Peter Brown was indeed an insider during much of the Beatles' later history--as Brian Epstein's aide, then as chief operating officer of Apple Corp.--but this long, unfocused chronicle, often dependent on non-Brown sources and converted into sleazily faceless journalese, offers neither a personal viewpoint nor much significant new material. Throughout, the preoccupation is with the Beatles' private lives (women, drugs), with the neurotic miseries of homosexual manager Epstein, and with business deals; the music is secondary at best. First comes a brief sketch of the pre-Epstein Beatles, with undue emphasis on Cynthia Lennon (a major source) and the decadent doings in Hamburg: ""Screwed, blewed, and tattooed, stoned any time of the day or night, the boys became a walking laboratory of venereal diseases."" But even after Epstein enters the picture, with Brown in tow, it still usually remains unclear--from paragraph to paragraph--whether the material is first-hand or third-hand. We hear about the US tour (""a catalog of the incredible""), the groupies (""The girls were screwed, blewed, and tattooed. . .""), the Beatles' marijuana ""addiction,"" the girlfriend/wives--from Jane Asher (""she drove him crazy"") to Pattie Boyd (""She turned George Harrison into an animal""). As already reported elsewhere, there's Epstein's passion for Lennon (briefly consummated in Spain), the LSD period, Epstein's suicide (""Within a few days, when the shock had worn off, they made foolish jokes about him""), the Maharishi, plus the arrival of Yoko. . . and heroin: ""They lay in the basement of Montague Square almost all July that last, simmering summer of the sixties, submerged in a self-inflicted stupor."" And, as for the breakup, Brown and Gaines seem to put the blame equally on John and Paul (""He blatantly treated the others as his backup group"")--as well as such business-types as Allen Klein. Throughout, snide comments are made about all four angers (Ringo, a ""reasonable fellow,"" comes off best), while Brown repeatedly proclaims himself ""a close friend to all the Beatles."" The attempts at psychological insight are hackneyed, the tone is alternately muckraking and platitudinous. So, though some readers will appreciate the petty anecdotes and tacky details here, most will want to stick with Philip Norman's Shout!--which, if also too sensationalistic, does pay real attention to the music and the period.