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W.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  357 ratings  ·  33 reviews
A big, brash history of Guns n’ Roses charismatic, talented and idiosyncratic leader

“An archetypal rock biography that captures the runaway-train spirit of the singer and his band—You don’t have to be a Guns N’ Roses fanatic to dig this energetic, comprehensive, few-holds-barred portrait of modern metal’s most charismatic figure.”—Kirkus Reviews

Even in the rock world, a fi
Paperback, 361 pages
Published January 20th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 2007)
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Axl Rose is in my top 5 of English mother tongue (I love a number of Asian singers that I rank separately) singers. In no particular order, he, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Robin Zander and Steve Marriott are my all time favorites. I've known that Axl was a troubled personality but I did not know to what extent until reading this book. After reading this, I guess I am one of the lucky ones who saw the original Guns 'n Roses without waiting a couple of hours for concerts to start, etc. I play t ...more
You'll remember journalist and critic Mick Wall as one of the gents Axl invited into the ring in the song from Use Your Illusion II. This book, proving that there aren't any hard feelings, is fair, well-researched, and reveals some new things even for those who've been following the band and the main man all along. The portrait of Axl delves a bit into his psychosis and psychiatric treatment so that we see him not as the bad guy who's megalomania broke up our favorite band, so much as the troubl ...more
Some mildly interesting stuff, but nothing new. Plus, the author seemed mainly concerned with addressing his personal issues with the subject.
I decided that it was silly to force myself to read a book that I wasn't enjoying, just so I could say that I had read it all. Besides, I borrowed a small stack of graphic novels from the library yesterday and got two new books to review for the Feminist Review in the mail. So I have plenty of good stuff to read.

I do want to point out that this book contains some of the worst writing I have ever encountered. I've read a lot of fluffy, simple writing, books that I think of as easy readers for adu
I'm very torn about this biography by Mick Wall.

I should first say that the biography can be very enjoyable to read. There is, however, something that keeps getting in the way of making this book truly memorable.

Many people have issues with Axl Rose and it is clear that Mr. Wall is no exception. It is also obvious that he has not "moved on" from the falling out they had many, many years ago. Mr. Wall will have several paragraphs of objective storytelling and then ruin the whole thing but putti
Ray Cavanaugh
Some say that Axl Rose “killed the rock star,” and that GnR could’ve been the next Rolling Stones were it not for the antics of this charismatic, albeit oft-unlikable, front man. In their prime, Axl & Co. were an apotheosis of chaotic rockers. Aside from digging their music, I found something enticing about their hard-knocks glamour and volatility.

So I figured I’d give this book a shot. Read about thirty pages. Didn’t seem poorly written, certainly accessible.

But then one chapter concluded
Given that Mick Wall was put on Axl's sh-t-list even before Use Your Illusion dropped, a lot of what Wall writes here is based on constructions of second-hand accounts, new reports, court documents, etc. Which would be fine if it were well-written or engaging. But Wall is only an adequate writer, and while he tells Axl's story well enough to to not bore readers, his structure choices and time shifts make it a bit hard to follow.

Worse, this really ends up being less a biography of Axl Rose and mo
Ollie Bradshaw
I have mixed feelings on this book. On one hand I really enjoyed it was as a book fan one of those so bad its kind of good. But as a Axl Rose fan I am upset and disappointed. Not only that its probably the most biased books I ever read! The author would go off on a bunch of facts about other bands witch often made me feel that the book was more Guns N' Roses compared to the rest of rock and less about just Axl.
Nov 23, 2008 Ciara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the stoners smoking joints behind the janitor's shed, mulleted dudes in shop class, axl himself
DUDE. yes. the unauthorized biography of axl rose! can i just say how totally into guns n' roses i was when i was younger? my parents were weirdo bike speed freaks, & they were way into heavy metal (they once had to sell their house & move after the neighbors found out they had attended a scorpions concert & stopped talking to them), & they got me into heavy metal. as a child, i only wore black & stuff with skulls on it, & i was really into all those metal bands, includin ...more
W.K. Lawrence
Great biography of the troubled lead singer. The book is built off of mostly credible and easy to locate sources. There are only a few passages here and there which are suspect, but there's really no bias on Wall's part. The author is very up front about his role in the band. As for Rose, I don't happen to think this paints a completely terrible picture of him. In many regards the book makes you feel bad for the guy, but Rose's own past actions highlighted here in one place really stand to lock ...more
Brenda Roberson
Even though the author, Mick Wall, said that he had no ill feelings toward Axl, you could tell from the very beginning that that is not the case. I thought an autobiography about a certain person is supposed to be about that certain person. This book was anything but about W. Axl Rose. The author paid more homage to three drug addicts (Slash, Steven and Izzy) and a drunk (Duff) than he did about the actual person (Axl) he was supposed to be writing about. According to most of what was written, i ...more
William Carter
The less said about this book the better. Mick Wall likes to think of himself as a top music journalist......I don't think so.
Yesterday, I was at my local library and decided to reread some parts of this book. To be frank, I kind of liked this book not as a biography of Axl solely, but a recollection of memories and more biographically based on all the original members of guns n roses, not just Axl. Some parts had basic storytelling notes, and were not that biased as I had thought they would have been before, such asWatch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N' Roses. Mick Wall instead seems appreciative of the band and strays ...more
The book is a nice read if you don't really believe in everything that's said in it. It's easy to judge Mr Axl Rose for being this and that, it's easy to say bad things about him, but for most of people, it's difficult to understand him - therefore he shouldn't be judged. The book doesn't help - it shows both good and bad sides of the singer, but mostly the bad ones - you can't expect more from a person who has been called out by Axl Rose himself in the song Get In The Ring: 'And that goes for a ...more
Cassie Garnett
I read this book a few years after it came out.Everyone I knew was like "Axl Rose,Cool man!",so yeah it was a great book.
Steven Spoelstra
Fascinating biography on an interesting individual. Reads like a GnR history.
Unauthorized biographies are the way to go with figures that have created their own mythology, unless you can get an autobiography. The story told herein is a good cautionary tale on artistic "genius" and how the creative process can become a black hole of ever-expanding expectation, soured relationships, and hope for the next big thing.

Despite or because of self-destructive tendencies, Rose remains a sympathetic figure as he goes from top dog to underdog in the race to capitalize on the Guns n
3.5 stars.

Bruce Bailey is an incredibly interesting, egomaniacal person.

A must read for any g&r fan.
Some good insights into the early days but loses steam as axl faded from public view. Without many interview to draw from there is only the word of axl (as infrequent as it has been over the last 15 years) and the various interested parties. Not updated to include the fact that Chinese Democracy is now out and doesn't offer much more about it then what wikipedia has had for years. A quick companion to the more detailed, and vastly superior, Duff and Slash books.

Enter Night (a Metallica bio) is a
Apr 07, 2008 Christine added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jessi
Shelves: ml420-s
An OK book with not a whole lot of new information - but Mick Walls paints an interesting picture of a sad sack that is Axl Rose. If Chinese Democracy ever does come out, I'm sure the record company will have no problem recouping the $13million they've laid into it so far. People will be curious and buy it - of course, in the age of illegal downloading, maybe they will lose some cash there. But if it's half as good as the hype that surrounds it, I look forward to it.
Most of the information in this book was pulled from magazines, MTV, newspapers, radio, etc. Not really a biography, more of a compilation. If you're a fan of Axl Rose, you probably already know most of the information in this book. I wouldn't have read it except my 7-year-old son checked it out at the library because he knows how much I love Axl. I didn't want to disappoint him by not reading it. :o)
Great inside scoop on the band. Literally, a show by show account of their rock and roll adventures and proclivities. The band did not want to implode - they really wanted to be eternal like the Stones and Aerosmith, but just couldn't do it. And so many fellow rockers reached out to them. Still love this band and their music - they are one of a kind.

What an amazingly talented performer, who, unfortunately receives very bad marks on working and playing well with others! An amazing talent though. Listening to Slash's solo recordings are good, but without Axl's voice, it just ain't the same.
Aaron the Pink Donut
While not a bad read the edition I read feels rather dated (Chinese Democracy hadn't come out yet) This gets pretty monotonous about half way through. See Axl alienate people and miss shows. There are some small factual irregularities as well.
Brilliant. This is the type of book that makes you wonder wether it is better to read an autobiography or a biography. The first one might narrate everything in the first person, but the second one might tell the whole truth.
Warren Truitt
Run-of-the-mill bio that focuses as much on the band as a whole as it does on Rose, until it hits the mid-'90s. Axl is again weird and alienating, so this book doesn't really shed any new light on what his deal is.
It was interesting, but it does sound like W.A.R. is mentally not all there! Is it just ego gone mad? He seems to be turning to some less than normal people to run his life.
It was okay... being a die-hard Gn'R fan, I was hoping for more insights into my MOST FAVORITE MAN.... but it was pretty un-dramatic. Still, it was good.
Edwin Rodriguez
5-5 stars. if you are a big Guns n Roses fan especially if your an Axl fan this book is perfect for you.
Wendy Wright
Nowhere near as good as Slash's book!
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