Random Review: Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream by Neil Young

Book Name: Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream
Author: Neil Young
Publisher(s): Blue Rider Press
Format(s): Hardcover/Trade Paperback/Audiobook/eBook
Genre(s): Autobiography
Release Date: September 25, 2012

Rating: 8/10

Full disclosure here: I am a huge Neil Young fan. I have just about everything he’s ever released solo and with ‘Crazy Horse’, ‘Buffalo Springfield’, ‘Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young’, and with his various other projects. Other than Shakey by Jimmy McDonough I have avoided biographies about Young because he’s such a private person that most of the stories told about him tend to be inaccurate to the point of being fiction. Because of that I was excited to hear that Young was penning his autobiography and would set the record straight about some issues.

I should have been smarter than to expect that.

While Young does talk about the past, it’s more so the reader will understand how he got to where he is now in life, and where he’s going in the future. Waging Heavy Peace is written more like a conversation as opposed to how many editor-heavy autobiographies are, and it’s as if Young is telling the story to readers as opposed to writing a book. One of the funnier things about the book is on more than one occasion Young mentions he’s changed the location he’s writing from, as if that had a bearing on what he was writing. Although, in a way, it probably did. The stream of consciousness style of writing fits Young.

Those that read Shakey know that Young had no intention of ever writing about his life. Because of Young’s belief that his father passed from complications from dementia Young decided that he should change his mind, and devoted an entire chapter about his decision. Another reason, mentioned several times in the book, is that in the couple years prior to the release of Waging Heavy Peace he was having issues writing songs. He felt that writing a book would generate funds to help continue a couple of his other projects while he recuperated from some illnesses. Those two projects, “LincVolt” and “Pono” are featured heavily in Waging Heavy Peace. Through most of the book Young refers to Pono as “PureSound”, but a name change was required for legal reasons.

If you’re looking for a history of Neil Young, Waging Heavy Peace probably isn’t the book you should be reading. But if you want to know about what makes Young tick and how he sees life, and where he sees himself and the music industry in future years, Waging Heavy Peace is definitely the right choice.


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