PositiveThe Guardian (UK)...he prises the basic story away from its standard telling, and delights in a motley supporting cast united by their brushes with Beatledom ... Most of what is here is sourced from other books, and much of it feels familiar. But when Brown alights on less well-trodden material, his panache as a writer and understanding of the Beatles’ significance rarely let him down.
MixedThe Guardian\"It is an unevenly told tale. McNamee wants readers to think of him as a player in the events he describes, but the text regularly has a sense of things viewed from too great a distance. That said, he knows enough about Facebook and its contexts to get to the heart of what its presence in our lives means for the world, and is bracingly blunt about the company’s threat to the basic tenets of democracy, and his own awakening to its dangers.\
RaveThe GuardianUnlike most of the hotshots who were then establishing what we now know as the global PR industry, Taylor had one big advantage: he could write. And in the late 60s and early 70s, he snatched time to record opinions that would not quite cohere into a memoir, but still evoke his dazzling working life and the era in which it happened. In his sparse, lyrical prose style, there are echoes of Joan Didion, another writer born before the so-called Love Generation, but who wrote about its rise and fall with authority ... such fun would not last ... but somehow Taylor maintained the hopeful, open disposition that defined everything he wrote.
PanThe GuardianThis is a capably executed biography, brimming with detail. But there are also three big problems. First, when the story gets to the Beatles’ rise and fall, the idea of telling the tale from McCartney’s perspective tends to fall away; in its place we have a very familiar saga. Second, though Norman is good at placing his subject in the midst of various histories – of the Irish diaspora, Liverpool and the socio-cultural passage of the 1960s – he has a tendency to write about music in a register rather redolent of the op-ed pages of the Daily Mail. The Sex Pistols’ 'God Save the Queen' is definitely not 'a shrieking parody of the national anthem,' any more than Kate Bush’s 'unearthly wail,' 'Wuthering Heights,' ever made Yoko Ono’s ear-shredding shrieks 'seem positively normal.' These odd touches are also applied to his subject’s career and work: anyone who knows what the term 'glam rock' denotes, for example, would know McCartney’s post-Beatles vehicle Wings were anything but. This feeds into probably the book’s biggest flaw of all: its neglect of McCartney’s talent.