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Paul McCartney: A Life

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,049 ratings  ·  105 reviews
More than a rock star, more than a celebrity, Paul McCartney is a cultural touchstone who helped transform popular music as one half of the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo. In this definitive biography, Peter Ames Carlin examines McCartney’s entire life, casting new light not just on the Beatles era but also on his years with Wings and his thirty-year ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by Touchstone (first published October 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,708)
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Jason Koivu
Get Back To Where I've Never Gone.
I've read about the Beatles and I've read about Lennon, but I'd never read about McCartney, and I supposed it was about time. You see, because of bios and whatnot that I've read about Lennon, my boyhood idolization of him lost its shine. As a consequence, Paul's star rose subconsciously in my mind, and I knew that wasn't fair. It was time to level the playing field and Peter Ames Carlin's book steamrolled it.

I Should've Let It Be.
Paul McCartney has the reputat
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Carol Storm
I really hated Paul McCartney as a kid. I thought he was the lame Beatle, the wimpy Beatle, the one hiding behind a smile and a smirk while John Lennon changed the world with his bold ideas and George Harrison defied the wealthy in favor of spiritual quests and Ringo Starr just took in and healed all of the loneliness and pain of teenage life on earth with his big, sad eyes.

Having grown up a lot in the past thirty five years, I was really impressed by this book and all it reveals about Paul's re
...more
Aaron
Jan 01, 2013 Aaron rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who hate Paul McCartney
Recommended to Aaron by: Thankfully no one
I have read close to 400 books on the Beatles, solo and together, and this is one of the worse. It is a complete rewrite of other books, very little original, and quite frankly, the author is not a fan. Also, he spends very little time on his solo career, Red Rose Speedway is given all of half a page, Chaos and Creation even less! I urge fans to not read this book but search Many Years from Now.
A big disappointment and complete waste of time. Also, the grammer is about a grade one level.
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: I like the Beatles but I love Paul.

Comments: Normally, I steer away from biographies, trying to read memoirs instead unless the person in question is dead and never wrote their own auto-biography. Well, Paul is neither, but given his extremely private nature I find it doubtful he'll ever write a memoir and if he did it would not be in-depth but more like musings of good memories. So I jumped on this book when it came out.

Again, I find when reading these types of biographies o
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Donal Keady
We'll never really know, will we? But just try to tell some people that. Beatle books are a plentiful species, and they should all be read to get an overall picture. I'm not sure if this book needed to be written, but it should be read all the same. It's entertaining enough in its own way. The writing style sometimes gets on my nerves, and Carlin does have great affection for his subject.
People get so polarised when it comes to the Beatles. They have rigid ideas about who they were, what they sa
...more
Suzanne Moore
My first musical purchase, while in junior high, was a 45 of “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “Helter Skelter” on the flip side. As I graduated to high school, Paul McCartney and Wings were reaching their peak. I remember listening to a favorite 8-track in my car of the James Bond soundtrack for “Live and Let Die.” Of course I grew up hearing the Beatles music as a group … their music is timeless. But Lennon's solo work soon became my favorite of the ex-Beatles. John's death is still shocking. ...more
Lorraine
This is a comprehensive biography of the man, from birth up to his third marriage, warts and all. McCartney is a great performer, song-writer and composer, and his work with John Lennon produced some of the greatest songs of the 20th century. Paul fell into depression when the Beatles finally broke apart, but got Wings started and experienced great popularity and success again, this time as an adult and without the screaming mania, and with Linda by his side giving him stability and support. Aft ...more
Matthew
It feels more like a really long Wikipedia entry than a proper bio, but it's fun to imagine Paul McCartney slapping tables and yelling at people.

It's usually presented as a series of events of which Paul McCartney was one participant -- I don't think it has a very strong POV. About 2/3rds of the book is about his time as a Beatle, which is fair I suppose, but it also feels like the author would have much rather written a book about John Lennon. Which is funny, since one of the recurring ideas of
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Martin
On the one hand this book tells you everything you need to know about Paul, but on the other it manages to say so very little, and it's not because the subject is boring. It's just the way this book is written. It's hard to explain. The part where people he cares about start dying around him was really gut-wrenching.
Shannon Mitrovich
I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't just about Paul but all of the Beatles from their start till their end. Paul is a genius but he really should have taken longer to know that Heather bitch before marrying her and he deff should have gotten a prenup. I think he was just still sad from Linda's death and needed the distraction. I was sad to learn what an asshole Lennon was and how he took credit for so many songs that Paul wrote on his own. Especially, Yesterday. For two years he made fun of it ...more
Sarah
Here's the summary (aka, I read this so you don't have to): Oh, that darn Paul! Sure, he acts like a jerk, but how can you stay mad at him? John, on the other hand, is a sociopath who abuses everyone he comes into contact with. And there were a couple other guys in the band, too.
Elaine
Saw him live last night at AT&T Park with 40,000 other fans. Oh, what a night --
Two years later, I finally realized I was never going to finish this book. I much prefer listening to the Beatles to reading about them Even Paul.
Grace Crawford
I read the novel, Paul McCartney by Peter Ames Carlin. Paul McCartney by Peter Ames Carlin is a biography about the famous performer, Paul McCartney which the book is titled after. With the novel being a biography, the author's purpose in writing the novel was to inform the audience about McCartney's life. The author using statements, or facts that is later on learn that the event will influenced or effected McCartney life and future decisions. The author's purpose of writing this novel was easi ...more
Shannon
This book invites the reader into the extraordinary life and career of one of Britain's most famous rock icons, Sir Paul McCartney, beginning with his childhood in Liverpool and including his musical union with Lennon at age fifteen. I was amazed to learn how much of the Beatles was influenced by McCartney, from the group members and the image, to the endless list of his own compositions (or Lennon-McCartney originals that were, according to Carlin, predominately the works of the latter), since ...more
Jo
I've never read any other McCartney or Beatles-related biography or memoir, so I can't really speak to the accuracy of this one. But still, for me, this book would fall between so-so and ok. I didn't dislike it, but something seems missing or like its just skimming the surface. [Maybe it's because I'd just listened to Keith Richard's book, which is great; this one doesn't have that depth & I wonder if the author ever actually interviewed Paul for it -- no endnotes/bibliography in the audiobo ...more
Armin Hennig
Leider nur eine halbe Sache, von daher gibt es auch nicht mehr Sterne als für Goldmans Lennon-Pamphlet, obwohl sich Peter Ames Carlin deutlich mehr Mühe gibt, seinem Gegenstand gerecht zu werden. Und hätte er sich für die 40 Jahre nach den Beatles dieselbe Mühe gemacht wie mit dem bezeichnenden Kindheitstrauma und Jahren mit John, George und Ringo, dann wären ihm bei mir zumindest vier Sterne vergönnt gewesen, vermutlich sogar zeitweilige fünf, aber im Vergleich zu Doggetts „You never give me yo ...more
Brian Young
Dec 05, 2012 Brian Young rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beatles Fans, Paul Fans, Music Fans.
Shelves: music
I am a huge beatles fan so this book instantly interested me. I had to choose a book for a book report in my english class and it had to be non-fiction, and after searching forever I found this. From the first page, to the last page, i was simply in love. I thought i knew alot about paul before, but never this much. From the begining where he lost his mother to recent times, I can now honostly say that I know paul. The way Peter Ames Carlin writes the book it is so inviting and just screams read ...more
Colleen Martin
The one thing that really struck me as I read this book is that, as much as Sir Paul would like to think otherwise, his genius as a musician and songwriter is very much a result of his collaboration with John Lennon. The music that he and John produced during their too-brief tenure as Beatles was revolutionary, transcendent of their era, and quite literally altered the course of history. After the Beatles called it quits, Paul charged ahead, attempting to recreate that magic on his own and not q ...more
Scott Holstad
This was an interesting book to read. The Beatles were a little before my time, and I grew up listening to Paul's Wings, but I've always been interested in the Beatles and Paul McCartney, so I enjoyed this book. While the author is clearly a fan, he doesn't hold back his critiques either, which balances the book out.

I learned a lot I didn't know. For instance, I didn't know that Paul was the musical genius in the group and taught Lennon how to play the guitar. I also didn't know he was so contro
...more
Brian
The author pulls no punches in his biography of 1/4 of the greatest rock and roll band ever. He also does a decent job of revealing the cost of devoting oneself to fame and fortune--the cost in the losing of ones very soul as well as the lost friends and loved ones.

Mr. Carlin had also steeped himself deep and long into the music itself of the Beatles and Paul's work with Wings and solo stuff. It was a treat to catch phrases of song lyrics in the story.

Unfortunately it seemed like the author or
...more
Judith
Like the rest of the world, I loved the Beatles, and after the Beatles, Paul McCartney. But I never felt drawn to read any books about McCartney, till I read a review of this one in the NYT. I don't know how this book compares with other biographies of McCartney, but I enjoyed it tremendously. I learned so much about the group and the individuals in the group from the stories in this book and it changed previous impressions I had in so many ways.

For example, I hadn't really realized what an inc
...more
Steve Curll
Keep the kids from this book. It is full of expletives, both from Paul and friends,and the author. It is difficult to sort the author's speculation about songs and situations as the documentation is not noted in the text. Many of his statements are completely undocumented and presented as fact. For example, he claims that Paul wrote the last line of Norwegian Wood to state that the narrator was scorned and gleefully looked back at the blazing apartment after he torched it. Looking for documentat ...more
Taylor
A story I love re-reading no matter how many times I read it. This time with lots of details about how much of a dick McCartney could be. But now I have a much clearer picture of what exactly he did after the Beatles, an informed interest in exploring his solo work, and a sense of how much Linda meant to him. The scene where she dies is heartbreaking. Carlin writes with a precise insight that strives to explain the reasoning behind, if not always justification for, things Paul did, such as treat ...more
Suzanne
It is impossible for my children to understand what the Beatles meant to my friends and me when we were teenagers. They were our cue to music, fashion, politics, religion. We thought about them all the time and no conversation went far without them being brought up. I still remember which of my friends liked Paul, which George, (you had to pick one as your favorite). These days, I dearly love Beethoven, but for sentiment, nostalgia and comfort I still turn to the Fab Four. That being said, a boo ...more
Angela Joyce
Jun 15, 2010 Angela Joyce rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Donal, Michael, Lisa
Shelves: biographies
As far as content, this book is great. Nowhere does it go too far with either beatifying or villifying the man, his friends and bandmates, or the women in his life. It's fair, it's fascinating, it's fun. It is just the right length-- you never get sick of Paul (well, who could, anyway?). Though I have yet to read a book that gives Ringo enough credit, I thought the Heather Mills episode was handled deftly.

The editing is problematic. I was distracted by bizarrely constructed sentences and grammat
...more
Constanza A morales
Amo a Paul y por eso obvio me gustó el livro, pero creo que lo deja como la víctima de los Beatles y no digo qie tal vez no haya sufrido o que no haya intentado que la banda no se separara, pero creo que fue excesiva la "ayudita" lastimera hacia Paul y no sé... eso no me gustó.
Jeff Williams
Carlin writes this book as an extended album review. It's not a bad book but not a page turner either. There is little new insight that a fan is not already aware of here. It seems like a sympathetic essay written by an enthusiastic fan. Carlin takes a number of liberties speculating on what people thought or intended. He seems to slide through the Wings years quite quickly choosing to portray McCartney and his wife in a negative light and running from project to project with little insight from ...more
Dan K
Not particularly well-written by an author a bit too fond of the subject to provide truly interesting scrutiny, this book nevertheless delivers largely as promised: it is a biography of Paul McCartney, and therefore it is interesting.
Alicia
An intimate look into the life of one of the four greatest rock stars of all time, Paul McCartney: A Life follows Paul's journey from grammar school in Liverpool to global super-stardom. It captures all of Paul's complexities, his slip-ups and his greatest triumphs. The bulk of this book is a very detailed account of the inner workings of the Fab Four; I loved the indulgence, but I think, at times, it lost its focus on Paul. I also felt that after Linda's death and the dissolution of Wings, the ...more
Lovely Rita
I'm not as familiar with the Wings period, so this was a nice overview. This book isn't by any means in depth but it was a quick read. I liked that the author didn't completely kiss up to Paul by actually listing off some of the reasons he had problem retaining Wings members, (principal among them: he was cheap), and why some of his solo stuff wasn't as good as it could be (a huge ego, which is why he needs John since he'd actually listen to criticism from him and him alone). The part about Lind ...more
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