Book review: The Reluctant Beatle is an insightful but cold biography of George Harrison

Philip Norman’s competent, professional and highly readable biography can only get so close to its subject

Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon filming A Hard Day's Night. Picture: Max Scheler

When George Harrison was seven years old, his mother took him on a visit to their Irish cousins in Dublin.

As the Liverpudlians strolled up O’Connell Street, their photograph was taken by Ukrainian immigrant Arthur Fields who snapped over 180,000 people there from the 1930s until his retirement in 1985. This particular image captured what was to become one of the world’s most famous faces, already looking sullen and suspicious.

Judging by Philip Norman’s worthy, ...