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U2 by U2

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4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  2,160 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
In 1975, four teenagers from Mount Temple School in Dublin gathered in a crowded kitchen to discuss forming a band. More than thirty years later, Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. are still together, bound by intense loyalty, passionate idealism, and a relentless belief in the power of rock and roll to change the world. In an epic journey that has taken th ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 9th 2007 by Harper Paperbacks (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Winter Sophia Rose
Deep, Insightful, Revealing & Witty! An Impressive Read! I Loved It!
George Bradford
I was disappointed to learn that Ireland’s heroic U2 would publish their ‘auto biography’ as a ‘coffee table book.’ I believed U2’s story deserved a heavy (500+ page) sober (no photos) presentation reflecting an intellectual seriousness. And, besides, I didn’t own a “coffee table.”

But once again U2 demonstrated their genius. The over-sized format filled with countless images was the perfect setting for this candid story. A band this big couldn’t fit into a conventional sized book anyway.

The cum
...more
Offbalance
May 22, 2010 Offbalance rated it it was amazing
I've been a U2 fan since the year Achtung Baby came out, and was a superfan by the time they got around to releasing Zooropa. I had a huge collection magazine articles, web articles, newspaper articles, and even books. I studied my archive and was always in search of more info and more stories about the band. I'd read BP Fallon's hatchet job (or rather, as much of it as I could stand) and Bill Flanagan's superb U2: At the End of the World, but I'd always been eager to hear more about the band fr ...more
Christian Lipski
The most honest look at the inner workings, problems and daily life of a band. What's even more incredible is that it's coming from the band itself. It's refreshing to hear Larry or The Edge talk about how crap they think they are at their instruments, even now. I don't want to focus on the negative things, but I was just blown away by their honest opinions and humility. I don't know another band that would point out the problems in their performances and desicions, knowing they were being recor ...more
Tobin Elliott
I've been a fan of U2 since their first album, Boy came out in late 1980, when I was just 18. I've followed them, mostly avidly, ever since, though they did sort of lose me around the era.

When I picked up this book, it was in a bargain bin, so it was cheap. I didn't really look at it, but fully expected it to be a quick afternoon read, mostly fluff, with a ton of pictures to fill out the volume.

Damn, was I wrong. This was an in-depth conversation with the four members, with occasional interjecti
...more
Michael Gerald
Mar 19, 2012 Michael Gerald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've liked U2 and their music since I was a kid, so it is no surprise that I grabbed a copy (actually, the only copy in the bookstore) of this delightful book.

From coming out in the post-punk era as ambitious teen-agers who can barely play their instruments in Ireland, to the world's stages and stadiums around the world, U2 have outplayed and even outlived some of their contemporaries in the rock and roll industry by a combination of being true to their musical roots and the audacity for experi
...more
Jason
Mar 30, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
U2 is arguably the biggest band in the world, and have been for quite some time. It is inspiring, then, for anyone with creative ambitions to read about not only their humble beginnings and gradual rise to fame, but also an occasional dissatisfaction with their own work and a periodic need for reinvention. They do not have a "Yes we're the greatest and we always will be" attitude. It's more like, "How did we get here? And how is it that we're still here?" Don't expect stories about drugs and gro ...more
TrenTren
Aug 06, 2010 TrenTren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am an avid reader, and biographies, by far, are my favorite. Add to that my love of music, and you can imagine I've read many, many musical biographies. They've ranged from the downfall of 17th century classical to the tragedy of Kurt Cobain. The debauchery and genius of Led Zeppelin to prohibition and heroin addiction in the early 30's Jazz age. Yet, I must say, this biography of U2 that I just finished is by, far, the best music biography I have ever read. It's told first person through the ...more
Mary
Jun 05, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very cool book--the boys go through their history and discuss each of their albums and tours (through HTDAAB anyway). They start at their humble beginnings as "Feedback" who met in Larry's kitchen in 1976, and they talk about how none of them could really play their instruments. They hustled gigs and slept in the back of their van when they first started touring. Nothing was handed to them--they worked hard--together--to get where they are. They depend on each other and teach each othe ...more
Brian
Sep 08, 2010 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
If you are a fan of U2 this is the book to choose to understand their history and development. It takes interviews with all four members and patiently walks you through all the songs, tours, behind-the-scenes, and personal stories. It is not only full of stories but full of photos, chronicling the three decades of the band.

The unfortunate parts of the book for me are when the members talk about Christianity because it quickly becomes apparent they don't have much depth there at all. This is most
...more
Tatiana
Jan 30, 2009 Tatiana rated it it was amazing
amazing..... I never knew how really intensely intelligent all these men are....in addition to being more than brilliant musicians...they are incredibly literate and fluid and colorful.
Bram
May 27, 2009 Bram rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's pretty uncool to like this band, but I seriously love them. One of the first bands I ever fell in love with, and I still find the Irish lads fascinating.
Ryan
Dec 13, 2012 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Granted, I’m sure you have to be a self-described “super fan” to read nearly 500 pages -- about the backstory, career, and inspiration for every single song – about ANY band or artist, but I really enjoyed this a lot. It was long, but it was very detailed, very enlightening, and if you really want to know about Bono’s relationship with his father, about Adam and Bono roadtripping throughout the American Southwest, leading to the inspiration to the underappreciated Rattle & Hum track “Heartla ...more
Bill O'driscoll
If you're looking for a maniacally detailed -- really at some points virtually day-to-day -- history of U2 as told by the four band members, their only manager ever, and no one else, this is the ticket. U2 are remarkable in that no other well known band, let alone one that for years counted as the world's biggest, has consisted solely of the same four members for what's now close to four decades. At the point this book was published (2006), they well warranted the attention. The early sections a ...more
Rebecca
Jun 03, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, I do nothing with my weekends, especially this one. I went to the library on Friday and they actually had U2 by U2 (only in beverly hills!) on the 14 day rental shelf so of course, I pounced on it. The book is huge. I looked through it at Target a few weeks ago and could barely lift it. Library was even worse, cause it was in hardcover. I said to myself, there is no way I am going to finish this book in 14 days. And I don't know if I can renew a New Book! So I started reading.

And less then
...more
Scott Cox
Jan 17, 2016 Scott Cox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very thorough and detailed book containing interviews of the Irish band U2. I have been long fascinated by their music, and especially by the life of lead singer Bono. Perhaps one of U2's more haunting songs is entitled "Grace" (2000). Here's what Bono says of Grace: "There are a couple of my favourite people rolled in to that lyric but the most important thing is that they personify my favourite word in the lexicon of the English language. It's a word I'm depending on. The universe op ...more
Jen
Oct 03, 2011 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jen by: Keri J
Shelves: five-star-reads
I'm a fan, so of course, I have heard many of these stories before. What was really cool about this book though, was the discussion of the writing and recording of all these iconic songs and albums. To listen to the band say, yea, that's kind of a throw away song about my favorite U2 songs, is really interesting. I would suggest reading this book with your U2 catalog close at hand, because you are going to want to run over and put on the songs and see if you can hear that it's a re-used bass lin ...more
Jameson
Feb 09, 2017 Jameson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i liked this book it gives a history of U2 by none other but U2 (hence the title) it gives an in dep description of the making of the band all the way up to there last album it also talks about each album and how it was made and stuff.
Oscar
Jan 17, 2011 Oscar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Primarily for U2 fans, this book does a great job of chronicling the band's journey from a high school garage band into one of the world's most commercially successful rock enterprises.

Music journalist Neil McCormick expertly guides the band's voices as the invisible interviewer, simultaneously reminiscing and probing over the private and personal journeys of the band mates keeping a keen eye toward important details without letting the band stray too far into braggadocious or self-depricating.

A
...more
Chris Witt
Oct 27, 2008 Chris Witt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really great book for any U2 fan. My wife found it in a discount bin for Christmas a couple years ago and thought I might like it. She was right!

My only complaint is that it's painfully obvious that the interviewees (the 4 band members plus long-time manager Paul McGuinness) are never in the same room together. I would've liked to see some interaction between them, but instead it just looks like each person had about 80 pages of interviews that were collected and then some editor tried to piece
...more
Craig a.k.a Meatstack
This is a coffee table book. And like most coffee table books, it's really not meant to be read front to back. You are to poke through it, look at the pictures, read a paragraph or two. Consequently there's some challenges to reading it like a "real" book.

It's physically hard to read. The typeface blends into the art. The captions are cut off the page. The text, which is really a really long interview with the individual members of the band is disjointed and jarring.

But it's good at what it is,
...more
Allison
Sep 01, 2013 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
neil mccormick went to mt. temple comprehensive school, in dublin with all of the u2 members, contrary to what the media would mislead one to think larry mullen jr is not by far the youngest member. Adam Clayton was born march 13, 1960 bono may 1o, 1960 the edge august 8 1961, and larry october 31, 1961.
mccormicks book is good because he known them since before they were 'paul's baby band' (not hewson mcguinness) and they seem like people in this book, not legends. and if you really pay attent
...more
Len
May 12, 2010 Len rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-have for all U2 fans! This features in-depth look at each band members, collection of their photos from their years as a band, commentaries from their closest friends, and their outlook to the future as a band.

The book is big and heavy but it's worth having on your shelf. I like reading it while soundtripping to their albums. You'll be fascinated at how each of them are different yet able to work together and be the best of friends to each other.
Meaghan
Jan 02, 2015 Meaghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
U2's oral history of their career up to the release of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. As a U2 fan, I really enjoyed this. Each band member (plus Paul McGuinness) tells parts of the story in his own words. Sometimes they have different recollections of events, as you would expect. They all come across pretty much as I imagine, with Larry being very brief and matter-of-fact, and Bono's sections including a lot of tall tale like touches (and going on by far the longest).
Greg
May 29, 2010 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was fascinated by the origin of the band and the history of it's members. The chances of the four of them meeting the way they did seems beyond fate, there could only have been other-worldly inspiration. Equally fascinated by the humanity of the members which bleeds through the lyrical content of their work. Written from 150 hours of interviews of the band members and manager, topics include history, inspiration, ideology, family, works, tours, friendships and relationships among others.
Griffin
Mar 03, 2008 Griffin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, I admit, I'm a die-hard U2 fan. And as such, this is the best U2 book that I've read. It was really interesting to read the stories about how they came of age directly from the individual band members. It's easy to forget how long the band had to pay their dues before they finally had their breakthrough. I recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely interested in one of the greatest bands the world has ever known.
Viv
Mar 12, 2007 Viv rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: U2 fans
Really interesting history of the band, by the band. What I love is seeing the different writing styles between the four members. Adam is very distinguished and proper sounding, while Edge is technical, detailed and very precise. Larry's curt and to the point and Bono -- well, Bono rambles like nothing else.

But the pictures are great and reading some of the behind-the-scenes stuff is a lot of fun from their perspective.
Katie Stiles
Apr 12, 2014 Katie Stiles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
as a huge u2 fan I feel it was very well written and gave a detailed description of the day in the life of each member of the band from before they formed the band to where they are now. having all of their points of views gives you a taste of what each band member is like, and it's not so surprising to find that they are much like the rest of us, with very humble upbringing and the same amount of struggles. definitely recommended for u2 fans like me
Lori Vieira
Jan 10, 2012 Lori Vieira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It only took me three years but I can finally say that I finished this book. And what an amazing book it is! This book takes being a U2 fan to a whole new level. It's astounding to read about how much of each band member goes into each and every song and as a non-musician, just how much I take for granted when I listen to their music. This book was an amazing read.
Dave
Jan 31, 2008 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any person who has liked U2 even a little
Awesome book, both in writing and photography. It was really interesting to read the commentary by all 4 members of the band as the book goes through the history of U2. It was especially interesting to get a feel for the personalities of Adam and Larry, who normally let Bono & the Edge do most of the talking.
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Gwinnett County P...: U2 by U2 1 3 Aug 05, 2013 04:44PM  
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“Every age has its massive moral blind spots. We might not see them, but our children will.” 44 likes
“For all that "I was lost, I am found," it is probably more accurate to say, "I was really lost, I'm a little less so at the moment.” 21 likes
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