Reviews for Surrender

by Bono

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The U2 frontman considers his life through the lenses of faith, family, activism, and, occasionally, music. It’s not that Bono avoids discussing his world-famous band. He writes wittily about meeting future band mates (and wife) in school in Dublin and how he first encountered guitarist The Edge watching him play music from Yes’ album Close to the Edge. “Progressive rock remains one of the few things that divide us,” he writes. Bono is candid about the band’s missteps, both musical (the 1997 album, Pop) and ethical (force-feeding its 2014 album, Songs of Innocence, to every Apple iTunes customer). At nearly every turn, the author spends less time on band details than he does wrestling with the ethical implications of his successes and failures. Dedicating each of the book’s 40 chapters to a U2 song gives him a useful framing device for such ruminations: “Bad” deals with the loss of a friend to heroin, “Iris (Hold Me Close)” with the death of his mother when he was 14, “One” about the band’s own struggles. Considering Bono’s onstage penchant for sanctimony, his tone is usually more self-deprecating, especially when discussing his efforts to address AIDS in Africa and find the “top-line melodies” that would persuade politicians to release funding. He concedes being imperfect at the job; after a weak negotiation with then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he recalls being berated by George Soros, who tells him he “sold out for a plate of lentils.” There’s little in the way of band gossip, and the author has a lyricist’s knack for leaving matters open to interpretation, which at times feels more evasive and frustrating than revealing. But he also evades the standard-issue rock-star confessional mode, and his story reveals a lifelong effort of stumbling toward integrity, “to overcome myself, to get beyond who I have been, to renew myself. I’m not sure I can make it.” Chatty and self-regarding but pleasantly free of outright narcissism. A no-brainer for U2’s legions of fans. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal
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Bono (born Paul Hewson in 1960), lead vocalist and lyricist of the band U2 and philanthropist, tells his story in a lively, conversational style. He begins with his childhood in suburban Dublin and includes details about the sudden death of his revered mother and the formation of U2 with three local teenagers. The singer charts the band's musical development from its punk-inspired debut Boy (1980), to its million-selling statement about America, Joshua Tree (1987), to the electronica of Zooropa (1993), and their more recent efforts. In the last section, Bono deals with his increasing involvement in such social issues as forgiving debt for the lowest-income countries and his staunch fight against AIDS, poverty, and racism. Throughout, he touches on his faith, family, and encounters with such notable musicians as Luciano Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra, and Johnny Cash; politicians Mikhail Gorbachev, Angela Merkel, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush; and businessmen Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates. VERDICT Sometimes confessional, many times humorous, and always clever and entertaining, Bono has delivered a fascinating autobiography of a major force in popular music and world affairs for all readers.—Dr. Dave Szatmary


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The U2 frontman considers his life through the lenses of faith, family, activism, and, occasionally, music.Its not that Bono avoids discussing his world-famous band. He writes wittily about meeting future band mates (and wife) in school in Dublin and how he first encountered guitarist The Edge watching him play music from Yes album Close to the Edge. Progressive rock remains one of the few things that divide us, he writes. Bono is candid about the bands missteps, both musical (the 1997 album, Pop) and ethical (force-feeding its 2014 album, Songs of Innocence, to every Apple iTunes customer). At nearly every turn, the author spends less time on band details than he does wrestling with the ethical implications of his successes and failures. Dedicating each of the books 40 chapters to a U2 song gives him a useful framing device for such ruminations: Bad deals with the loss of a friend to heroin, Iris (Hold Me Close) with the death of his mother when he was 14, One about the bands own struggles. Considering Bonos onstage penchant for sanctimony, his tone is usually more self-deprecating, especially when discussing his efforts to address AIDS in Africa and find the top-line melodies that would persuade politicians to release funding. He concedes being imperfect at the job; after a weak negotiation with then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he recalls being berated by George Soros, who tells him he sold out for a plate of lentils. Theres little in the way of band gossip, and the author has a lyricists knack for leaving matters open to interpretation, which at times feels more evasive and frustrating than revealing. But he also evades the standard-issue rock-star confessional mode, and his story reveals a lifelong effort of stumbling toward integrity, to overcome myself, to get beyond who I have been, to renew myself. Im not sure I can make it.Chatty and self-regarding but pleasantly free of outright narcissism. A no-brainer for U2s legions of fans. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Bono, lead vocalist and primary lyricist for the rock band U2, reflects on his creative and personal evolution in this powerful and candid debut memoir. Born Paul David Hewson and raised in 1970s Dublin by a Catholic father and a Protestant mother, Bono always viewed music as his “prayers.” With remarkable frankness, he details what makes a great song (“The greatest songwriting is never conclusive, but the search for conclusion”); domestic life with his wife, Ali, and their four children; how the band almost fell apart during the 1990 recording of Achtung Baby (“We ran out of love for being in the band”); why he always wears glasses (migraines that were eventually diagnosed as glaucoma); and his experience of the conflict between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland that lasted from 1968 to 1998. Along the way, Bono also shares plenty of memories of famous friends—Prince, he notes, is a “genius” who made him realize the importance of U2 owning their master tapes. Self-aware (Bono admits that sometimes he feels like he’s “a sham of a rock star”) and poignantly reflective (“I’m discovering surrender doesn’t always have to follow defeat”), this is a must-read. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown. (Nov.)

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