Greenfield tells Spanish Tony's version of individual incidents, such as a car crash with the locals that Sanchez and Keith got into that led to trouble, and checks them with other tellings. Greenfield has trained journalist credentials, and uses them to parse out some version of events that seem most credible to him in his telling of the Exile On Main Street days, plus the times preceding the recording of that album, and the times that followed. Keith just flat out says that stuff such as the story in the Sanchez book that tells of Keith's wife, Anita Pallenberg, getting gang raped in a Jamaican jail cell, or the story about how Keith went to Switzerland to get a whole blood transfusion to kick heroin; Keith just says both of those stories are not true.
Both books try to tell of the process of making some memorable rock and roll and pop music. Greenfield tells of how the recording of Exile... would unfold on a day to day basis amidst all of the chaos of personalities such as Gram Parsons drifting in and out of the nonstop hard party scene at Keith's villa in the south of France. Keith gives the reader an insider's take on the writing of so many songs, from the story of how their early manager locked Keith and Mick Jagger in a kitchen all night one night in, say 1964 (?), in order to force them to come up with original material, to the whole lightening-in-a-bottle joy behind creating so many of the Stone's best songs once Keith found that he and Mick really had a gift for it.
Both books go into the many troubles with the law that Keith Richards had, and Keith goes into great detail about the nature of his various addictions, and his "secret" for the reason why heroin killed Gram Parsons at the age of twenty-six, but why he lived to tell all of his stories. Keith does leave it to the reader to figure out why he seemed to have so many hotel rooms and apartment rooms catch on fire in the 70's when he, and others such as his wife, their friends, and his young son, are in them. He tosses off these incidents in a by- the-way manner, and one has to paint a mental picture of him and his wife and their buddies, in a room together, it's late, and, oh, someone nods out on heroin, lit cigarette in hand, and 'poof,' just another Rolling Stone legend.