Ken Mansfield’s “The White Book” is that rare collector’s item that music buffs, and hardcore fans of classic rock and pop will want to and simply have to own to read up on The Beatles, and how utterly influential they were on the artists that succeeded them. The Beatles molded music, and even years after their split, author Mansfield tells their story from a new angle that collectors will be anxious to get into.
Upon receiving an early copy to read and review, I found myself immediately thrown into the prose that Mansfield drops into the book like a how-to manual and yet he very simplistically explains his methods of madness and his hob knobbing with big stars that he almost always adored when working with. All except the Beatles who he loved as friends, but could never really love them as artists until years later.
Like the bands he worked with, “The White Book” is a hip memoir that is aware of how utterly cool it is and I can’t begrudge it for that because it’s a damn fine book. What Mansfield writes about in rather engrossing recollection is his sheer genius in helping to not only shape the frantic legacy that was the Beatles on the radio, but also the radio business as a whole. He drops names like Joan Baez and Brian Epstein all the while explaining his tricks for selling The Beatles, and trying to please other artists on Capitol Records as the fab four dominated the radio stations.
The promotional business is a cut throat industry, and Ken Mansfield perfectly exemplifies the hassles, the dangers, and the perks with pictures of his copies of Revolver and Fool on a Hill signed by the foursome. But most of all, this book will just be a fantastic read for anyone who loves music and loves The Beatles. Mansfield observes the band’s power through his eyes as a young man who just did business, and wanted to promote the unstoppable Beatles all at the same time. Mansfield, for someone who worked with Steve Miller and Judy Garland, is never pretentious. He’s never condescending and never gloats about his successes and his contacts with major music stars of that era.
Simply, this is a guide book of a man who helped to shape the music industry and tells how he took this business under his control and befriended the Beatles all at the same time. I wish I could find fault in the novel, but Mansfield’s writing is just so alive and vivid that once I began digging into his memoirs, I had a very difficult time pulling myself away from it. I wanted more and Mansfield has so much to tell and so much to give away that “The White Book” is a collector’s item with actual substance to it. As a Beatles fan I loved it. As a music fan, I loved it. As someone who appreciates apparent genius… hell, I loved it from top to bottom.