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W.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose [Paperback]

Mick Wall
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 10.10 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Griffin; 1 Reprint edition (20 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312541481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312541484
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 864,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

W.A.R. A big, brash history of Guns n' Roses charismatic, talented and idiosyncratic leader"An archetypal rock biography that captures the runaway-train spirit of the singer and his band--You don't have to be a Guns N' Roses fanatic to dig this energetic, comprehensive, few-holds-barred portrait of modern metal's most charismatic figure."--"Kirkus Reviews"Even in the rock world, a figure like Axl Rose do... Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth? 30 Jun 2008
By R. Mullaney VINE VOICE
From the seedy Sunset Strip clubs of 1980's Los Angeles emerged a rock band so blisteringly intense they would later be labelled 'the most dangerous band in the world.' Led by Indiana youngster W. Axl Rose, Guns 'N' Roses would blow up into the most relevant band of a generation and complete World domination would eventually be overshadowed by their offstage antics. General hellraising eventually gave way to big egos, power trips, cancelled shows and rumours of huge rifts between band members. At the centre of it all, the complex but undeniably talented Axl.

I've been a fan of Guns 'N' Roses ever since I was introduced to 'Appetite For Destruction' by a pal at middle school. I was slightly too young to catch them live during their 1987-1992 heyday but I've listened to their albums regularly ever since. Much has been written about the bands eventual splitting up and I was pleased to get my hands on former Kerrang! journalist Mick Wall's biography of Axl, hoping it would clear a few things up.

So does it?

No. Not really. Whilst the book is interesting enough, there's very little here that a Guns 'N' Roses fan wouldn't have heard already. Having being in the fortunate position of being granted access to Axl's inner circle, there are a few interviews and personal experiences Mick draws upon but ultimately no revelations or new information. For the most part, Axl is portrayed as a totally unreasonable ego-maniac who alienated his bandmates, management, friends, family and girlfriends. There is probably a lot of truth in this as it's difficult to ignore the fact that Axl has fallen out with virtually everyone he ever worked with but Mick Wall does often seem to have another agenda.
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Amazon.com: 3.1 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An informative but superficial biography 19 Feb 2008
By Sastenio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you don't already know too much about Axl Rose and Guns 'n' Roses, this is a very informative read. On the other hand, there's nothing here that's really new. Most, if not all, of the information is from secondary sources (published articles and interviews, website posts, etc.) rather than original research. It's as much a biography of the original members of Guns 'n' Roses as about W. Axl Rose. Their stories are inextricably interwoven--it's only to be expected that a bio of Axl will cover a lot of GNR territory; however, as the title promises a bio of Axl, I was expecting a little more than I got. It's tempting to compare this book with the recently published biography of ex-GNR guitarist Slash, but I won't, because Slash was cool enough to give us a window into his own life in the writing of that book and was completely on board with its content, while this bio of Axl is, as the title says, unauthorized.

It does cumulate to some degree the timeline of Axl's *still* unreleased CD Chinese Democracy, and I came away with a slighly better understanding of the mystery behind its perpetual delay. Writer Mick Wall also covers the known facts of Axl's seclusion and the emotional and legal entanglements of the years following the disintegration of the original Guns 'n' Roses, the evolution of the "new" Guns 'n' Roses, and the persistent striving toward perfection that seems to inform (and torment) every choice made by Axl Rose.

While this is a worthwhile read for anyone who wants to know something about the provocative frontman to one of the world's biggest rock bands and how it all went down, as a biography W.A.R. fails to meet its own challenge. True biography requires much more in-depth research into the biographer's subject, with input from the primary players in the life of the subject, from the subject him/herself when possible, and it requires a willingness to delve in a balanced, serious way into the influences and motivations of the subject in order to see the large framework of a life and its influence, and what that life can contribute to our understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit. Axl and his raw genius deserve as much. Hopefully his story will one day be told with the honesty it deserves.
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The lives of Axl Rose... 9 Mar 2008
By Daniel Maltzman - Published on Amazon.com
To be blunt, anyone who is a halfway decent writer, who has been following the saga of Axl Rose/GN'R over the years, could have written this book. There is really *nothing* new here--no new insights, no new information, no secrets revealed--nada. It's a mess--just every rumor and known fact, strung together, with nothing of value to any fan or anyone curious in learning more about Axl Rose.

And Wall--yeah, we know that you have a beef with Axl--but couldn't you have been just a little more objective, instead of using spin to paint as unfavorable picture of Axl Rose as possible? For example, when discussing the band's 2002 and 2006 tours, why did you only focus on the negative reviews, and not mention any of the positive ones? When discussing "the Spaghetti Incident?," why note that it was "poorly received," when in addition to some negative feedback, it also got 3.5 Stars from ROLLING STONE and other positive reviews, such as the one from Entertainment Weekly? And these are just a few examples. And what's with the snide remarks, one after the other? It's going on 20 years since "Get in the Ring" was released, time to move on...

To be honest, "W.A.R. The Unauthorized Biography of W. Axl. Rose" says more about Mick Wall than Axl Rose. This book is nothing more than the bitter ramblings of a hack--a mediocre journalist, in the guise of a book.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Certainly Not An Objective View of Axl's Life 22 Feb 2008
By K. Turner - Published on Amazon.com
I'm very torn about this biography by Mick Wall.

I should first say that the biography can be very enjoyable to read. There is, however, something that keeps getting in the way of making this book truly memorable.

Many people have issues with Axl Rose and it is clear that Mr. Wall is no exception. It is also obvious that he has not "moved on" from the falling out they had many, many years ago. Mr. Wall will have several paragraphs of objective storytelling and then ruin the whole thing but putting in a snide, irrelevant comment. These comments are frequent and tiring. Certainly, Axl is not an angel but instead of making Axl look bad, they make Mr. Wall seem self-important and childish.

I also read the autobiography by former Guns N' Roses guitarist, Slash Slash. Slash's book handles his issues with Axl in a much more objective and mature manner. I would recommend Slash's book over Mr. Wall's book any day.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Silly by the third page..... 14 Sep 2013
By Christopher - Published on Amazon.com
I'm not even beyond page three, and I'm not sure I can go forward. In the chapter titled "Introduction" the writer states, "The groups that looked and tried to sound like Guns N' Roses - the second-raters like Motley Crue and Poison - ......" Dude, what?? Motley Crue was putting out music WAY before Guns, and helped establish the entire scene on the Sunset Strip that Axl wanted a piece of...... Hell, Slash auditioned for Poison!! I'm not an advocate for either Motley Crue or Poison, but to see such a historical error discounts the credibility of this book. What a joke....... doubt I even read any further.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good content, not enough personal on Axl 14 Feb 2008
By M. Wright - Published on Amazon.com
While I did read this book in a couple of days and found it be entertaining and informative in many ways (old GN'R stories, some info into Axl's personal life, tour specifics with all versions of GN'R), I felt it did not get into what it should have been more, a biography of Axl. You know there is more to learn about Rose's childhood for example that he did not write about. Also, I thought Wall was a bit to simplistic in a negative sense towards Axl. For example, he writes in a negative sense of Axl and the new band and the effect (or lack there of) they had on the crowd in San Francisco in 2006. I was at the show he referring to and found that the crowd was extremely receptive and grateful. Overall, still entertaining and would recommend.
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