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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Young - Renaissance Hippy?
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...
Published 22 months ago by J. McNeill

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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. It does create a feeling of intimacy and, unlike so many other books of this kind, one does not suspect that a ghost writer hovered over the author's shoulder. However, it delivers much less than it promises and there is a...
Published 5 months ago by M.B.


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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
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heavy Jelly, 13 Jan 2013
By 
M. R. Dangerfield (England) - See all my reviews
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This book, terms of value, is a con trick. Five hundred pages with an average of ten words a line, numerous small chapters with a half page gap at the beginning and end of each chapter. In a different format it would be half the
size, but then it would not look like a big impressive book with £25 price tag. Now I am well aware that
quantity does not mean quality, but the content is a woeful rambling mess. The whole thing reads like a stream of consciousness from someone who has decided tthat he will use his songwriting technique, which at times is truly inspired, as a literary tool. I love the music of Neil Young, see my review of his last album, and it is a wonder of the rock world that he his voice shows no signs of sgeing, but if he was really serious about writing an autobigraphy, he shouls have enlisted some help. The chronology rambles backwards and forwards, and then back again to repeat some trivial detail about cars or trains or how wonderful his wife anf family are. Now there is a place for these sort of details, but what is sadly missing is the music which is what made Neil Young who he is today. Perhaps he can't remember, but on the evidence of his archives, that seems unlikely, more like laziness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Enough already with the trains, 28 Dec 2012
Maybe there is a spiritual message in this book - but I can't find it. Probably best if Neil sticks to music and let that do the talking. I guess I wanted more about the politics behind his music because that's what I get most from listening to his music. Everyone is entitled to their obsessions and hobbies (model trains and sound quality in this case) but that doesn't necessarily make for an engaging read. It's an honest book and yeah he seems like a man with a heart of gold.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart of Gold, 22 Dec 2012
Written in a rather eccentric manner typical of Young's approach to music. Some may find it frustrating, he goes off at tangents and rambles on about minutiae; but the book is real, authentic, like much of Neil Young's best music. A regular auto-biography it is not, but he writes from the heart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waging a great review., 6 Dec 2012
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Not the usual rock star autobiography. Neil writes it as a stream of consciousness and you learn things about him and the way he has (and is) living his life. Great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Man look at your life, 2 Dec 2012
By 
M. Coller (Garden of Eden) - See all my reviews
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Imagine calling into see Neil for the day? He's at his ranch playing trains, looking at cars. Family nearby." Hey Neil tell me all about what's been happening over the last 67 years. I've got all day"

Neil sits down by his redwood framed fire place. From the days in Ontario, the first trip to LA onto stardom and peace in Hawaii. The obsessions with the various projects he has sunk his tme and money into. The many,many artists he has worked with . The struggles and joys of a typical rock star balancing life on the road, the studio and the homes.
Thats what you get over 68 ( yep sixty eight) short chapters. A cosy chat with Neil.What makes it is that it IS him not yet another heresay.Jimmy Macdonagh's brilliant Shakey easliy the best of that bunch.
So If Neil says he loves Stephen Stills you better believe it. Though it seems he loves just about everyone he's ever met. He even thanks everyone he's ever met in this book and 'the next book'.
It is a Hippie Dream as only the man himself can describe. Though sometimes he doesnt know himself how certain things happened. They just did.Us fans are fascinated by the stories behind the stories, you have to go with it. Where do so many songs come from? Why make so many albums in different styles? Facts can confirmed but theres some answers that arent there becuase they will never be there.
A man following his dreams and taking us with him on his journey. Heres to the next 68 chapters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars After the Gushrush, Neil loves everyone, 5 Oct 2012
By 
Mr. A. W. Riggs "bernard shakey" (Wallington, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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As a fan of many years, I know what to expect from ole Neil - the unexpected. This book finds Neil waging a heavy peace with himself or his many collaborators or friends? Both I guess. You'll know from the other reviews that the book shuffles around Neil's life, family & hobbies never staying long in one place, much like his music from the mid 80s. It's like reading The Sun newspaper a snippet here and there, when he arrives at a place you're interested in he's off to his toy train set or his Lincoln car. I was looking forward to hearing about his times with CSN but there's not much here. In chapter 57 Neil spends 4-5 pages about recording with Linda Ronstadt, Nicollete Larson and Emmylou Harris (Harvest, Harvest Moon & American Bars & Stars). Neil loves all of them they all have the best voices in the world - and here's the problem with the book Neil loves everyone. When Neil tells us about the drop in sound quality MP3s he fails to understand that many people aren't audiophiles and just want to hear the music they don't give a stuff about Pono Ipod etc. He makes the valid point about music on shuffle that the music is rarely played in the order pre-determined on a vinyl record - but hey Neil we used to just get off our backsides and lift the needle onto the next track! Overall I enjoyed flipping through this book but there was really nothing new here. There about 10 pictures in grainy black & white surely we deserved a batch of unseen photos reproduced in good quality not these poorly produced photos and there's the problem the book looks like it's been thrown together and like Neil's music he got bored with it and said ok print it!
Neil loves his family and the challenge with Ben Young has been a defining moment in his life, the odd thing in the book is that he always keeps referring back to the surname as if we didn't know who Ben. Zeke, Amber and Pegi are - on Pegi there's a whiff of self-promotion that should be avoided. Pegi is an ok backing singer but not a great songwriter.
Why is the writing so big and the spacing is odd - could have reduced the number of pages by half.
Let's hope Archives 2 is an improvement on this disappointing piece.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can an cult hero do wrong?, 2 Oct 2012
Yes he can! No question about Neil's musical achievement. But every great musician
is not necessarily a poet in his own right. Neil talks to the reader: yes. But it
is a book and not an audio book. He could have done better, the accomanying lectors should
have done a better job. They should have cut down 30 percent and should have told him to
condense more. There are too many "really great", "totally wonderful", absolutely...",to
name but a few. But beside a literary weakness what disturbs me most is that there is hardly any
historical perspective, no red thread to follow. Bob D. set the standard for a book like that.
Neil Y. TALKS to much about toy trains, automobiles, mp3 and the like. And for my part there are too
many details and the big picture is missing.He got lost in anecdotes and maybe h's too much convinced about
himself. An opportunity missed. Neil: you can do better! But- we love you still...
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2.0 out of 5 stars He says maybe a lot., 25 Nov 2014
Neil Young's book sadly leaves a lot to be desired. He talks a lot about his cars and his model train sets but most jarring is his constant nagging and it does become that of digital music and how he is in the midst of setting up a new company which will give us the listeners the best possible sound quality. We get this, but repeating and bringing the same subject up every 10 pages gets annoying. And one of the reasons he repeats is because the format of this autobiography is not in chronological order. We get snippets from Young's life and his experiences here and there. This is fine, but it appears as if ol' Shakey is jotting down what comes to him and then using that as a chapter. It feels uneven, but Gene Wilder did the same and expertly made the book flow.

Fans of Young will feel happy and disappointed in equal measure. Happy because Young is notoriously a private man and he does open up to us. But disappointing because Young is able to pick something interesting from his life, get us hooked in and then leave that story after one paragraph when you know the story he was telling could easily fill 3 pages.

The book is still interesting and it is touching that Young fondly remembers the people and friends that brought him here. But then again there are times where Young admits to messing up in life and not being a great father for example in his younger years, but then will end those stories with maybe i didn't do this right and maybe it was my fault etc etc. That sounds like a man that is strong headed and stubborn to me. All in all I love the man's work, he is a genius musically- but Young needed help on this book and you get the feeling that his stubbornness got in the way of what could have been a much better read. Instead this read feels as though you have stumbled in his office and found 1000 slips of post it notes with his thoughts on each one and that is all we really end up with.
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Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream
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