As for the biographical, Gould's book is not quite the definitive biography that Bob Spitz' recent book is – and it couldn't be, especially since this book is not as long and covers things that Spitz never intended to. That said, I wonder if a novice could read this book and get a sense for the whole story. I'm not sure. It struck me, at times, that one had to know the story of the Beatles to really understand what was happening in the book. For me, that was a good thing – I don't need five pages explaining things at a level that someone who is culturally illiterate would need. I just found myself wondering if this book was written primarily for people like me who has seen, heard and read it all as far as the Beatles is concerned.
The historical part I found especially enlightening and learned things about the band and the things that were influencing them that I had not learned. The part of the book that is WAY over the top for novices are track by track discussions of nearly each and every song in the Beatles catalog. While the discussions are enlightening and interesting, the level of detail sometimes goes beyond being a fan to being something else entirely. On the other hand, I really dug thinking about the songs that way, and thought that the critique was especially interesting on the Beatles' top albums, Revolver, Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road.
So if you've read at least one other Beatles book I highly recommend this one. It's very very good.