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Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,747 Ratings  ·  330 Reviews
This bold narrative written by the drummer and lyricist for the band Rush shows how Peart tried to stay alive by staying on the move after the loss of his 19-year-old daughter and his wife. The book will be sold as part of the band's official merchandise during its 47-city American tour. 20 photos. 15 maps.
Paperback, 460 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by ECW Press (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 24, 2013 Chip rated it it was amazing
Man, some of you people are a tough crowd! I don't see any of you publishing a book or touring the world with a megaband. This book exists for several reasons - its a chronicle of what happened the year his wife and daughter died and how he coped. Why write a book? Maybe he was tired of answering the SAME QUESTIONS a bazillion times. This way he can say 'oh, I wrote this nice book about it, maybe you'd care to read it instead of annoy me?' Second reason - there exists in this world people who ac ...more
Mar 28, 2011 Scott rated it did not like it
This book is about how Neil Peart, the percussionist/lyricist for the band Rush coped with some massive family tragedies. He is a writer at heart, and wrote this book as he travelled around the continent trying to overcome the tragedies.

I am a huge fan of Rush, and I've always loved dissecting Peart's lyrics for, really my entire life. The book was a huge disappointment for me. Though I know he wrote this book for himself and no one else, his arrogance was frustrating for me to handle.

Some of t
Sep 16, 2010 Brainycat rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic read, but I don't know if it will go down in the annals of history as a great book. I'm a LONGtime Rush fan, which was the original impetus to pick it up. Also, I've gone through a number of huge changes in my life recently and since Neil's lyrics have been there for me through good times and bad, I thought I would give this book a try.

Neil Peart is the drummer for the immensely successful band Rush. During the course of a year and a half, he lost his 19yo daughter in a car
Buck Swindle
Nov 02, 2009 Buck Swindle rated it liked it
As an Ex-Pat Canadian and a motorcyclist, it was in my DNA to read this book.

Good: Neil's writing style is wonderful. He is open, honest and portrays his life and observations in a unique light.

Bad: The events that transpired as the impetus for this journey and book were truly tragic. Things no one should ever be forced to endure. Having said that, the middle of the book gets whiny.

What struck me about this was that because of the authors career and subsequent success, he had the opportunity t
Jan 06, 2014 Michael rated it liked it
If I were looking for great literature, I would choose another book. But what I expected from this book is what I received. I was able to share in Neil's pain and his search for healing and understanding after the death of his daughter in an automobile accident and then, much too soon, the death of his wife from illness. The writing of this book was therapy for a broken man. He used a solitary motorcycle trek over thousands of miles to rid himself of the many demons that crowded his mind and spi ...more
Stephanie "Jedigal"
Mar 25, 2013 Stephanie "Jedigal" rated it did not like it
My friend's review of a different Peart book reminded me of this one.

I borrowed this from my cousin's bookshelf back closer to its original publication. Sorry to say, I pretty much hated it. Have loved Rush since I was a teen, in large part due to their technically complex yet passionate and moving musical arrangements, and in large part due to Peart's insanely intellectual lyrics, which combine to complement each other perfectly.

But, as I am not the first to say, Peart comes off primarily as
Jul 25, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
Ghost Rider is a memoir of the author's (Neal Peart, Rock Star Drummer, author, etc.) journey from grief to grief as he travels alone across North America on his motorcycle. The reader is brought into his inner thoughts through his journals and letters to dear friends and family. The level of his grief is profound, and for me it meant that I sometimes needed to take a break from the book. And his journey through that grief goes on, and on, just like the Ghost Rider. The author is very gracious f ...more
Matt Perkins
With such a compelling and tragic back story (death of Peart's daughter and wife less than a year apart), I was expecting a much more engaging read. Instead, this is an over-long, disorganized book that required me to sift through reams of text to find the few nuggets of insight and wisdom it contains. Peart can't seem to decide if he's writing an autobiography, a travel book, or a purely self-indulgent personal diary. He only truly succeeds at the latter.

The flow of the narrative is constantly
Michelle Cristiani
May 19, 2010 Michelle Cristiani rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This is a touching memoir about Peart's solitary motorcycle journey after losing his wife and daughter. He clocks huge amounts of miles, stopping at his lake house outside Toronto as a home base. The detailed descriptions of each ride read like a travel guide - you could stay and eat at the same places he did - you could even order the same food - it was that detailed. Of course it was well-written, and his frequent cultural and literary references educate as well as entertain.

That said, the boo
Chad O'Donnell
Jun 19, 2011 Chad O'Donnell rated it it was ok
Decent story about the author's grieving process after losing both a daughter and wife within a 10-month span. The details of his travels across Canada, the American West, and Mexico provide great imagery of the roadmap he took while riding solo on motorcycle.

However, his recaps of his journey, through both his journal and letters to friends and loved ones, becomes a bit tedious to the reader. The recounting of his journey becomes repetitive and monotonous, and by the half way point of the book,
Doran Barton
Aug 22, 2010 Doran Barton rated it really liked it

Well, I finished “Ghost Rider” by Neil Peart.

In retrospect, I’m not sure why it took me six years to finally get around to reading it. But, it did. Thom, one of my best friends, was reading “Ghost Rider” while we were traveling through Oregon and Washington many years back. He enjoyed Neil’s commentary on Oregon’s ridiculous laws that mandate that you do not pump your own gasoline. Instead, you must allow a minimum-wage worker to do it for you.

Thom and I share a common heritage of sorts. We both
Genevieve Heinrich
Aug 12, 2007 Genevieve Heinrich rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who's lost someone close to them
Shelves: favorites
This book blew me away.

I picked it up, of course, simply because I am irrationally obsessed with Rush (the band with which Neil Peart proves his status as greatest drummer in rock history.) I figured I'd like his writing style, since I love his lyrics so much... but the greatness of this book goes far beyond the excellent writing. It is insightful and revealing. He lays his soul bare for the reader, and his struggles on the journey to come to terms the deaths of his daughter and wife cut right
Jun 19, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I found this on a used book shelf, for sale for $1 at our local library. I grabbed it as a potential good read for my husband, a Rush fan for many years. He was not certain about it, but once he'd started he couldn't put it down. (This book also inspired him to set up a Goodreads account to conveniently list all the books Peart recommended to his friend Brutus during the time period covered by the book.)

I, of course, had to see what all the enthusiasm was about, so I read it next (setting asid
Janne Paananen
Neil Peart, Rush yhtyeen rumpali, koki 90-luvun lopulla kaksi menetystä vuoden sisällä. Hän menetti ensin tyttärensä ja sitten vaimonsa. Tapahtumia käsitelläkseen hän lähti moottoripyörällä neljän kuukauden mittaiselle reissuille Kanadasta Meksikoon, palasi tämän jälkeen lentäen Kanadaan vaeltamaan, lumikenkäilemään ja hiihtämään kotikonnuilleen. Talven mentyä Ghost Rideriksi itsensä nimeämä Peart lähti uudestaan ajamaan. Menneisyyden haamuista ei niin vain aina pääse eroon.

Ghost Rider: Taipalei
Jared Millet
Apr 10, 2015 Jared Millet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Back after Rush's Test for Echo tour in 1998, drummer Neil Peart suffered an unimaginable horror in his personal life: losing both his daughter and his wife in less than a year. Needless to say, he was utterly destroyed - barely able to function any more in any meaningful way. His solution: get on his motorcycle and ride. Peart spent the better part of two years crisscrossing Canada, the U.S. and Mexico with only the vaguest sense of where he was going to guide him, letting the scenery drift by ...more
Scott C
Nov 28, 2008 Scott C rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
I have been a Rush fan since 1978. I have loved Peart's lyrics ever since. I ride a motorcycle and like to travel on it. I couldn't wait to read this book!

Peart suffered a tragic loss, no one can take that away. But just because you choose to write about a loss doesn't automatically make it a well told story. It's much the same with amateur poetry writing - some people think that because the event/emotion/etc. was deeply felt by them, that when they pen it and share it, no matter how poor the wr
May 01, 2015 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: music
I am a big fan of Rush, the musical group and I began reading Neil Peart's books last year; Roadshow with Drums and Traveling Music. I knew about Ghost Rider and wasn't ready to read it until after I had seen them on their latest tour. I had heard and read a lot of negative comments about it on GR and I could relate to them. Peart has a prickly side (as fans know) and it comes out in abrupt and often rude ways, which he showed in his other books.

Peart's writing style is very engaging yet quite
Greg Canellis
Jul 25, 2012 Greg Canellis rated it liked it
[This is a revised version of a review I wrote for this book for another blog - GC]

As a fan of the Canadian rock-trio Rush since 1976, I had read about the heart breaking double tragedy in drummer Neil Peart's personal life: first the death of his only daughter in a car accident, followed by that of his wife to cancer eight months later. Driving home from a recent Rush concert, I felt it was time to delve into Peart's writings, beginning appropriately with _Ghost Rider: Travels of the Healing Ro
Sep 29, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
I'm a Neil Peart fan but this book has been sitting on my shelf unread for years now because I feared it would either be too emotional or that I would feel cheated because he would remain at arm's length, talking more in abstract generalizations and leaving the story up to you to interpret as many private people do. Although undoubtedly emotional, this book is also surprisingly honest...even about thoughts and feelings that could certainly seem strange to outsiders and open Peart to brutal judgm ...more
Mar 20, 2013 Marc rated it it was ok
This should have been a great motorcycle book. As an established word monger it should have been worthy reading.

I heard the author interviewed by the late Peter Gzowski when the book first came out. I am not a big Rush fan (I know heresy for a Canadian) and I didn't know who Peart was until the Gzowski interview. His story sounded so complelling.

Peart's tragic losses (no spoilers) should have made me naturally sympathetic to him. He squandered my sympathy with his self-centered selfishness. Mone
John Matthews
Jan 08, 2014 John Matthews rated it it was ok
Yes, that Neil Peart. Legendary drummer from the band Rush. He writes lyrics and now books.

With the recent loss of his college-age daughter (to a car accident), his wife (to cancer) and his herbal drug-dealer best friend (to jail) Neil Peart’s awesome life has suddenly become a bad country song. Peart suits up and goes on a motorcycle journey to calm and heal his “baby soul”.

Though I sympathized with Peart for a while, at some point I got compassion fatigue and got tired of listening to the sou
Jul 23, 2012 Brandon rated it it was amazing
I have extremely varied musical tastes, but Rush is my favourite band, and Neil Peart is an amazing person: an erudite, well-read, well-spoken, intelligent musician, who in his writing blends travelogue, history, social commentary, philosophy, and biography.

This book, however, is charged with a deep, dark sadness. This is the story of his motorcycle journeys across North America in search of peace in the wake of the deaths of his wife and daughter, just months apart. It is a heartbreaking story,
Mar 25, 2007 aleshia rated it it was amazing
Adam read this book first and if Adam finishes a book, I know it's worth it. And boy was he right! Neil Peart is Rush's drummer who lost his only child and wife in a period of less than one year. It is a sad, yet inspirational book, about the many monthes that followed these two tragedies. In short, Neil sets out on a cross country motorcycle trip after the passing of his wife, which sprawls over a year. During his trip, memories, the natural world and encounters help him come to terms with his ...more
Mar 23, 2016 Tom rated it really liked it
A good look into a life of someone who suffers to life altering tragedies in less than one year and how he deals with the grief and utter emptiness it creates. It is really nice set against his journey through the North American west.
Apr 07, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it
Neil Peart, the (incredible) drummer for Rush, one of my all-time favorite bands, has always been one of my favorite lyricists. I had known that he's extremely well-read and has drawn inspiration for his lyrics from many sources and genres, over the years, and I was aware that he had written several books, as well -- though I had never read any of them. I chose this one after learning about the tragedy he faced, in the late 90s, when he lost first his college-aged daughter and, less than a year ...more
Anne-Marie Klein
Aug 06, 2015 Anne-Marie Klein rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-music
Sometimes a book comes along just when you need it to. You turn the first few pages and it grips you, refusing to let go.

More than eight weeks ago, Neil Peart’s “Ghost Rider: Travels On the Healing Road” finally arrived from the library’s city-wide hold shelf. I’d been meaning to pick it up for many years, but for whatever reason, never followed through. It was mid-June, a crazy time at school like no other in the calendar, and I already sensed there would be at least one renewal before I got th
Jun 27, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
Recommended to Linda by: Amy Brinker
Shelves: borrowed
Neil Peart, the drummer for the rock band Rush, experienced double tragedies of having his only daughter's death in a single car accident on the way back to college followed to quickly by his common-law wife's diagnosis and subsequent demise from cancer - all within 10 months. As a way of healing, he set out on a two year motorcycle tour of Canada and parts of the United States. A lot of this book is told through letters he writes to various people. A wonderfully written soul-bearing memoir.
Kevin Preveaux
Jul 18, 2014 Kevin Preveaux rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and engaging.

Very interesting and engaging.

After losing my wife after 30 years of marriage, I chose this book on recommendation from a friend. I found it very interesting and engaging because of the depth of feelings that Neil exposes (most of which I could completely relate to), and the detail with which he described his travels. Perhaps because I ride a lot myself, I knew first hand the feeling of freedom and separation from all of your trouble a long ride can provide.
I did n
Sep 02, 2015 Devon rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott A.  Reid
Mar 05, 2015 Scott A. Reid rated it it was amazing
Neil Peart and I road much of the same route to Alaska, only he started the journey in Canada and I from south Texas on the border of Mexico. My review focuses mainly on this aspect of the book. Neil does ride many more miles to other places such as south America. Ghost Rider offers personal insight into the life of my favorite rock and roll drummer/percussionist and lyricist. Neil's Alaskan motorcycle trip was "softer" than mine as he did not camp the entire way and ride in the "Dust to Dawson" ...more
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Neil Peart (pronounced /ˈpɪərt/) OC, (born Neil Ellwood Peart) is a Canadian musician and author. He is best-known as the drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush.

Peart grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ontario, Canada (now part of St. Catharines) working the occasional odd job. However, his true ambition was to become a professional musician. During adolescence, he floated from regional band to regio
More about Neil Peart...

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“your soul is stained with the blood of the innocent, feel their pain” 3 likes
“There have been those who have actually said they envy me, though mostly strangers, and I doubt you’d be that short-sighted or self-absorbed. This is way more freedom than anyone should ever desire, and carries way more baggage than “freedom” can ever sustain. This is more like “desperate flight,” and another name I have for myself is “The Ghost Rider.” I’m a ghost, I carry a few ghosts with me, and I’m riding through a world that isn’t quite real. But I’m okay as long as I keep moving . . .” 1 likes
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