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Waging Heavy Peace Hardcover – Sep 25 2012

3.6 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Rider Press; 1 edition (Sept. 25 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399159460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399159466
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 4.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 934 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Elliptical and personal…Waging Heavy Peace eschews chronology and skips the score-settling and titillation of other rocker biographies. Still, Young shows a little leg and has some laughs…. As the book progresses, the operatics of the rock life give way to signal family events, deconstructions of his musical partnerships and musings on the natural world. It is less a chronicle than a journal of self-appraisal.” –David Carr, The New York Times

Waging Heavy Peace finally is Neil Young on Neil Young. Inasmuch as this memoir compares to anything, it's Dylan on Dylan in Chronicles Volume 1, and at the risk of offending, one must read it as perhaps one might the Bible: Young's reality is plastic, his prose prophetic; and myth, metaphor and madness meander through his musings….It is a beautiful book, and the sturdy stock gives it a substantial heft. The prose is conversational, peppered with sentence fragments, more stream-of-consciousness than narrative. This in itself is lovely, as reading this book likely is a close as most of us will get to riding with Young in his bus, shooting the breeze, reminiscing.” –Ted St. Godard, Winnipeg Free Press (Canada)

“Terrific: modest, honest, funny and frequently moving…Waging Heavy Peace takes the form of a diary, a life-in-the-day structure that gives Mr. Young room to maneuver, as he takes us on a wander round his memory palace… In many ways, the closest antecedent to Waging Heavy Peace may be Laurence Sterne's 1760 masterpiece, Tristram Shandy…Elegance itself.” –Wesley Stace, Wall Street Journal

“An inspirational account of tragedy, triumph, and toy trains…If you love Neil Young you will love his autobiography….There is humor in his approach, and a preoccupation with the feeling of things; of sound, and with the world of soul and spirit…. [Young’s] is a hero’s story; a man put through trial after trial who is still fighting at the end with humor, courage, and rage to be the most powerful and genuine artist he can possibly be.” –Suzanne Vega, The Times (London)

“Remarkable…Young has neither burned out nor faded away.” –Bruce Ward, The Ottawa Citizen

“Revealing, even (at times) oddly beautiful, a stream-of-consciousness-meditation on where Young has been, where he thinks he's going and, perhaps most revealing, where he is right now…. It is compelling to see a figure as prominent as Young — arguably one of the five or 10 most influential figures in the history of rock 'n' roll — express himself in such an unfiltered way.” –David Ulin, The Los Angeles Times

“Full of casual asides, unpredictable tangents and open-ended questions as he looks back on his life at age 66....Young appears to be setting down his memories in real time as they occur to him...Dryly hilarious...poignant....Waging Heavy Peace shows that Young is still in full possession of that stubborn, brilliant, one-of-a-kind instrument. He doesn't always go exactly where you want him to, or stay long enough once he gets there, but did anyone really expect anything else?" –Simon Vozick-Levinson, Rolling Stone (four stars)

“Like an epic jam with Crazy Horse, it's loose and baggy and always in the moment… The strength of Waging Heavy Peace lies in its openness and honesty. When you put Young's book down, you feel you know him.” –Dan DeLuca, Philadelphia Inquirer

“An honest, insightful, engaging and, dare we say, fun literary rambling. It’s a yarn told by a good buddy in a dark bar over beers and tequilas with great music on the jukebox in the background.” –Bob Ruggiero, The Houston Chronicle

“Surreal….Fittingly, Peace unfolds like a blustery Crazy Horse jam…occasionally hitting on an enrapturing revelation …a contradictory tale…refreshing.” –Entertainment Weekly

"Young has consistently demonstrated the unbridled passion of an artist who understands that self-renewal is the only way to avoid burning out. For this reason, he has remained one of the most significant artists of the rock and roll era." —Eddie Vedder

“Young writes with dry eloquence in a voice that is clearly his own…His narrative voice is like his music—direct, emotional, hopeful, sometimes funny, willfully naïve, and often, quite beautiful… At its core, Waging Heavy Peace is a story about love of the enduring variety.” –Jeff Miers, Buffalo News

“Lively, rollicking, high-spirited, and reflective… Like one of his long, inventive jams, Young weaves crystalline lyrics and notes about friends… with reflections on the enduring beauty of nature, and the lasting power and influence of music.” — Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Straight from the wandering mind and pure heart of Neil Young… Fascinating.” – Portland Oregonian

“A thick, digressive epic…Waging Heavy Peace is like his career in microcosm. Nearly 500 elliptical pages long, the book is beautiful, psychedelic, rootsy, ragged, terse, boring, riveting, sad, funny, nostalgic and forward-looking…. A must-read for Neil fans.” – David Marchese, SPIN

“Outspoken, wildly discursive, and thoroughly mesmerizing.” –Megan O’Grady, Vogue.com

“[Young] makes some of his finest music in this lyrical memoir, massaging our souls by hitting just the right chords with his words.” —BookPage

“Fascinating.” –Evan Schlansky, American Songwriter

About the Author

Neil Young’s music and songwriting—which span forty years and thirty-four studio albums of rock and roll, folk, and country, with shadings of blues, techno, and other styles—are among the most enduring and popular in modern times. From his early days with Buffalo Springfield through his solo career and collaborations with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crazy Horse, and dozens of other notable musicians and groups, Young is acclaimed for both his musical talents and his artistic integrity. With a major hit in every decade since the sixties, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice (as a solo artist in 1995 and as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997). A well-known political activist, environmentalist, and philanthropist, Young has been involved in several causes, notably cofounding Farm Aid and The Bridge School, which assists children with physical impairments and communication needs.

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3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By F. Muir on Nov. 13 2012
Format: Hardcover
Being a Neil Young fan, a man whose songs through the last four decades will leave a legacy of a marvellous tunesmith, I purchased this book expecting a tome similar in content. Was I wrong. I forced myself to trudge through the near 500-page book expecting an introspective (and retrospective) look into the man and his complicated life. Instead, the first 100-odd pages are devoted to cars. Expect many sentences that run no more than 4 words at a time and essentially say nothing. Expect many exclamation marks that are inappropriate to the statement. Do not expect anything deeper than his love for his current family (sorry, but to me a given) and little regarding the trials and tribulations with his involvement with Buffalo Springfield and C,S,N & Y. These and his troubled relationship with his father ("daddy") are merely glossed over and professes his love for everyone he has ever partnered with. I do admit that the last 50 pages showed promise but it cannot make up for the previous drivel. Finally, to claim that he wrote "Old Man" about a man from whom he purchased his ranch rather than his father is hard to stomach. As was mentioned previously, if you want a deeper look into the man, read "Shakey" by James McDonough.
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Format: Hardcover
I stopped reading after the first 50 pages and had finally picked back up tonight for the first time in months. After 10 more pages, I logged into amazon to see if others had found a similar struggle to continue. It's unfortunate as I really wanted to like this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I apparently share the same view of this book as many other reviewers here. I made it through about 70 pages before I had to give up. Young rambles on in a stream-of-consciousness sort of way - a paragraph about his train set, followed by a paragraph about Crosby, Stills and Nash, followed by a paragraph about his vintage cars. The book badly needs editing (if not ghost writing) and is basically unreadable in its current form. I am a fan of his music, however.
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I can see why some folks get frustrated with this book - Mr. Young often repeats himself and bounces hither and yon according to his fancy. This doesn't bother me so much. That's primarily because of one of the things I like about this book is that it's completely in his voice, and one suspects, his character - which is something I want to get from an autobiography. Further, an enduring force in music such as he has nothing to prove - it is what it is.

I wish I could give 5 stars because of that, and because of the elements that were open, informative and touching - there were many. However, in equal measure there were elements which were held back (albeit for his own personal reasons - and he says so) and others that became tedious. I prefer to recall the touching and informative bits but must recommend that whichever way your reading experience goes, as with Mr. Young, odds are it will be one-of-a-kind, too.
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Wow!I laughed when I wasn't supposed to. Neil rambles through most of this book. Although I love the man and his music, his writings are repetitious, infantile (sometimes), and play out like a recorded transcript complete with hesitant sentence fragments and uncomfortable pauses. It works when he reminisces about his childhood and his musical friends and enemies. He also seems to come clean about how his history of control has left a trail of damage in the form of broken relationships. It's good that he has "given up booze and weed" (Dr.'s orders) and his musings on the nature of his creativity while off the substances that he has relied on for many years is brave, engaging and revealing. And here I thought Cros was the one with the demons...

I have always wondered about the relationship with his wife, Pegi, and all his children. Here he sheds light on his deep love for family and throughout the book, I found this to be the most touching and meaningful. If you are interested in this powerful bond, I recommend the book. If you are looking for some deep insight into him from an objective (and more harsh perhaps) perspective, go read Jimmy McDonough's book of a few years ago.

Still love the man.
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In his on-going stream of consciousness narrative, Neil Young, the Rock and Roll legend, steps off the stage. Still anxious to burn out, perhaps fearful and knowing that this is happening; he steps into the confessional and bares his soul: his hopes and dreams, his loves and losses, his pain and suffering.

Sober and clean, Mr. Young, hoping a tour with Crazy Horse will bring it back, has lost his lyrical muse. But, he still has dreams. Lionel trains, clean cars, and better sound are his present focus, both personal and commercial. These dreams have been and continue to be part of the man's fabric.

Loves, losses, pain and suffering are the very heart of his story. His love for his wife, children, and friends are the double edged sword giving him strength to soldier on in life and at other times challenging that very will.

Waging Heavy Peace is spiritual; it is very real and personal health concerns; it is war. Neil is a man called to battle every day of his life.

Once a dream to be Neil Young; now a prayer for the one who is.
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