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Van Morrison: No Surrender Paperback – 4 May 2006

3.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (4 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099431831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099431831
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 196,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"'No biography is likely to tell you more about Morrison' - Adam Sweeting, Sunday Times"

"A compendium of detail, a neck-aching triumph of research" (Scotsman)

"Here is everything you wanted to know about Van Morrison... Rogan leaves no stone unturned" (Guardian)

"'Remarkably well-researched and deeply engrossing...Rogan's painstaking research yields an abundance of detail...Fascinating'" (Irish Times)

"'This characteristically accomplished biography shows the singer from every angle'" (Observer)

Book Description

Van Morrison: No Surrender is the definitive biography of one of the most influential figures in the history of popular music.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm in the US, and have not kept up with the various Van scandles that seem to have made the news in the last 15 years. Johnny Rogan certainly has, and seems to like to repeat media gossip. He also has much to say about Northern Ireland during the period when Van was far away and ignoring the politics as far as I can tell. Rogan really wants to connect Van and Ian Paisly, mostly because they lived in more or less the same area in the 60s. I don't really see the point in this, and can't follow Rogan's reasoning.
Rogan has made effort to reveal more of the 60s and 70s music business scene that is typically seen in music bios, and I appreciate that. However, he does not discuss the music, its influences and techniques as I would like, and Rogan and I seem to have very different musical tastes. I bought this book because I read a lot of Van biographies, but I recommend this only for the fanatic, or someone willing to spend money on a book you will throw down in annoyance many times.
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Format: Paperback
I've been a Van Morrison fan for many years now, and have always been interested in any book that gives an insight in to (perhaps) what makes the man tick.
If you are the same - i wouldn't recommend this book.
I'm an Englishman living in East Belfast for over 12 years, and frequently go for walks in the evening around Van's original stomping ground and up Cyprus Avenue and the like. Its so evocative. But I have to say - the author of this book would do well to do the same.
He gets the words No Surrender on every single one of the first 30 pages or so. And draws a direct correlation with Van's somewhat singular and grumpy public persona with his upbringing in a very Unionist area. Basically suggesting that all Unionists/Loyalists (and therefore - Van too) are grumpy, bigoted and intransigent.
I love a history lesson (even ones about the Troubles - but they do wear a bit thin and are 10 a penny) but I think there is more to Van Morrison - come to think of it - more to anyone from Northern Ireland (let alone East Belfast) than their political background.
A wasted opportunity Mr Rogan... there's so much soul in Van's music, and so much more to him, his music and his country of birth.
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Format: Paperback
This Van Morrison biography is a good read in the sense that you get a clear overview of his recording career and it is especially good in the early stages as it charts the progress of Van the struggling Irish show band musician working his way out of the Province. But as the book progresses it is also very negative towards Van as a person, the author seems to chose to talk to people who have hardly a good word to say about him and the longer this goes on the more the author's true feelings towards his subject are displayed, painting a fairly dismal picture by the end. With the exception of Magic Time the later Van Morrison works are not analysed at all, for example Rogan hardly bothers to discuss a single cut from 2003's What's Wrong With This Picture? This and other albums post 1990 are generally dismissed and placed in the context of the behaviour of an awkward personality who listens to no one and is unlikely to change now. This is a serious disservice as there has been a lot of fine material produced by Van over the last few years and at some point it will enjoy critical re-evaluation.

A few ridiculous comparisons are thrown in as well, purely for the purpose of belittling Van and they reflect badly on the author who at certain points is just getting stuck in. Rogan writes for example that the idea of Bob Dylan supporting Van Morrison (which is what happened on a brief UK tour in the `90s) is like having the Beatles as the warm up act for Freddy and the Dreamers. Well I know that if you put the two performers together Dylan is clearly going to emerge as the more significant but really the difference is neither as great or as extreme as the author would have us believe.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a good read and I was interested to read about Van's background / Them / life in detail. That said, Johnny Rogan plainly dislikes his subject, only showing an almost completely negative side of the man. Now, I know that it common knowledge that Van is no charmer, but come on!
Since reading the book, I have been reading up on some old interviews online, some of which are mentioned in No Surrender. Now, I am not as well read on Mr. Morrison as Mr. Rogan is. This I admit. I also admit to being quite a big fan of the Belfast Cowboy.
I must insist though, that the artist in the full interviews is simply not the same person as in the small quotes printed in the book. Simple as that. Check them out for yourself online.
Of course Van could and can be awkward etc, but the book just doesn't even come close to an unbiased portrait of the man.
Honestly, I am not blindly defending Van here. I am just mildly shocked to read the entire interviews.
Mr. Rogan doesn't slate the music in the same way, to be fair (most of the time). He just seems to have a personal dislike for Van. He is entitled to this as much as anyone else of course. I just don't understand why he didn't give a little bit more of a balanced view.
As to the comparisons to Ian Paisley...I'm still scratching my head. I grew up in Belfast and as another reviewer mentioned, I know a lot of people that are nothing like Morrison or Paisley. Very odd indeed. I think way too much is made of the fact that Van is a protestant. Also, who in their right mind wouldn't have remained tight-lipped about The Troubles when asked at that moment in time?
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