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Walk on: The Spiritual Journey of U2

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  785 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
This revised and expanded version of Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 tackles the issues and questions everyone desires to know about the world's most popular rock band. Throughout Walk On, Steve Stockman follows the band from their early days in Dublin's Shalom Christian Fellowship all the way to their most recent album and world tour. Fortunately, Bono has never been ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by Relevant Books (first published 2001)
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Nov 13, 2010 Brian rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010
Steve Stockman, a Presbyterian minister in Belfast, is a man clearly enamored with U2. He's thought a lot about the lyrical content of the band's output and has a few interesting things to say but hagiography is what he ends up with. He does the same thing that U2 does in their own book, U2 by U2, and that is to try and position themselves in a middle ground politically. The problem with this, of course, is that there is no neutrality when staking positions and it is a ploy to be free to critici ...more
Aug 14, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Walk On was an absolutely fascinating read! In fact, it was so good I think I might just read it again (it's been a few years now). I have been a distant fan of U2 since my early teens (I'm 40+ now). By "distant" I just mean that I haven't followed their life and music as closely as some fans have (at least not too far beyond their earlier albums). I did purchase a copy of "All That You Can't Leave Behind" and it quickly became one of my favorites (along with October, The Unforgettable Fire and ...more
Aug 16, 2011 Tania rated it liked it
I am not one to read books about rock bands, even ones as influential as U2. But after seeing them in concert, and reading some things about them on the Christianity Today website, I was intrigued.

This book really gave me some good insights into the band, their beliefs, and the real meaning of their music. I have a new appreciation for songs I've always liked. I want to go and read more and learn more about the band, and I want to go back and listen to CDs I've long since forgotten about, all a
Jun 16, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing

I was truly blown away by this book. I've been a casual U2 fan for years but never really knew much about them. I find myself fascinated and challenged about my faith and how changing the world is more than just idealistic. It's possible. And in fact, it's already happening. U2 is far more than a mere rock band. They are a group of men who struggle to make sense of this world and their lives and bring us along for the ride. Their discoveries/insights on not only "big" issues like terrorism, war,

Feb 07, 2014 Spencer rated it it was ok
I had a few problems with this book, but I am only going to address one. I believe Steve Stockman wrote this book with a foundational misunderstanding of the Gospel and also Christianity. There were some convicting points he made, but I think by and large he missed it. I was thoroughly disappointed with this read.
Sep 02, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: peacecorps, christian
I had no idea U2 had such Christian undertones to their music. Reading this book opened my eyes - Now I can't listen to U2 without hearing all the references to God and faith.
Jun 08, 2016 Scottnshana rated it it was amazing
I have personally found that bringing up Bono in a conversation with other Christians is a pretty good litmus test for whether you're talking to a fan or a follower of the Gospel. I know that's a pretty inflammatory statement--but bear with me, because I think this encompasses a fundamental question of deeds over words in faith. I find that most of the folks who get riled over Bono either don't know that much about him, or represent that personality that can quickly switch from rapturously descr ...more
Dan Glover
Aug 27, 2012 Dan Glover rated it it was ok
This book is not bad, but if I could I'd rate it 1 1/2 stars, between "I didn't care for it" and "it was passable". Now before I go any further, let me admit, as does the author, that I am a U2 fan. However, we are not the same kind of fan and that became clearer with every page. The author is a largely uncritical fan of the band's music and of front man, Bono, in particular, and his causes. In fact, in many places of several pages at a stretch, the reader could be forgiven for forgetting this i ...more
Neil Coulter
Apr 14, 2016 Neil Coulter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u2, non-fiction

I've been reading a lot about U2 lately, in preparation to write my own chapter about an aspect of the band. What I'm finding is that it doesn't take too much reading before you start reading in circles--the same stories, the same bits of interviews, the same song lyrics being explained in basically the same way. Certainly there is something to say about U2--and I hope what I'm planning to write will be a useful, new contribution--but it doesn't seem that there's a lot to write about U2. Once yo

Carolyn Appleton
Sep 21, 2014 Carolyn Appleton rated it really liked it
I learned about the existence of this book on Facebook, and I thought lightly, "how interesting, I think I will read it."

I have always felt close to the music of U2. I have enjoyed listening to U2 since the band began some 35 years ago. I have never attended a U2 concert in person, but I have listened to U2 endlessly on the radio in my car, on television, online, on iTunes ... singing along loudly to my favorites (when no one else can hear, lucky for them, smiles). U2 has been interwoven into t
Dec 29, 2011 Amie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: devotional, paige
I love U2. That goes without saying (except that I just said it). So, I was predisposed to love this book... but I ended up getting a little annoyed with the way it was written. I am from the American South, the Bible Belt, where Conservative Evangelical Christianity is strong. I know both its strengths and weaknesses, and I have been known to be critical of it myself--but I found myself getting angry with Stockman's heavy-handed portrayal of all Evangelical Americans as ignorant, hypocritical a ...more
Matt Hamilton
Jun 12, 2011 Matt Hamilton rated it really liked it
I was really excited about this book, and all in all it was a great read. It went right through the discography of the band and talked about almost every song in detail and it touched on all four of them personally, as well as political and historical aspects of their career as a unit. Lots of detail and obviously a great deal of faith in what U2 is doing.

The only problem I had was with some of the analyses. While the information was well written, the sections where Stockman examined individual
Nov 30, 2013 Kim rated it liked it
very detailed, but interesting... lots of 'background info' on Bono & U2 that I didn't know. The author is a Presbyterian minister (and clearly a HUGE U2 fan) & has some interesting takes on faith, religion, spirituality, & the arts. I especially liked learning about how Bono's "leather & shades" persona is just that -- a sort of character he invented... and his struggles sometimes to remember that & stay true to who he really is. Seems his wife Ali helps a lot with that -- s ...more
Nov 07, 2013 Cat. rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, nonfiction, arts
I've been working on this book for months. It's the kind of book that I want to read fast: very fan-based. On the other hand, it's got a lot of meat to it, and it would be best read by having all of U2's CDs at hand (or tracks downloaded) to listen to as Stockman discusses each album and what was going on in the lives of the band members at the time the songs were written.

Pretty well-written and -researched if one allows some latitude for fannishness. No one who doesn't like U2 will really care
Feb 01, 2015 Bree rated it it was amazing
I am a self avowed U2 fan so the rating could be a bit biased. I also enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would, which affects the rating. As I continue to question the role of organized religion in my own personal spirituality I tend to read Christian literature with a bit of skepticism. I am always pleasantly surprised when I read that I'm not the only one questioning how to navigate contradictions I find with the confluence of public and private spirituality. I enjoyed reading about ...more
Gabriel Salter
Stockman's a very opinionated writer, and at times his praise of U2 is a bit gushing. This is also very much a book about U2's music, so you have to like books that analyze metaphors and symbolism in music to get through it.
That being said, Stockman has some spot-on insights about how legalistic evangelical Christians are sometimes, and how creating an entertainment subculture has done just as much as harm as good. He also puts forward some excellent defenses of why it's okay to be a Christian
Jun 28, 2008 Wendy rated it really liked it
A worthwhile read. Written by an Irish Theologian who has a very unique view and respect for the band. He stands by U2 when others in the Christian community challenge their faith as genuine based on drinking habits and use of certain four letter words. A great explanation of U2 in context of their native culture. One of the best points he makes is describing the music business in Ireland at the time the band was first being noticed. He says this, "There are no Christian venues for budding Chris ...more
Brian Eshleman
Dec 31, 2013 Brian Eshleman rated it really liked it
I like the "behind the music" or "behind the art" viewpoint, finding out what is going on in artist's life and how that impacts his or her message. Although I am more into literature than music and have not followed this group closely, I appreciated their Christ-centered motivation and actually went back and listened to some of their music much more carefully. An actual fan of the group who has life experiences associated with their music would definitely give this book 5 stars.
Dec 30, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it
I love that the members of U2 believe that loving God means loving others and responding to the suffering in our world. They embrace grace like no other and claim their insufficiency. Is this not what it is to be a Christian? This book describes the circumstances and meaning behind each song on all of their albums. While it can get tedious at times - the overall theme and passion of what they do drives the story on. Its a documentary in paperback.
Nov 12, 2011 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the author makes some interesting points about how the evangelical church has been quick at times to attack, his serious lack of quoted research makes this book not worth the read. He makes claims like crazy that he does not often back up either with legit sources or Scripture. It was a decent reflection on all the music U2 has put forward and on what the majority of the songs seem to mean, but that in and of itself does not redeem the lack of proper sourcing.
Apr 18, 2011 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started off very well in my opinion; it lots of interesting facts about the band's early years, made me think about the church and how I feel about it, and Stockman's writing style made the chapters flow into eachother well. I was really excited to read more.

Towards the end though, the book was mostly about Bono and his struggles with keeping his faith in a world where it doesn't seem to apply. This I don't mind, but it wasn't as engaging as the beginning of the book.
Rexcrisanto Delson
Feb 21, 2013 Rexcrisanto Delson rated it it was amazing
Great book! I've been listening to U2 since the early 80s and have always been riveted by the messages of their songs. Stockman does a wonderful job expounding on a side of U2 that makes them the greatest band ever.

"One of the world's leading voices of faith and social activism also happens to be one of its biggest rock bands. The members drink, smoke and swear - yet a radical biblical agenda and faith fuel their life and work. Welcome to the dichotomy of U2." (back cover)
Feb 20, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: this-and-that
Great look at the work of U2. That this is done by someone who is not in the American Evangelical tradition gives this book a balance that many who grow up in the American church lack. While you can tell that Stockman is a fan, his viewpoint is well thought out and outside of the typical American view of Holiness from a visual, outside perspective and takes in the lives that these men sing about, walk out and live.
Dec 26, 2007 Sherry rated it it was amazing
I am in love with Bono and have been for 20+ years but I love this book, it's about being authentic and their struggles not just in the rock and roll world but about their faith and not being afraid to admit they are searching, they are demanding answers from God, they dislike and hate organized religion. It is just very very cool.
Oct 07, 2007 Rob rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of U2
I think if you like U2's music, you will like this book. If you don't, you will probably have zero interest.

It was encouraging to read about the christian background to 3 of the 4 members of U2.

However, I would also warn people against viewing Bono, the Edge, Larry, & Adam as great theologians... or seeing them as great Christian examples, just because you like their music.

Mar 14, 2013 Bradley rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Every Lenten season I try to read something that will deepen my spirit. I've tried a few books but nothing seemed to fit what I was looking for. Then I stumbled over this book at my local Barnes & Noble.

I'm a fan of U2 and this book takes a look at the surprisingly religious undertones to U2 and their songs. Loved it.
Heidi Petterson
Apr 09, 2011 Heidi Petterson rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I am a huge U2 fan which is one reason I read it in the first place but you do not need to be a U2 fan to appreciate the insight Stockman has into the church, the music industry and Christianity in general. As a U2 fan though, I really gained more insight into the band.
Dec 25, 2009 Rick rated it really liked it
Wow! What a great book and a peek into the lives and cause of one of the greatest rock bands! A great inspiration and call to all of us to know that to believe is just the beginning.. As it is written, 'even the devil believes..'. It's all about what we are doing (action) with this belief that counts! Thanks U2!
Mar 16, 2009 Candice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a U2 fan I suggest this interesting and thought-provoking read. Get to know Bono, the Edge, Larry & Adam better (spiritually speaking) starting from their Protestant roots in Ireland; also the book helps you better understand Bono's plight to help Africa these days.
Jan 29, 2012 Noah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had high expectations for this book, and I was disappointed. Although it does have its merits, it is more of an apologetic for U2 combined with a very superficial overview of U2's albums and career than anything else. I feel like I learned more about the author's beliefs than U2's.
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