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Neil Young Nation Paperback – Sep 1 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Greystone Books; 1 edition (Sept. 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553651162
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553651161
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 17.7 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #447,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
IN 1965, a friend asked Neil Young for a ride. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
a long, strange (but great) trip Feb. 5 2006
By OHJoel - Published on
Format: Paperback
Maybe it's because I'm almost 30 years old myself and, like the author, at the crossroads between my freewheeling 20's and the more domestic 30's. Maybe it's because I've thought about making trips to Ontario to see my musical hero's hometown just for fun, and never done it. Whatever it is, this book connected with me. Thankfully, the book is a lot less about Neil Young than it is about a road trip with friends and the experiences they've had along the way. I say thankfully because I've read enough biographical books on Neil, including the extensive, 700-page or whatever "Shakey," by Jimmie McDonough, which is great, by the way. While Chong does get into some history of Young's musical life during the road trip from Canada to LA, I actually found myself enjoying the parts most where it was just Chong and his buddies, Geoff, Dave and Mark, talking about random stuff in the car or while having some beers with locals at various taverns along the way. A modern, sarcastic road trip tale not too much unlike that of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," without the rambling, random lunacy of the Dean character. The book should connect especially with those in the 25-35 range, even if they're not huge Neil Young fans. A must-read for any big Neil fan, however. There's even numerous mentions of meetings with "Rusties" around the country.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
On the road with Neil Young May 10 2006
By Greg Reilly - Published on
Format: Paperback
The book's subtitle, A Quest, An Obsession (and a True Story) sums up author Kevin Chong's yearning to discover what it really means to be a dedicated Neil Young fan and his desire to stay youthful and passionate.
"Most of my friends were grown-ups. I didn't count myself among them," Chong writes in his introduction. And later, he confesses his "inability to grow up". Citing what Young calls "reckless abandon" to describe the way he makes his music, Chong states that's what he wants "in my life, in my art".
So, straight up you know this is self-indulgent navel gazing. But don't be put off. There's much more to Neil Young Nation.
Turning 30 the same year Neil Young turns 60, Chong decides to commemorate the two milestones with a road trip with three space-cake munching mates, tracing old Shakey's footsteps from Canada to California.
The pilgrimage by the four adventurers follows the zig-zag trail that Young took in a converted black hearse: Winnipeg, where the country rocker formed his first band, the Squires; Omeemee, Young's childhood home, the "town in north Ontario" he sings about in his sweet song, Helpless; and Los Angeles, where Young found rock 'n' roll fame.
In his peregrinations Chong visits many of his idol's former haunts. He meets other Young obsessives, people who knew Young years ago, including a vice-principle at his old high-school, a former manager of a caf? where Young made his solo debut, and a woman who made the 1966 hearse trek with Young.
The author avoids sloppy sentimentality or embarrassing hero worship. His obsession is kind of scholarly, sifting flotsam and jetsam along the journey for clues, like an archaeological sweep.
Chong uses the subject of his ideal escapism as the reference point, and by journey's end what he has gleaned about Young has also taught him a few things, too, especially about cool and aging gracefully. But, most importantly, to choose passion over precision.
Chong, of course, makes liberal use of Young's lyrics through his book, selecting the most appropriate places. There is a discography at the back as well as references and source notes.
Neil Young Nation, thankfully, is not just another biography to add to the half-dozen or so already published, not to mention the scores of web sites dedicated to Young.
This is a road book: part biography; part personal essay; part adventure tale. And it adds up to a rollicking, sometimes funny, good-time read. It goes without saying, a must-read for Rusties (obsessive Young fans). Three-and-a-half stars.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
college reminiscing Jan. 12 2006
By biotech nurse poet - Published on
Format: Paperback
As I approach my 25th year college reunion, this book brought me back to those college days where we thought it was so cool to go to Cy Young's house to speak with the people who live there now. We made precious films about "gazing globes" (those strange balls that sit atop cement stands in gardens all over the midwest). I guess more than anything, this book describes the path you can take if you wish to become a true member of the hidden, authentic Neil Young fan society. Most of the truly informative bits I was able to glean from 4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader by David Zimmer. But it was a good transport back to those college days when you wanted desperately to be on the "in" of a hip, secret society.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
From a Rustie Wanna-Be Feb. 18 2009
By Shadow - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chong's book is well-written and really speaks to the sort of Young fan I am myself...a long-time fan who loves many periods, but isn't of the obsessive must-have-every-bootleg variety. I enjoyed riding with Chong on his adventure and learning a little bit more about my favorite artist in the process. I even filled in some gaps in my collection after reading this book. Hey, I got Re-ac-tor and Trans when they first came out. How could I never have heard Zuma before? Thank you, Kevin!!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A survey of his findings about Neil Young, rock music, and encounters Neil had with fans and fellow musicians along the way. Jan. 6 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
Neil Young is one of the most popular musicians of modern times and has enjoyed decades of fame in the rock world, producing consistently outstanding lyrics and sounds. NEIL YOUNG NATION is more than just a review of his life, however: author Kevin Chong set off on a road trip to research his subject, following the places which influenced Young's music: NEIL YOUNG NATION is at once an account of Chong's personal journey as well as a survey of his findings about Neil Young, rock music, and encounters Neil had with fans and fellow musicians along the way.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch