A book that looks at The Beatles from a playful kaleidoscope of angles won Britain's leading nonfiction literary award on Tuesday.
Craig Brown's ``One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time'' was named winner of the 50,000-pound ($66,000) Baillie Gifford Prize at a virtual ceremony in London.
Brown's ``composite biography'' juxtaposes the stories of John, Paul, George and Ringo with relatives, partners, artists, imitators, hangers-on and others drawn into their orbit.
Broadcaster Martha Kearney, who chaired the judging panel, said Brown's ``joyous, irreverent, insightful celebration'' of the Fab Four was ``a shaft of light piercing the deep gloom of 2020.''
``Who would have thought that a book about The Beatles could seem so fresh?'' she said.
The award recognizes English-language books in current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.
Brown beat a shortlist that included Sudhir Hazareesingh's Haitian revolution history ``Black Spartacus,'' Matthew Cobb's ``The Idea of the Brain'' and Christina Lamb's book about women and war ``Our Bodies, Their Battlefield.''
The other finalists were Amy Stanley's ``Stranger in the Shogun's City,'' about a woman's life in 19th-century Japan, and ``The Haunting of Alma Fielding'' by Kate Summerscale, a fact-based story of apparently supernatural events.