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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad account of one man's descent into opiate psychosis.
Charles Cross's popular biography of Kurt Cobain is alarming reading. I read Michael Azzerad's Come As You Are back in '94 and remember an acutely different tale. Azzerad was fortunate enough to have had extensive interviews with Cobain, unlike Cross, and his book is strikingly disimilar to this.
Ultimately, I think Cross's account is the more accurate of the two. It...
Published on 10 Jun 2002 by Caliaudio

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping account of the self destruction of a rock legend
Where this book really scores is in the portrayal of Cobain's troubled early life and his years before fame. The seeds were sown for what was to follow, his inability to come to terms with almost overnight mega stardom. In being terrified by being regarded as the spokesperson for a generation there are obvious comparisons with Dylan, almost 30 years earlier. But unlike...
Published on 13 Nov 2011 by angelwhite


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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad account of one man's descent into opiate psychosis., 10 Jun 2002
By 
Caliaudio - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Charles Cross's popular biography of Kurt Cobain is alarming reading. I read Michael Azzerad's Come As You Are back in '94 and remember an acutely different tale. Azzerad was fortunate enough to have had extensive interviews with Cobain, unlike Cross, and his book is strikingly disimilar to this.
Ultimately, I think Cross's account is the more accurate of the two. It is also somewhat different in tone, being a biography of Kurt Cobain, not Nirvana. Cross pulls no punches, and his book is the better for it.
Cobain's duplicity as recorded here is astonishing. This is a compelling account of a man who desparately sought fame and recognition, who invented a history for himself barely worse than his actual past and, inevitably, this is a story of serious drug abuse.
The second half of the book - detailing the years 1991 to 1994 - is overwhelmingly concerned with Cobain's addiction to heroin. Contrary to popular belief, the singer was rarely clean for more than a few weeks during the last three years of his life. This is not light reading; it is the painful account of a young man's weakness and mental decay.
Throughout the book, Courtney Love is respectfully portrayed by Cross as a loving wife and supporter of Cobain. No doubt this is true in some respects, but you get the impression Cross backed-off detailing much of Love's character. In return she provided him with access to Kurt's diaries, some entries from which are published here. It was a reasonable trade-off, I suppose, but not terrific journalism.
Interesting and often horrific, Heavier Than Heaven is a valuable biography for its honesty, and the only essential piece of writing on Cobain so far. Recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping account of the self destruction of a rock legend, 13 Nov 2011
Where this book really scores is in the portrayal of Cobain's troubled early life and his years before fame. The seeds were sown for what was to follow, his inability to come to terms with almost overnight mega stardom. In being terrified by being regarded as the spokesperson for a generation there are obvious comparisons with Dylan, almost 30 years earlier. But unlike Dylan, the disturbed Cobain lacking mental strength and a stable background, was unable to ride out the storm. Coupled with undiagnosed health problems, heroin addiction preceded his suicide.

My reservations concerning the latter part of the book result from the major input of Courtney Love. It is very tainted. With all of her own demons she could not have provided the support Cobain so desperately required. This does not come through in the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, 16 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain (Scepte 21's) (Kindle Edition)
I found this book to be a great insight into the early years of Kurt Cobain - I previously knew very little about his childhood/teens having never read a biography on him before. It has obviously been well researched and extensive sources are listed, and the analysis of this period of his life is well written.

However, the book takes a turn as soon as Courtney Love is mentioned. It is from this point on that you begin to get suspicions that the insinuation that the book has been written with the permission of Kurt Cobains estate, is in fact an indication as to who is pulling the strings on the direction of this book.

Whilst there continues to be interesting passages from Cobain's life retold in a full and candid manner, any mention of Love is heavily skewed in painting her in a favourable light, and it gets worse as the book goes on. There are some passages about Love in which the writing style changes to an almost child-like rambling for a sentence or two (usually in her defence), which implies to me that they may have been written by Courtney herself.

I do recommend you read this book, but as soon as Courtney gets involved drop it immediately!

As an aside, whilst the author attempts to deal sensitively with the issue of drug-abuse, I can't believe that the author would have independently stated that parents can be full-time heroin addicts and 'fit' parents. Whilst I do not doubt Love's assertion that they were loving, they definitely were in no state to bring up a baby and leave it at home with (drug-addict) friends.

I will definitely look at more Cobain-bio literature though, in order to see how this fits into the existing material.

Peace out.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, emotional, thought-provoking, 24 Jun 2002
This book was very informative, and I learnt a lot of things about Kurt Cobain that I never knew before. It was sad to read about how he felt like he didn't belong anywhere, and had a lot of turmoil involving his family. It brought a smile to my face when I read that Kurt used to like sledding down a hill near his home as a child, but as the book went on it became sadder and sadder because of his downwards spiral in life. The suicide was written in such deal and with such care that upon finishing the book I was in tears, and I wasn't the only one - so was one of my friends who has also read the book. I would recommend this book to anybody who has an interest in Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, or just music in general as it is a fascinating insight into what made him the legend that he is today. A fitting tribute to a man who changed the face of music forever.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life seen from the endpoint, 19 Jun 2012
kurt Cobain will remain an iconic figure for years to come and this biography will be a cornerstone book for those wanting to know more.
Cobains story , small town boy , unhappy family , rock star, drugs , multi million seller , drugs , superstar , drugs , suicide...of course the problem with this book is we know how it ends , and that creates a prism through which his life is seen. Cross recreates the speed at which life must have moved for Cobain in the early 90s as though he was there. Somehow though everything seems written to justify the end , although I feel Cross puts too much emotion on the break up of Cobains mother and father as a telling event for all subsequent events. Most people whose parents divorce don't turn to heroin and blow their brains out. This book never really gets to a point of understanding this.
Why does Cobain turn to heroin ? I'm still unclear.
Why does Cobain get portrayed in a clear and good mood in early 1994 then commit suicide weeks later ?
How does Cobain reconcile wanting to be a better parent with heroin abuse and suicide ?

But of course we know how it ends , and this overrides the judgements . I was left at the end of the book feeling that Cobain was neither nice or appealing. What I found fascinating was that all the warning signs of behavior received either in appropriate or no intervention. The cries for help were loud , yet no one wanted to listen. The musical legacy will survive , the question of why still hangs in the air.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellently written, 7 Feb 2012
By 
cross says he spent four years researching and interviewing for this book and it certainly shows. i've read other biographies (not just about kurt) and often the writer will fall into spending more time telling you what isn't known and speculating on gaps in the history than they do about telling what they have found out - not so with cross. it's extremely detailed (but not in a labourious way), full of incidents/anecdotes/interview quotes & paraphrasing and facts/informed opinions. it's so well written that it reads easily and smoothly; and cross shows a compassion for kurt and everyone involved without undue sentimentality or melodrama or judgement. this book has been criticised for the end which i too criticise - some of the details are simply untrue (such as saying cali was in the house when he wasn't) and cross does veer of into the realms of fiction when it comes to kurt's death. this latter part is not justified criticism though because unless you were there you can only really speculate as to the events, which cross does in such a convincing way - i was in tears over it. as to cross's bias - he claims he was in no way censored by courtney - i don't think he was but i do think he is very pro-courtney and did perhaps portray kurt's depression inclined side more than his up side; but cross did have unlimited access to kurt's personal affects/journals so perhaps kurt's downside was more prevalient than his up (though it would be easier to see it that way if you think of someone as an eventual suicide) despite some friends saying he was often fun. this book is worth buying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN,BUT IS IT ALL TRUE?, 1 July 2011
I will admit i really enjoyed this book,though i did wonder if Courtney was being painted as a nicer person than she actually is.
Have just read some really negative reviews claiming courney had a lot to do with this,and yes,i do wonder.
I'd say it's always been quite clear that Kurt wasn't a very happy guy inside,and it would seem likely that he often considered suicide.
I was willing to accept that this was the truth to the author's knowledge,but some stories may've been a little different to actuality. Now i wonder how much assuming or twisting of the truth was done.
I won't go back on my belief that this is a well written book,that i was very impressed by,but i suppose it is just another version of the whole Cobain story. And to be honest,i've always had a problem with Courtney's version,so if this has got a lot to do with her,perhaps it is a little tainted.
I suppose unless you were there at the time,you'll never know the full facts. It's a book that gets you thinking though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic - intensely moving, 24 Mar 2005
I've read about five different biographies of Kurt Cobain, and this is by far the best. It is honest, potraying Kurt as a human rather than the saint we would like him to be, yet also doing fair justice to Kurts considerable talents. It doesn't slip into conspiracy theories or Courtney bashing - if you're looking for that I suggest you buy "Who killed Kurt Cobain?", but I find this biography to be by far the most revealing, and balanced. It is both objective and thorough - an absolute necessary for any fan looking for insight into Kurt Cobains tragic life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This one or No-one!, 20 Sep 2004
By 
M. Magowan "spudmeister" (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There's no argument when it comes to this book, this is the definitive biography of Kurt Cobain. There are plenty of others, and they all have their strengths, but Charles R. Cross has managed to do it. Heavier than heaven has everything you need; facts, stories and information. It's obvious that we're dealing with someone who knows what he's talking about and has done his research.
Another great feature of this book is that Cross refuses to sugar coat anything, whereas other Cobain Biographies do!
This book will leave you feeling enlightened. Your perceptions of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana would have changed drastically, and you came you can feel irritatingly smug as you show off your new-found knowledge of Kurt Cobain (as I have many times).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great look into the life of a genius, 20 Mar 2004
By A Customer
I learnt alot by reading this book. It is a touching and informative insight into kurt cobains life from the day he was born until the day he tragically died. It had me smiling at the pleasant anecdotes from his childhood, such as his trip to disney land with his grandparents, but as the book goes on you follow his downward spiral into depression. The suicide is written in such depth and with such emotion that it drove me to tears. This is a must read for any nirvana fan big or small.A wonderful read and a brilliant tribute to a true genius.
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