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Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream [Hardcover]

Neil Young
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Oct 2012

Waging Heavy Peace is the remarkable memoir of rock icon Neil Young

Neil Young is a singular figure in the history of rock and pop culture in the last four decades, inducted not once but twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Reflective, insightful and disarmingly honest, Waging Heavy Peace is his long-awaited memoir. From his youth in Canada to his crazy journey out to California, through Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash, to his massively successful solo career and his re-emergence as the patron saint of grunge on to his role today as one of the last uncompromised and uncompromising survivors of rock 'n' roll - this is Neil's story told in his own words.

Young presents a kaleidoscopic view of personal life and musical creativity; it's a journey that spans the snows of Ontario to the LSD-laden boulevards of 1966 Los Angeles to the contemplative paradise of Hawaii today. Along the way he writes about the music, the victims, the girls and the drugs; about his happy family life but also about the health problems he and his children have experienced; about guitars, cars and sound systems; about Canada and California and Hawaii. Candid, witty and revealing, this book takes its place beside the classic memoirs of Bob Dylan and Keith Richards.

'Wryly funny, deeply moving, painfully honest' Guardian

'He's talking to you, not at you, unravelling himself as well, and you don't want it to end . . . You see rock and roll history from the inside out, and in the present tense' Independent

'Young appears bounteous and joyful, a genuinely happy hippy . . . Unusually for a rock memoir, this one is almost completely angst-free' Sunday Times

'Dryly hilarious . . . poignant . . . Waging Heavy Peace shows that Young is still in full possession of that stubborn, brilliant, one-of-a-kind instrument' Rolling Stone

'A real treat . . . he writes openly and movingly abut the key figures in his life...you feel you know Young better for reading it' Metro

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (4 Oct 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0670921718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670921713
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


This year's biggest music biography, Neil Young's memoir is absolutely fascinating. The singer writes candidly, revealing much about the life experiences which have influenced his song-writing. (Bookseller magazine)

Neil Young has never been your average rock star and this is not your average rock star autobiography . . . Over the course of its 500 pages, Waging Heavy Peace is variously wildly idiosyncratic, unpredictable, bafflingly digressive, wryly funny, deeply moving, painfully honest . . . infuriatingly elusive and shot through with moments of rare insight and beauty, which you might say makes it the perfect literary counterpart to the 50-year career it describes (Guardian)

He's talking to you, not at you, unravelling himself as well, and you don't want it to end . . . You see rock and roll history from the inside out, and in the present tense (Independent)

Young appears bounteous and joyful, a genuinely happy hippy . . . Unusually for a rock memoir, this one is almost completely angst-free (Sunday Times)

Dryly hilarious . . . poignant . . . Waging Heavy Peace shows that Young is still in full possession of that stubborn, brilliant, one-of-a-kind instrument (Rolling Stone)

A real treat . . . he writes openly and movingly abut the key figures in his life...you feel you know Young better for reading it (Metro)

A ride through Young's many obsessions . . . 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. 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 (New York Times)

About the Author

Neil Young was born in Toronto in 1945, and later went to live with his mother in Winnipeg after his parents split up. He moved to California in 1966 where he co-founded Buffalo Springfield before joining the hugely successful Crosby, Stills & Nash, and then embarking on a stellar solo career. He has been inducted not once but twice into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which describes him as 'one of rock 'n' roll's greatest songwriters and performers'.

Young is an outspoken advocate of environmental issues and the welfare of small farmers - he co-founded Farm Aid in 1986. He is also active in educatonal projects for disabled children, and co-founded The Bridge School which assists children with physical impairments and communication needs.

Widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation, Neil Young continues to live on his ranch in northern California and in Hawaii.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like A Conversation 27 April 2013
Reading 'Waging Heavy Peace' is almost at times like having a conversation with Neil Young. You never quite know where this will lead, but the conversation is worth the diverging views.

We learn early on that a recent MRI showed some 'cloudy features' in hs brain. Remember the dangerous brain malformation that caused a massive bleed , and you can understand why Neil Young gave up alcohol and marijuana. He tells us he has the clearest head he can remember, and, now seemed like the right time to tell his story. He will sit down and write a bit and the book is not in sequence. However, the life of Neil Young is filled with so much that interests us all, it feels all right.

Neil talks about his 'spiritual guide' his son, Ben, who has a severe case of cerebral palsy. His love is palpable when he talks about Ben. He and his wife developed their own school for Ben because they our not find one that fit his needs. The school is now open to many children. His wife is his love and she has stayed through thick and thin. He talks about his trains, one of the first stores he visits in any town is a train store. He discusses at length his new digital audio system, Pono. He has this system in several of his cars working out the kinks. He discusses his young life and then his life with Crsby, Stills and Nash, but not in great length. The nitty gritty of rock and roll and hippie life we might have expected is not explored to the depth I might have wanted. But, as I said, ths is a conversation with the man.

Neil talks about filming, making music, has he reached the peak of his music prowess? Neil is not sure, he thinks at the age of 65 he may have a lot more to offer. I agree, hs CD's keep coming out and they are grand. Neil Young is my music hero, long may he sing!

Recommended. prisrob 04-27-14
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I expected plenty of gushing, lengthy, worthy reviews of this book, (from Neil Young fans), all giving themselves helpful votes and slaps on the back for all the other gushing lengthy reviews. And I wasn't disappointed. It's only to be expected. I'll try to keep this short and impartial.

There are questions that have been in my mind for decades ( geddit?)- like "What in God's name was going through his head when he recorded Trans?".... "What did he think of "Sweet home Alabama"?"........What did he think when he first heard America's "Horse with no Name"?........"Why was he scowling for the entire 1970's ?" ........ He answers these in a satisfactory manner , a fact which to me, alone made the book worthwhile and deepens my respect for this complex character.

This is a huge book , both in size and importance. In many ways it's a rambling mess but it does give you a great insight into Neil Young and what makes him tick. However he is obsessed with the "word count" ( having presumably come to some agreement with the publisher). In fact he mentions the word count 3 times. This means the book is padded in a disgraceful way that I have never seen before. If you took away all the "great, fantastic, devoted, inspirational" adjectives, you could condense the book by about 10%. But it gets worse. Great swathes of text have been inserted merely to make the book larger. The low point comes when he describes a visit to Costco in agonising detail, describing how "all the flashy flat screen TV's greeting us with their shiny displays mirroring all of the neon lights in the ceiling' " (?) He then goes on to describe with appalling intricacy his purchase of a replacement head for his electric toothbrush.......

There are some really interesting segments in this book, however.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a one to one 3 Mar 2013
Yes it rambles and runs back and forward in time. All the same I loved this book finding it unput-downable.Like his music one does not know what to expect next and honestly I found it a fabulous read and a wonderful insight into how this unique artist ticks. The book describes the true individual he is both following his Muse and his many interests and pursuits. It was a real pleasure to share the recollection of these experiences with him through the medium of this book. Personally I found it uplifting that he could stick to his beliefs through thick and thin and stay true to his calling and aspirations.I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and was inspired. The only disappointment was getting to the end too quickly!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Young - Renaissance Hippy? 20 Jan 2013
Neil Young's book is many things: it's a rock memoir, a stream of his consciousness, his apologia, a eulogy for his passed friends and collaborators, an eco-propoganda piece, high-definition audio propaganda piece, a love letter to his family, an unedited mish-mash, an insight to creativity, classic car story, anti-war campaign pamphlet, a confession and more. And I found it very compelling reading.

Nearly forty years on I find I'm much more into Neil Young's songs and music than I was in the seventies, but without really knowing very much of it very well. The rock memoir elements are really engrossing to anyone with some interest in Young, Crazy Horse, CSNY and Buffalo Springfield. But the power of the book is in the way Young's life story - his passions and his family - gradually unfold in amongst the tales of his collaborations and experimentations in music and film.

There's a real poignancy which comes through, partly in the account of his son's disability, partly through the loss of his friends and what might have been, and partly through Young's own fears around the aging process and loss of faculties. You feel he just had to get all this written down and off his chest, and it makes for an absorbing book.

He is currently expending considerable time and effort on promoting high definition digital audio and electric vehicles in the US, and personally I buy into his vision on both counts. Others may find those sections of the book less interesting.

The book does have the feeling that the editing process simply didn't happen, but I think it's just that he says what he thinks in his own way and his voice comes through powerfully. He's a one off for sure: an original rock'n'roll survivor, impatient and idealistic with regrets and flaws.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not epic but interesting
Interesting in parts but overall not as exciting as one might hope considering the legend that is mr Neil young
Published 1 month ago by Ben
3.0 out of 5 stars Marred by lack of organisation and editing
I am a huge Neil Young fan and I enjoyed large parts of this book. I can see why its rambling nature might have a certain charm for some readers. Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. Barr
2.0 out of 5 stars My old man's opinion...
Item is in great condition but the writing is unconstructed and hazy at the best of times. "The man is crazy" ;)
Published 2 months ago by Stephen Burrows
4.0 out of 5 stars Brother Neil does not take prisoners where the thoughts of buffaloes...
Now, I have always liked Neil Young's music and lyrics-although the hippie is never far from the surface. Read more
Published 3 months ago by "Belgo Geordie"
5.0 out of 5 stars Walk Like a Giant
Loved this very much like a conversation with Neil Young and worth reading ,covers many topics and seems a bit stream of concsciousness at times but all the better for it . Read more
Published 4 months ago by Brian Mcpherson
5.0 out of 5 stars one side of a conversation
Very enjoyable.

It's not a well planned autobiography.

More a stream of thoughts. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rocking Rick
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't meet your heroes
the saying not meet your heroes applies here, his drive and vision leads to brilliant music but not a good read.
Published 5 months ago by P.J.
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting book
neil young writes a very interesting story of his life both present day and in the past.a great read.buy it now.
Published 5 months ago by julia judkins
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ego Has Landed
It's tempting to write a long, rambling review of this long rambling book, but suffice to say that I couldn't put it down, despite being irritated by Neil Young's egocentric view... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Marc d'Aboville
4.0 out of 5 stars Over and Over again my friend
Over and over again my friend(1)

This book was given to me as a birthday present. I first heard Neil Young in 1971 on my mate's copy of his album, After the Gold Rush. Read more
Published 6 months ago by DennisF
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