The Music Book Reader Bulletin

by Andy Childs.

WAGING HEAVY PEACE by Neil Young
(Viking 502 pages, hardback).

Of all the books written about Neil Young, Shakey by Jimmy McDonough is perhaps the most revealing, Johnny Rogan’s Neil Young : Zero To Sixty the most musically exhaustive, and Neil & Me by Scott Young and Being Young by Astrid Young the most endearing. None of them, I would venture, quite get to the soul of the man so, as a long-time and mostly unwavering Neil Young fan, the publication of a possible intimate autobiography along the lines of Dylan’s Chronicles was an event that I was relishing more than the release of his next album. And of course as a long-time Neil Young fan I obviously shouldn’t have known what to expect.

Waging Heavy Peace, whilst offering no major surprises itself, is defiantly not a standard rock star autobiography and, on balance, all the better for it. Instead of an ordered, chronological appraisal of a life and career Young has written a rambling, folksy and eminently engaging trawl through various episodes in his life and interspersed it with frequent impassioned digressions to plug his latest obsessions – PureTone (now called Pono), his digital delivery system that enhances music downloads to studio sound quality, and Lincvolt, his electric/ethanol-powered environmentally-friendly car. There’s a lot in this book about (mostly old) cars which Young is able and more than willing to chat about endlessly, model railways (another life-long infatuation), and the occasional boat. It seems Young is happiest when he’s moving along both physically and artistically.

Continue reading at Caught By The River website

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