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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like A Conversation
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...
Published 15 months ago by prisrob

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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A book that doesn't say much
I can't quite believe that someone whose music is so complex, beautiful, and challenging, could write a book so banal.

First, okay, NY was never going to write a standard memoir, and I didn't expect him to. But I did expect that he would at least be interesting, and give some insight into the music he has made over the years.

Nope. What we get...
Published 21 months ago by Angry bluesman


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like A Conversation, 27 April 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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
5.0 out of 5 stars I been through the Desert on a Horse with No Name......., 1 Nov 2012
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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. It isn't written in chronological order which means you jump around a lot ( as does Mr. Young's mind, of course). I think he is very brave to have put all these thoughts down, unedited as it were. You get the feeling his life is full of "unfinished projects" ( perhaps no bad thing, if his descriptions of all his aborted movies are accurate) . But his accomplishments outside the world of music are impressive. Lionel Trains "Trainmaster Command Control" systems for instance, which are plugged mercilessly. As a part owner of Lionel trains, he goes on to explain with a sigh that all Lionel trains are manufactured in China now. Because all their competitors use Chinese manufacturers, they had no choice (?). Hippiedom has its limits when it comes to hard cash, it would appear.

The Lincvolt car- Americans will never take to small electric cars, they are just too dang small! - Neil decides that electric cars have to be "sexy", so he gets a hulking, chrome- festooned1960's "Lincoln Continental" and someone else puts an electric drive train in it. Just to be on the safe side it still has a thumping great internal combustion engine under the hood! .........He is obsessed with big, flashy, old ( American) cars as it happens. They are an important part of what makes him tick.

The PONO music player. One of the best parts of this book is reading about his obsession with how the way we listen to music nowadays is degraded due to the advent of MP3's. He puts forward many good arguments about this and it's extremely interesting. I'd say it's worth buying the book just for this discussion alone.

I did find it a bit wearing, being told the names of all the studio technicians- the backroom boys - who had worked on all the various albums. And how unique, great, brilliant, successful, impressive, influential, cool, and just plain great they ALL of them were. But the book is peppered with amazing anecdotes regarding CSNY, Buffalo Springfield, and many others. Sharing a spliff with Clapton while they got raided by the cops, etc, etc.

One other aspect of this book I found amusing is his obsession with timber. He describes all the various wood panelling in his various residences in great detail. Even the knots in the wood, at one point.

So is this a good book .. Yes, absolutely and I highly recommend it, because it is fun, awesome, inspirational, great, I have enjoyed this book immensely because it is FUN. This guy isn't far off being a genius. You sort of get the feeling he didn't treat his musicians all that well- sacking seems to come easily to him- ( and the way he related to women isn't explored in any detail, although there were plenty of them). But then it IS his book after all. Buy it, you won't regret it.
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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
By 
J. McNeill "Manager, Energy" (Delhi, India) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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. He still comes across as a strongly anti-government hippy at heart and he doesn't pull many punches, but most of those not aimed at the establishment are aimed at his younger self, and he seems to show great compassion for others. Long may he run.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't get this book it is because you don't get the guy - don't bleat, just move on., 31 Dec 2012
By 
Mr. AJW Crowle (Rose of the Shires, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If you are the sort of person who spends time trying to analyse what Neil Young songs mean to Neil Young then this book is not for you. If you are the sort of person who goes to Neil Young concerts and shouts out song suggestions during the set, then this book is not for you. If you are the sort of person who goes to Neil Young concerts and spends half the gig at the bar, this book is not for you. If you like to live you life through the equivalent of painting by numbers, this book is not for you. However, please buy it as you will be supporting some worthy projects.

If you spend your time thinking about what Neil Young songs mean to you, then you may enjoy this book. I think that this book tells you an awful lot about the author and those that cannot see this really do not get the man - and there is no real shame in that, it is not a crime. Writing a crap review based on lack of understanding may well be a crime though.

I think that this book makes an excellent companion to the "unauthorised" biography - Shakey. If you did not enjoy this book and have not read that then maybe you should give it ago and come back to this book.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A book that doesn't say much, 17 Oct 2012
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I can't quite believe that someone whose music is so complex, beautiful, and challenging, could write a book so banal.

First, okay, NY was never going to write a standard memoir, and I didn't expect him to. But I did expect that he would at least be interesting, and give some insight into the music he has made over the years.

Nope. What we get instead are lots of digressions about Neil's hobbies (toy trains, old cars, how sound quality is not what it was), and a lot of hippie sentiment. Nothing wrong with hippie sentiment - but when all he ever tells you about the people that he worked with is that they were all beautiful, man, and wonderful, man . . . it gets a bit repetitive.

For the first half, you forgive him a lot of rambling - after all there's more to come, isn't there? Nope.

And then we're back to the hobbies . . . seriously, this man is obsessed with sound quality to an unhealthy extent. I like to think I'm a bit of an audiophile myself, but you get the feeling that he is hearing things that no one else is. Let it go, Neil.

Ultimately here is a 500-page book that could have been condensed into a 5000-word blog. It's not a memoir, it has no structure, it's boring even if you love NY, and it tells you almost nothing.
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long May He Run, 27 Sep 2012
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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."

With a new album, "Psychedelic Pill", recorded with Crazy Horse due in October, Young's patience has clearly paid off, yet he remains a deeply contradictory person. A man with such reserves of patience he spends decades compiling his legendary archive releases or working on a definitive version of his thirty year old movie "Human Highway" yet someone who knows that first or second takes with Crazy Horse are usually the best and is not averse to "spontaneous change" waking up and halting a recording or changing musicians. As he puts it "Honesty is the only thing that works. It hurts to be honest, but the muse has no conscience. If you do it for the music, you do it for the music, and everything else is secondary. Although that has been hard for me to learn, it is the best and really the only way to live through a life dedicated to the muse. The muse says, 'If it isn't totally great, then don't do it. Change.'"

If patience is one of Young's core drivers, then his obsessive side clearly is too. A keen collector of cars (many of the stories involve one of his many classic cars, or start in Feelgoods, his garage) as well as model trains, manuscripts, photographs, records, clothes, and recordings. This obsessive ness sees Young immersed in several long term projects, including his work with Lionel, the model train company where he's searching for a method of accurately linking the sound and smoke effects of the models to the effort involved in pulling their loads; to Lincvolt, a four year project to power a huge Lincoln Continental by energy efficient means; and PureTone (currently renamed Pono) a sound system designed to "rescue my art form, music, from the degradation in quality that I think is at the heart of the decline of music sales".

Spanning his life from childhood in Omemee, Ontario up to 2011, Waging Heavy Peace takes a meandering journey, and if Young's reminisces of contracting polio aged five, of his old paper round route, or of mall shopping in Hawaii fail to grip you don't worry, shortly there'll be a chapter describing how he's illegally entering the States without a work visa heading for the golden promise of California looking for Stephen Stills and readying to form Buffalo Springfield. Or describing how Time magazine's famous photo of the Kent State shooting inspired him to write "Ohio" and record it the next day. Or, how holed up in his Topanga house semi-delirious with a fever he managed to write "Cinnamon Girl", "Down By The River" and "Cowgirl In The Sand" in one afternoon. Or, yes, how David Geffen sued him for making music "that was uncharacteristic of Neil Young" after Young delivered "Island In The Sun", "Trans", and "Everybody's Rockin' (the latter delivered in the guise of an old fashioned rocker after being told to go and make a rock and roll record).

Young goes to places he doesn't need to with a disarming honesty - be it failed relationships, his son's quadriplegia, his enduring love for wife Pegi, a brush with Charles Manson, or even to accidentally poisoning the attendees at his annual birthday party with poison oak. As you might expect in any memoir from a sixty five year old, the roll call of ghosts within the book is long. Crazy Horse Guitarist Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry (both lost to heroin within a few months of each other), Ben Keith the pedal steel player, arranger and producer Jack Nitzsche, producer David Briggs and filmmaking collaborator Larry Johnson all brighten the pages when Young talks about them with love. The spectre of his own mortality also dances in the background - his near death recovering from surgery for a brain aneurysm and the worry of a potential descent into the dementia that claimed his father loom large. The book's final paragraph, which sees Young taking a nap near a creek, then in his dreamlike state enter a cafe where his departed friends Larry Johnson and David Briggs are both having a late breakfast and seemingly waiting for him simultaneously bring both a smile to your face and a lump to your throat.

Young says, "Writing this book, there seems to be no end to the information flowing through me" and this theme and enthusiasm seems to still apply to all aspects of his life, be it his music, his family, or his various projects. Happily, Neil Young has neither burned out nor faded away, and long may he continue to run.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud., What a genius!, 5 April 2013
Great read. Sorely lacking in self aggrandizing stuff. It's full of model trains, cars, guitars, his family and people he's worked with ( not FAMOUS people necessarily, a lot of them no one's ever heard of). At one point he starts off about the meaning of fame and you think " oh wow, here come some insights etc" but in a couple of sentences he get distracted and starts talking about some vintage car or another! Fantastic. Lincvolt and Ben Young and Lionel trains and getting pissed that people don't play his albums any more after him putting so much thought into them. A great great book. Oh, and the new non MP3 music system I can't remember the name of. Stream of consciousness never came better than this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 27 Dec 2012
By 
Ms. J. A. Griffiths (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I received this book as a Christmas present and finished reading it last night. I literally couldn't put it down, meaning I was fairly unsociable over the holiday but never mind... I was hanging out with Neil Young! That is what this book felt like to me. Listening to some stories, laughing, and learning a lot more than I ever expected to about electric cars and model railways. Yes, the book is unstructured in the sense that it is not a chronological, Chapter 1: "I was born in Ontario..."-type of autobiography; Neil mentions at one point in the middle of the book that he's only re-written one paragraph so far, and it shows, but in the best possible way - Heavy Peace comes across as entirely genuine and totally uncontrived. The warmth with which Neil writes about his friends and family is lovely to read, and his interest in the world and passion for his various projects is inspiring. I also love the way he refers to songs he particularly likes or YouTube videos he's been watching - these references sent me straight off to Spotify to check the songs out and YouTube to watch the videos, which added an extra layer of engagement for me, especially when all the comments below one video of an early Danny Whitten performance all turned out be by other readers who'd arrived there via the book! I'm in my twenties and so obviously not a fan of 40 years standing, but Neil Young is now my hero. My ticket for his UK tour next year is bought, and he also made me buy a record player - as one of those young people who's only ever listened to MP3s, I'm excited to find out what music really feels like!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only a fan could love it, 21 Mar 2013
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Neil Young is an absolute hero of mine and one of the very few "greats" still giving as good as he ever did today. At least that has always been my view of him as a musician.........but what about Neil Young the author?

To be honest, at times this is a rambling and thoroughly disjointed autobiography. He writes about whatever he wants at any given moment so there is precious little chronological order to his story. On several occasions he also bored the living daylights out of me with Lincvolt, sound quality and yet another vintage car seemingly around every corner.

BUT, and it is a very big but indeed, you get the feeling throughout that he is speaking from his heart and speaking directly to you. It's almost like you're there listening to him in person and, for that, i find it easy to accept the obscurities and eccentricities which are clearly such an important part of his make-up.

He comes across as complex, slightly disturbed but ultimately a hugely decent man and the love he feels for his wife, children and friends comes across in spades.

Above all i feel i know Neil Young a whole lot better than i did before i started reading the book and that surely is what a good autobiography should do.

I remain a fan and he remains a hero, but i still think only a fan could love it.
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Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream
Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream by Neil Young (Paperback - 6 Jun 2013)
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