Comprehensive and entertaining biography

Paul McCartney: The Life - Philip Norman

I was 12 years old when the Beatles came to the US in 1964, a perfect age to become a Beatlemaniac.  In reading teen magazines prior to their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, my favorite was George.  But that changed the night of February 9, 1964, when glued to the TV set as were 73 million other people, I fell under Paul McCartney’s spell.  For the rest of the 60’s, I read anything and everything written about him and the other Beatles.  True Beatlemania had set in.


But over the years, I can’t say that I’ve read all that has been written and actually this is the first biography that I’ve read about Paul.  So I can’t compare it to other biographies about him and I can’t really say whether there’s new information contained in it or not.  A lot of it was old to me but a lot of it I didn’t know before reading this book.  What drew me to this particular book was that I had read that the author, Philip Norman, was quite against Paul in his 1980’s book “Shout”, saying that “John Lennon was three quarters of the Beatles” but has since then changed his opinion of Paul and wanted to set the record straight.


In this book, the author had tacit approval from Paul, meaning that, while Paul wasn’t actually cooperating in the writing of the book, he wasn’t interfering either and that opened doors to Mr. Norman.  At the end of the book, the author says that he uncovered a different McCartney than the world thought they knew, a man who was a perfectionist and a workaholic.  But that’s the McCartney I’ve come to “know” over the years.  How else could he have accomplished what he has?  So I didn’t actually discover a “new” Paul but rather the book confirmed what I already thought about him.


This is a very comprehensive biography, starting off with the births and upbringings of his parents and ending in present day.  The author is a very good storyteller and I found the book to be readable and entertaining.  I gulped when I first saw the 849-page figure on my e-reader but there are many photos (many of which I’ve never seen) and the book just flew by.  The author also does a fine job detailing the history behind many of Paul and John’s songs and the meaning of the lyrics, which I found to be very interesting.  All in all, it seems to be an honest portrayal of my fav Beatle and I enjoyed reading it.


This book was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.