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Chapter and Verse - New Order, Joy Division and Me Hardcover – 18 Sep 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (18 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593073177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593073179
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.2 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 192,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Contains poignantly rendered family tragedies, told with warm humour and without self-pity... As well as showing a life saved and made by rock'n'roll, it illustrates someone almost effortlessly negotiating the rapids of success and stardom, armed only with street smarts and laconic Manc wit... A must for Joy Division and New Order fans'" (Irvine Welsh Esquire)

"A fascinating memoir...The book is filled with memories of every kind" (Mark Ellen The Times)

Book Description

The long-awaited autobiography of a legend of the Manchester music scene

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Chapter and Verse" starts off well enough - as a readable account of Bernard Sumner's childhood, but as it goes on the chronology gets messier and messier, to the point where it starts to confuse even me, as someone who is already very familiar with history of New Order and their label, Factory Records.

In particular, the parts about the business end - of running the Hacienda club and the record label - just aren't clearly enough explained.

So far as the music is concerned, Bernard comes across as a good guy with noble principles and amazing technical knowledge. In fact Barney's knowledge of equipment strikes me as being so good that he should write a book about that instead.

But, so far as former bass player and founding member Peter Hook his concerned, Bernard uses a good part of the book to have a go at him. This is pointless: to me it's like trying to involve the reader in a family argument that they do not and cannot possibly understand. What is the author trying to say? That New Order would have been a better band without Peter Hook? I don't think so. Unfortunately Barney's moaning (and even though he admits to it) leaves a bitter taste. This is a pity as Sumner undoubtedly has it in him to write a much more entertaining book. It's not that "Chapter and Verse" is badly written per se - it's a better style of writing than many rock music books (including some of those written by journalists) - but it does, particularly towards the end, jump backwards and forwards in time far too much.

Better editing could have improved this book. As it is, it's certainly worth a read (and not unenlightening) if you're a big New Order fan - but for anyone else, looking to learn about the group or who just wants a bit of light reading, look elsewhere.
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By Mr. M. A. Reed TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Well. This is a book you may never have expected. After Debbie Curtis and Peter Hook both wrote their side of the story, comes Bernard Sumner's take. It's wrtten in a very accessable style, and utterly disarming with understated humour. You're never more than a page or two from an anecdote involving Johnny Marr running at lamposts, a unexpected consequence of incompetence, or some hedonism-related buffoonery. Not only this, but many parts of Sumner's life are revealed, and whilst they have almost all been shown at one point or another - even if it was a small fanzine interview in 1987 - they are all here. The first twenty five years, running from Birth to Blue Monday, are covered in fascinating and refreshing detail, even though the story is very well known by no. The most fascinating parts of the tale are often skimmed over, with mild asides about important details - his first wife is mentioned once, and not by name, for example - and the albums "Power Corruption & Lies", "Low Life" and "Brotherhood" are not mentioned at all. The death of Factory Records, the other bands such as Revenge, Monaco, The Other Two - are not mentioned at all, and whole years of touring are blithely avoided. On the other hand, there's no sense of anything as such being concealed, more that its only mentioned when it might be relevant. Sumner though is gracious to Hooky as a musical talent, though that relationship is obviously non-existent. If you're looking for the answers as to how Sumner works, how he writes songs, or his view on playing live - and why he only played 17 live shows in 13 years - the answers are not here. But what you do get is a marvellous, witty, and enjoyable insight into the life of one of the most interesting musicians of recent times.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting enough but very poor editing lets it down. The early years in Salford and early days of Joy Division are fascinating, but Sumner is allowed to leave huge gaps (three whole New Order albums for instance: Low Life, PC&L and Brotherhood). He skates over things a competent editor would have insisted he elaborate on: life immediately after Ian Curtis, musical development, band tensions etc while he's allowed to bore us with tales of staying up late soldering his new synth. Yawn.

Some key relationships are barely mentioned and conflict with Peter Hook clearly does not tell the whole story and yet there are lengthy passages about getting wrecked in Ibiza which the reader is left to trawl through wondering if any of this is ever going to lead anywhere. I guess you had to be there.

If you're a New Order or Joy Division fan then this is definitely worth reading, but prepare to be annoyed by the gaps and unanswered questions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whilst this was obviously the first, proper opportunity for Mr Sumner to not only retort to all the recent New Order goings-on, but put over his side of what is one of the great tales of recent musical history, this book has left me wanting a lot more than it delivered. It is good to hear Bernard's voice at last - and it does come through quite well in the telling - there's his dry humour, wit and sometimes bloody-mindedness, which old New Order fans will be familiar with from live performances. But there's also frailty in his story, some of the childhood recollections were vivid and enlightening, much like Morrissey's tome - stories which made me empathise with his upbringing, dealing with disabled parents and difficult times of a poor Manchester background.

Bernard's book is very readable, and the narrative flows very smoothly, but I feel it has been overly edited to the point of really lacking any bite in the story telling. A proper technical memoir, detailing every aspect of recording each album, along with greater focus on the band's own relationships with each other and those around them at the time was what I suppose I was truly looking for - and hoping - this book would be. Without wanting to compare the two books now available on Joy Division's history, it is perhaps with some disappointment that I now await a full book by Steven Morris, who, from what I have read and observed in person, certainly appears to have the erudite wit and accompanying disinterest in taking sides, to write a truly definitive history.

That's not to say this book won't appeal to the majority of readers, and I'm sure it will do well and earn Bernard a great deal of respect. For us mac-wearers, who still search for lost bootlegs, buy broken Shergolds and listen to the music daily, however, the lack of comprehensive detail leaves it feeling a little unfinished.
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