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Apologetic from a devotee,
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This review is from: Walk on: The Spiritual Journey of U2 (Paperback)
This book suffers from two main weaknesses. Firstly, it is an outsider's view. Stockman has no first-hand interviews with the boys in the band, and is thus forced to rely on second-hand material. Since he has not taken his questions directly to Bono and Co. much of his writing lacks the ring of intimacy and must be regarded as an outsider's best guesses.
The second weakness is that it is unremittingly hagiographic. This became obvious early on in the book, so I was on the look-out for places where Stockman questions or criticises anything the band have done . . . and discovered only one example. (When the band chose to end the European version of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb with the track Fast Cars instead of, as in the US version, Yahweh.) I wasn't looking for a hatchet job, but an objective appraisal requires a little more than adulation alone: a degree of detachment and an ability to genuinely critique the band's work is lacking. As it stands the book is more of an apologetic from a devotee.
Two positive things: the book is well-written and appears to be well-researched. This earns the book the 3 stars in my rating. Stockman can be quite lyrical in his own right and his book does contain many genuine insights into U2's work, albeit, as mentioned above, second-hand.