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Bono on Bono: Conversations with Michka Assayas Hardcover – 12 May 2005
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'Witty and entertaining ... [Bono's] heart is warm, his mind is sharp, and his conversation a rich, unstoppable noise.' -- The Sunday Times
In this Sunday Times bestseller Bono - the biggest rock star in the world - tells his life story, and speaks passionately about his hopes for the future.
Paperback edition contains a new chapter covering LIVE8, G8 and U2's massive Vertigo Tour.--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product description
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I've been a U2 fan for many years enjoying the depth and variety of their music - the way they share timeless truths in such current ways, so I was intrigued to read this book. The book covers much of what has been written about before, but it brings it all into one place, and adds a new dimension or layer to some of the stories as Bono opens up under Michka's questioning.
Included in the book is Bono's mother's death, his troubled upbringing, the start of U2, what each of the band would do if they weren't in the band. The usual topics of international aid and politics (although interestingly much less on the turmoil and politics of Ireland), economics, philanthropy, Bono's Christian faith and his views on God are all spoken and written about. But we also get to hear of some great anecdotes including sleeping in Brezhnev's bed, having Gorbachov turn up for Sunday lunch (having forgotten he was coming and having not told his wife!), been chastised by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, giving sunglasses to the Pope and more.
Throughout the book Bono comes across as deeply rooted in his Christian faith, and it is that that he believes has helped to keep him grounded. He is clearly a man with many ambitions, and has already had a lasting impact not just on the music industry, but also the way the Western world engages in international aid and brings poverty relief.
From his troubled adolescence and the death of his mother, to his recent first-hand experiences of international economics and politics, to his relationship with God and Christianity, Bono reveals all. Meetings with the Pope, George W. Bush, President Gorbacev calls round for Sunday lunch, there are some fascinating bits and pieces! Just as he appears on the point of pomposity or pretentiousness, out comes a quote from Monty Python, or a self-deprecating U2 story.
For a millionaire rock star, Bono comes across as remarkably in touch with reality and with his feet firmly on the ground. In fact it is astonishing that he appears to be so in touch with so many different realities, and still have a healthy sense of perspective. One senses a clear-headed ambition to achieve an ongoing balance between idealism and realism.
This autobiography takes the form of interviews which Assayas conducts with Bono. Assayas proves to be a good sparring partner and gets Bono to lower his guard (or perhaps penetrates it would be closer). He gets Bono to open up about some things he hasn't before. At other times they go over familiar territory such as the early death of his mother and the troubled relationship with his father. Aid, politics, economics, philanthropy, God, hypocrisy all get a mention. Anecdotes of the rich, and the famous; the good and ugly are here too (inviting Gorbachov to lunch and forgetting to tell his wife. Fantastic!). The interesting discussions centre on such ideas as grace over karma, the nature and virtue of celebrity and of course family and friends. And the songs; mustn't forget the songs.
Given all this it is remarkable the man isn't thoroughly autocratic or utterly delusional. Folk have gone over the top for less. A fascinating insightful read.
This book answers so many questions, and raises many more. The book is in the form of an extended interview over a couple of years (2002-2004) by a French journalist/friend. In it Bono, sometimes reluctantly, usually candidly, discusses faith, family, celebrity, politics, aids, africa, the band, influences, aging, and so much more. I found myself completely engrossed, stirred, challanged and maybe even changed by this book.
Does it reveal the 'real' Bono? Who is the real Bono? I didn't come away with all the answers, but with a renewed respect for a man comfortable with himself, but restless to do more, be more and mean more in this life, while looking forward to the next.
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