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Unforgettable Fire: Past, Present and Future--The Definitive Biography of U2
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Unforgettable Fire: Past, Present and Future--The Definitive Biography of U2

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  507 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
The authorized definitive biography of the single most popular rock band in the world today--U2--is written with full access to the band but without their editorial oversight. An in-depth portrait of the four disaffected youngsters from Dublin who turned to music and infused their own set of political and spiritual beliefs. 24 pages of photos.
Hardcover, 313 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1987)
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U2 by U2 by U2Bono On Bono by Michka AssayasEn zij noemden hem Bono by Bert van de KampUnforgettable Fire by Eamon DunphyFrom the Ground Up by Dylan  Jones
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4th out of 16 books — 5 voters
Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonUnbroken by Laura HillenbrandEinstein by Walter IsaacsonInto the Wild by Jon KrakauerJohn Adams by David McCullough
Best Biographies
256th out of 731 books — 1,796 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 769)
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Chris Burd
Aug 04, 2007 Chris Burd rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of U2 - the music AND the activism.
I read this book when I was in the sixth grade - a U2 fan because I liked the music, but more importantly, I liked a boy who liked the music. (I was young and shallow.)

I was instantly engaged in the story of these young men from Ireland - and read this book from cover to cover within just a couple of days. And then I went back and read it again. And then I handed it to my dad and made HIM read it.

Unforgettable Fire gave me a picture of the boys behind U2. The book focuses on their adolescence a
Oct 24, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it
I was so obsessed with U2 in 1988 I actually used my parent's credit card to buy this book from Waldens at the mall. And that credit card was EMERGENCY USE only. But Mom! This was an EMERGENCY! (I was only making minimum wage part time, I never could have had this book.) That being said, I liked the book because I LOVED U2, but I was disappointed in the swear words in it. I didn't think that was professional at all or necessary. Not in a non-fiction book. Anyway, I still have this book and I hav ...more
Jun 05, 2015 Longfellow rated it it was amazing

Dunphy wrote this biography at the request of U2’s manager, Paul McGuiness, and McGuiness couldn’t have made a better choice. Dunphy writes with intelligence and insight, and his commentary and evaluations of the band’s motivations, values, and future potential all ring true even twenty-five plus years after the publication of Unforgettable Fire, which was published the same year that The Joshua Tree was released.

In fact, the chapter covering The Joshua Tree is the shortest chapter in the book,
Michelle Llewellyn
Nov 10, 2014 Michelle Llewellyn rated it it was amazing
With everyone receiving a copy of the latest album, "Songs of Innocence" whether they wanted it or not, I recommend this book for anyone who has never heard of Bono or U2. (If anyone actually does fit that description I'd like the address of the rock you've been living under.) Interesting to compare that young, raw, passionate, "baby band" consisting of four Irish lads wanting nothing more than to make a name for themselves in the world of music and succeeded through hard work and determination ...more
Given to me by a friend around, I guess, 1993, when I had just survived an episode of acute Guns n'Roses fannishness, which was then followed by the most epic US love EVAH! God, being a teenager was fun, wasn't it?

I think my parents must have liked U2 a lot better than GnR. I mean, at least the posters weren't quite as horrifying. (I know I'd disown my thirteen year old daughter if she plastered her walls with long-haired men in tiny shorts. (good thing I don't have a daughter).)

Me, however, wel
Maria João
Sep 06, 2011 Maria João rated it really liked it
This 1987 U2 biography goes only up to “The Joshua Tree” album. It is a very short time, in my view, to write a biography of an on-going band, but to my surprise it was a pleasant reading.
U2 is not a common band, because it embodies the opposite of the rock’n’roll’s “sex, drugs and alcohol” cliché, and it was interesting to realize where that posture and values came from.
U2 became “the” U2 band we all known today with “The Joshua Tree” album, and this biography sheds light on the previous ten ye
Dec 25, 2015 Patrick rated it did not like it
Tripe. About 4x as long as it needs to be and for what? The little it delves into the music reads like a college term paper. Ugh.
Saqib Khan
Apr 21, 2014 Saqib Khan rated it liked it
Unforgettable alright. Must for U2 fans.
Feb 08, 2016 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written back in the late 1980s, this book is particularly strong on the early years of the band, and the childhood and teenage years of each band member.
May 17, 2011 Katsumi rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
Very detailed biographical information helps you understand where the band members (and others close to the band) come from and how and why they got to where they are now. Unfortunately this book only covers up to the release of Joshua Tree, but its great for information on the real early and formative years of the band. I found that some things were repeated many times throughout the book but at least that made you really remember them well. It was a fun read for a fan who wants to know more.
Nov 12, 2009 Max rated it liked it
A good read, the writing is average but the story is remarkable. How could it not be for one of the biggest rock and roll bands in the world, from Ireland nonetheless? It was a little strange reading a biography about this band that was written in 1987 (almost a quarter century ago) knowing how much they've done since then and knowing how much the music industry and technology has changed in just the last 5 years let alone the last 23.
Iosephus Bibliothecarius
Apr 03, 2016 Iosephus Bibliothecarius rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 2011
I love this book so much I've now read it twice. Dunphy gives us amazing amounts of detail and insight into the backgrounds of U2 and those who work with them (at least up to 1987 when it was written). An excellent history of the band and well worth your time.
Nov 03, 2011 Jen rated it it was amazing
I read this one so many years ago I don't even remember. It's a good bio of the early years of U2. By now, a lot of the stories have become legend, so there is not likely to be a lot of new information, but a solid rock bio at any rate.
Dec 19, 2009 Pjtibbetts rated it it was ok
Bono has been an egomaniac ever since he was born? no shit.

I am not sure if this is an authorized biography...but it is very good in providing details of the foursome in their early years.
Jake Maguire
Jul 03, 2008 Jake Maguire rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I really enjoyed this biography. It portrays the band as they are: A multifaceted group. If you're a fan of the music, this is a nice read that puts their life and work into context.
Dec 02, 2011 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
T thought that would be better. I liked U2's music til certain point and I don't know when I stopped listening to them. Biography like many others.
Jan 19, 2013 Lara rated it it was amazing
Remember rushing out to buy this in hardback when it came out in the 80's, reading it in one fell swoop in my student room. Bliss.
Brian Stark
Mar 13, 2008 Brian Stark rated it it was amazing
Fantastic history of the greatest rock band of all time. Very well written, and an awesome look at the beginnings of a legend.
Kezza Loudoun
Jul 13, 2007 Kezza Loudoun rated it really liked it
A complete understanding of where the biggest band on earth came from. NB: Their original name for the band was Feedback.
A life changing book, an inspiration, my introduction to spirituality by a rock band that I always loved.
Jul 21, 2008 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: time-well-spent
apparently there are some discrepancies with eamon's account; but entertaining nonetheless.
Jul 22, 2012 Rich rated it really liked it
Very good book about one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.
I have this old school bio but I can't remember ever reading any of it. Ha!
Sep 25, 2011 Nanci rated it it was amazing
The first comprehensive U2 biography, and still among the best.
Dave Donahoe
Dec 31, 2009 Dave Donahoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
read during my semester abroad at Cambridge University, England
Iain Watson
Unforgettable fire: The story of U2 by Eamon Dunphy (1987)
Dec 21, 2008 Meg marked it as to-read
Shelves: on-my-shelves
[Purchased @ Planet Records, Harvard Square.]
Liam Moran
Liam Moran marked it as to-read
May 27, 2016
Shawn Wright
Shawn Wright rated it really liked it
May 22, 2016
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