From Publishers Weekly
John Lennon once said that the Beatles on tour were as debauched as the ancient Romans in Fellini's Satyricon. Outside of a description of a "happy" Lennon urging his band mates to "take your pick" from a group of hookers provided by an Atlantic City concert promoter, this highly entertaining account by broadcast journalist Kane, who covered the tour at the time, is as discreet about the Fab Four's sexual adventures as they were, although Kane notes that "women came and went from the Beatles' floor in most hotels." But in all other respects, from fiery airplanes and rioting fans to encounters with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Jayne Mansfield (the latter two seem to spend "quality" time with Lennon), this is a fantastic insider's look at the cultural explosion that was Beatlemania. It helps that Kane was only 21 at the time (the same age as Paul McCartney); unlike "dull-witted" reporters whom the Beatles came to disdain, Kane quickly noted "their indisputable naturalness and, to varying degrees, the depth of their humanity and their lack of phoniness." In turn, the Beatles rewarded Kane with many in-depth interviews through the tour, which Kane skillfully uses throughout provide the Beatles' own insightful view of the ongoing craziness surrounding them, as they travel from one chaotic hotel and concert scene to another. This is the most detailed description yet of the Beatles' American tours, and one of the few books on the band written in the past decade that can be considered indispensable.
Tell-all books by Beatles insiders have become as numerous and indistinguishable as hairs on a Beatle wig. But Kane's journalist's eye--he was the only American reporter to travel with the group for every stop of their 1964 and 1965 tours--sets this one apart. There had never been a cultural phenomenon to match Beatlemania--and nothing has quite equaled it since--and Kane vividly portrays its familiar trappings, from riotous fans whose screaming drowned out the music to chaotic postconcert escapes. More fascinating are Kane's behind-the-scenes views of "the boys," extracted from many interviews , that disclose, for example, that Kane managed to insult John Lennon during their initial meeting--and wound up eliciting eloquent criticism of the war in Vietnam. Kane gradually fell for the music, and he provides valuable perspective on the performances, which are often neglected in other Beatles tour accounts. Less successful are Kane's attempted pontifications on the band as a harbinger of '60s dissent. Terrific fly-on-the-wall stuff about a unique pop-cultural event. Gordon Flagg