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Extended Audio Sample Waging Heavy Peace, by Neil Young Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,127 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Neil Young Narrator: Keith Carradine Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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For the first time, legendary singer, songwriter, and guitarist Neil Young offers a kaleidoscopic view of his personal life and musical creativity. He tells of his childhood in Ontario, where his father instilled in him a love for the written word; his first brush with mortality when he contracted polio at the age of five; struggling to pay rent during his early days with the Squires; traveling the Canadian prairies in Mort, his 1948 Buick hearse; performing in a remote town as a polar bear prowled beneath the floorboards; leaving Canada on a whim in 1966 to pursue his musical dreams in the pot-filled boulevards and communal canyons of Los Angeles; the brief but influential life of Buffalo Springfield, which formed almost immediately after his arrival in California. He recounts their rapid rise to fame and ultimate break-up; going solo and overcoming his fear of singing alone; forming Crazy Horse and writing “Cinnamon Girl,” “Cowgirl in the Sand,” and “Down by the River” in one day while sick with the flu; joining Crosby, Stills & Nash, recording the landmark CSNY album, Déjà vu, and writing the song, “Ohio”; life at his secluded ranch in the redwoods of Northern California and the pot-filled jam sessions there; falling in love with his wife, Pegi, and the birth of his three children; and finally, finding the contemplative paradise of Hawaii.

Astoundingly candid, witty, and as uncompromising and true as his music, Waging Heavy Peace is Neil Young’s journey as only he can tell it.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Elliptical and personal…Waging Heavy Peace eschews chronology and skips the score-settling and titillation of other rocker biographies. Still, Young shows a little leg and has some laughs…As the book progresses, the operatics of the rock life give way to signal family events, deconstructions of his musical partnerships and musings on the natural world. It is less a chronicle than a journal of self-appraisal.”

    New York Times

  • “Terrific: modest, honest, funny and frequently moving…Waging Heavy Peace takes the form of a diary, a life-in-the-day structure that gives Mr. Young room to maneuver, as he takes us on a wander round his memory palace.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Revealing, even (at times) oddly beautiful, a stream-of-consciousness-meditation on where Young has been, where he thinks he's going and, perhaps most revealing, where he is right now…It is compelling to see a figure as prominent as Young—arguably one of the five or ten most influential figures in the history of rock 'n' roll—express himself in such an unfiltered way.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Full of casual asides, unpredictable tangents and open-ended questions as he looks back on his life at age sixty-six....Young appears to be setting down his memories in real time as they occur to him…Dryly hilarious...poignant…Waging Heavy Peace shows that Young is still in full possession of that stubborn, brilliant, one-of-a-kind instrument. He doesn't always go exactly where you want him to, or stay long enough once he gets there, but did anyone really expect anything else?”

    Rolling Stone

  • “Surreal…Fittingly, Peace unfolds like a blustery Crazy Horse jam…occasionally hitting on an enrapturing revelation …a contradictory tale…refreshing.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Straight from the wandering mind and pure heart of Neil Young… Fascinating.”


  • “This in itself is lovely, as reading this book likely is a close as most of us will get to riding with Young in his bus, shooting the breeze, reminiscing.”

    Winnipeg Free Press

  • “An inspirational account of tragedy, triumph, and toy trains…If you love Neil Young you will love his autobiography…There is humor in his approach, and a preoccupation with the feeling of things; of sound, and with the world of soul and spirit…[Young’s] is a hero’s story; a man put through trial after trial who is still fighting at the end with humor, courage, and rage to be the most powerful and genuine artist he can possibly be.”

    Suzanne Vega

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jordan Simpson | 2/17/2014

    " Great book for Neil Young fans. Dont expect the best writing, but you will learn a lot about his life as an musician, entrepreneur, and father. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by kschmelz | 2/16/2014

    " Revelatory if you're a fan of his music, nonsensical to the uninitiated "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sarah Pi | 2/11/2014

    " I love the man's music and I don't regret reading this, but it's a bit of a head scratcher. Have you heard of Chris Ware's Building Stories? The book is actually a box of independent pieces, meant to be picked up and read in any order, but to form a cohesive whole in whatever order you read them in. Young's book is like that as well: more of a collection of thoughts than a journey, told in whatever order they occurred to him, without any regard for linearity or theme. Some of it comes across as a bit of an advertisement for his current projects: the Lincvolt electric car, and his crusade to restore musical fidelity (called PureTone through most of the book and then Pono in the last hundred pages). There's surprisingly little about the music itself, or songwriting. What there is of songwriting is mostly about his fear that he won't be able to write now that he's sober. Beyond that there's little introspection: most of the book is composed of tributes to friends and musicians, and tributes to well-loved vehicles. I'm pretty sure there are far more words devoted to his hearse than his guitar. Shakey: Neil Young's Biography goes into more depth in general. But why do we read a musician's biography or autobiography? Is it for the name-dropping? For his recollections of his glory days? Salacious stories or salvation stories? If it's to get a glimpse into a mind that wrote some of my favorite songs, then this book is it, in all its rambling, ragged glory. We're used to linearity, but he's spent his whole life composing in cycles of chorus and verse. I think this book is just another song. Probably a Crazy Horse song, with meandering instrumental passages and occasional returns to theme. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rick Terwilliger | 2/10/2014

    " Always nice to hear stories from the artist's perspective. Seems genuine. Bogs down a bit with all the Lincvolt and Pono sections...I get it, you're passionate about clean energy and sound fidelity! Otherwise a fun read by a great artist. "

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