Sunday, January 3, 2010

Review: Treasures of the Beatles

If you've seen any of those "vault" books, you know the format for this one: A lavishly produced volume sporting lots of glossy pictures and little envelopes containing accurate reproductions of various artifacts.

In this case, it's the Beatles, so you get lots of fascimile tickets, handbills and posters. Kinda cool, but also a bit limited. For one thing, the focus for most of the goodies is the band's early years. So there are lots of fake tickets to concerts, etc. But the later years--including the Apple years, which would've yielded lots of interesting ephemera--are skimmed over.

All this is accompanied by a pretty routine overview of the band's history, which anyone interested in the collection's artifacts could likely recite from memory. So I'm not really sure who "Treasures of the Beatles" is intended for. I suppose a first-generation fan--someone who lost his or her ticket stubs to the real shows and is charmed by the reproductions--might enjoy it.

But for most fans, it's hardly an essential purchase. The Beatles "Anthology" book has many more photos of the band and various artifacts from their career and fascinating text to boot. And there are plenty of other Fab books of nostalgic interest out there as well.

I can imagine a more in-depth book of this sort, featuring reproductions of more obscure items (fan club items, picture sleeve art, buttons, press handouts, etc.) being of great interest to Beatles collectors, but this one isn't terribly exciting. I suspect it was a Christmas-time cash-in for the publisher more than anything else.

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