick Park, which would be their last: "We knew. 'This is it -- we're not going to do this again. This is the last concert.' It was a unanimous decision. It was all too much with all those riots and hurricanes. Beatlemania took its toll, and we were no longer on the buzz of fame and success." Interviews with Beatles insiders like Brian Epstein, Neil Aspinall, and George Martin are incorporated into the book, providing a somewhat objective perspective. There is also a touching passage in which the Beatles talk about Brian Epstein, whose death left an indelible mark on the group.
In presentation, The Beatles Anthology is unparalleled. Gorgeous photographs adorn the pages like hidden treasures. Childhood photos and family snapshots abound, in addition to the candid pictures of the Beatles and spectacular photos taken from their private collections.
The Beatles Anthology is not simply the kind of sugar-coated retelling of events that one might expect. It is the real thing. What shines through the narrative of each member of the Beatles is a bittersweet mix of friendship, remembrance of good times, resentment, remembrance of bad times, and, above all, love of the music and amazement that four ordinary lads from Liverpool endured such a whirlwind ride of fame and fortune.