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Waging Heavy Peace Hardcover – September 25, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Rider Press; 1 edition (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780399159466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399159466
  • ASIN: 0399159460
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (608 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In his lively, rollicking, high-spirited, and reflective memoir, Young, the hugely influential Canadian singer-songwriter invites readers to sit down on his porch for comfortable conversations about his guitars, his bands, his cars, his inventions, his trains (he owns a small share in Lionel), and his family. Musically, he ruminates, he may or may not have peaked because "other things continue to grow and develop long afterward, enriching and growing the spirit and the soul." Young openly shares intimate moments of life with his sons, Zeke and Ben, who suffer from cerebral palsy, and his artist daughter, Amber, devoting entire chapters to the ways they have changed his life, as well as to his beloved wife, Pegi, and their life together. Like one of his long, inventive jams, Young weaves crystalline lyrics and notes about friends Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, and Bruce Springsteen, former band mates Stephen Stills, and the late great pedal steel player Ben Keith of the Stray Gators, with reflections on the enduring beauty of nature, and the lasting power and influence of music. (Oct.)

Review

“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

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

More like a journal, but like his songs, each chapter is totally different, in chronology and writing style.
S. C. Kelly
It's so very personal, humorous, warm and friendly to the reader---it feels like he's writing to me about his life and thoughts and accomplishments and dreams.
S. Weber
The book's a bit "ragged" in its "glory" but, if you can get past the commercials about his projects and cars, not bad.
Roger D. Stacy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

169 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Jefferson TOP 100 REVIEWER on September 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Writing this book, there seems to be no end to the information flowing through me."
"The past is such a big place." Neil Young.

Here it is in a nutshell. If you're a Neil Young fan, and want to read a book written in a conversational style, and want to know more about Young-straight from the well-buy this book. It's 497 pages of Young talking about just about everything he sees fit to talk about.

There's no Contents page, no Introduction, the Preface is two sentences in length, there's a Dedication Page (to his son Ben, "my warrior", and Young's family), and there's no Index. There's a black and white photo at the head of most chapters and a few others here and there (including a spaghetti recipe belonging to Young's father), but no separate section of photos. There's 68 chapters, most of them a few pages in length. The end papers have a photograph of a guitar that's been graphically altered four different ways. All in all, this is a simply produced looking book that fits Young the man/musician, and his writing style. His story is laid out simply, almost in a matter of fact style-like you hoped it would be written. Along the way there are many side roads that add depth and interest to Young's story.

Beginning at his ranch in 2011, with Young talking about his model train collection, and sharing it with his quadriplegic son, Ben, the story shifts to David Crosby and Graham Nash coming over to make some music shortly after Crosby got straight-"...still prone to taking naps between takes." Then it shifts to Young's love of old cars and anything dealing with transportation. His cars sit in a garage, where Young sits and thinks about his record company, and how he wants to improve the sound we hear on recordings.
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79 of 86 people found the following review helpful By wendavey on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
When an artist as venerable and important as Neil Young decides to sit and write an autobiography you hope for something special. An immensely prolific musician, Young has something of a reputation for being gnarly, cantankerous and difficult - after all this is a man who was once sued by his own record company for making music "that was uncharacteristic of Neil Young". As it turns out, despite it's jumbled narrative and occasional cul de sacs, the easy conversational style that Young employs in "Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream" makes the book both immensely readable and enjoyable. It's like listening to a grandparent reminiscing - the stories don't come in any particular order, occasionally they take strange tangents and they vary from the fascinating to the mundane.

The book finds Young in a drug and alcohol free state and the straightest he's been since he was eighteen. Recovering from a broken toe and needing to rest a while, he decides to both write his autobiography and start planning to record again with Crazy Horse (a band he refers to throughout in the third person, as a mystic entity) worrying a little if the muse has departed and whether he'll still be able to write songs in his new found sobriety. Despite having not written a new song for more than half a year, Young knows that patience is the key, "Songs are like rabbits and they like to come out of their holes when you're not looking, so if you stand there waiting they will just burrow down and come out somewhere far away, a new place where you can't see them. So I feel like I am standing over a song hole. That will never result in success. The more we talk about this, the worse it will get. So that is why we are changing the subject.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Philip S. Wolf on September 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Neil Young will always create his art a bit different from everyone else and the 68 short chapters of thoughts and memories that comprise this thick book (497 pages of Neil) represent some of what he has lived in the last 66 years from Ontario to Manitoba to many restless years calling the road his home to a migration to Los Angeles, California then to (at last!) find his home in the rolling hills of a place called the Broken Arrow Ranch in La Honda in Northern California.

From The Squires to the Mynah Birds to the Buffalo Springfield to Crazy Horse to playing solo and beyond. The music of Neil Young is touched upon where he wants to shed light. Not everything here is presented in the fashion that a normal rock biography would lay it all down. Neil, is telling stories and he tends to jump around from thought to different event. The music and the people he made it with are big part of this road he travels but his kids and his cars and his ladies and more cars and some toy trains are covered in these pages like the author is having lots of rambling conversations with you in front of a fire with the dogs at your feet. Neil, tells his story about Linda Ronstadt and Nicolette Larson singing on his great record "Comes a Time" from March 1977 in chapter 57. In the very next chapter you are startled when the floor starts moving in a hotel in Churchill in the northern part of Manitoba. Now you taken back in time to August of 1965 when Neil and the other Squires discovered a polar bear living under their room.

This is an easy read due to the fact that Neil lays down the tale and quickly moves on to something else.
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