Maura O’Kiely at the Dublin Review of Books:
Wait, not another book about the Beatles? Surely that story’s bones have been picked clean by now? What saves One Two Three Four from being just another Beatles indulgathon is how the author has reworked the standard biography template. His take is a seductive miscellany of essays, insider accounts, opinions, flight-of-fancy yarns, and more. Much of it is sourced from already published material but Brown also includes his own opinions and anecdotes. Somehow he has managed to create a uniquely fresh perceptive on a well-worn story.
In 1961, when that first meeting with Epstein takes place, the Beatles are four talented youngsters high on nothing more psychedelic than Starbursts, larking about in the Cavern. The lightning celerity of their ascent to the top of Mount Fame still astonishes. By 1962, they have a number one hit in Britain. The following year, as if operating on fast-forward, they hold the top five places on America’s Billboard chart.