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U2 by U2

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4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,511 ratings  ·  159 reviews
In 1975, four teenagers from Mount Temple School in Dublin gathered in a crowded kitchen to discuss forming a band. The drum kit just about fit into the room, the lead guitarist was playing a homemade guitar, the bassist could barely play at all and nobody wanted to sing. Over thirty years later, Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr are still together, bound by ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by It Books (first published 2005)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  2,511 ratings  ·  159 reviews


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Winter Sophia Rose
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Deep, Insightful, Revealing & Witty! An Impressive Read! I Loved It! ...more
George Bradford
Mar 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Sophie Brookover
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If I were just a casual fan of U2, I'd probably just say "wow, I loved this, it was super in-depth!" & leave it at that. But I'm not a casual fan (& honestly anyone following my reviews knows I'm...enthusiastic about the things I love, let's say), so I'll elaborate: this is the book I wanted their mess of an authorized biography to be back in the 80s. It's a very rich oral history of the band as individuals and as a unit of artists, friends, and as their storytelling makes clear, as a family. If ...more
J.S.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
“It is hard to explain the significance of music for all of the kids in our area. There was nothing else nearly as important in terms of establishing your identity. I would have huge arguments with my friends about who was the best band in the world, or what was the best record ever made. The TV music shows... were considered unmissable.” - The Edge

I’m a big music fan and I love U2, but I think my opinion of this book waxed and waned with my feelings for their albums as they chronicled the band
...more
Michael Gerald
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Leo Walsh
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love U2. They're one of my top-5 rock/ pop/ hip-hop bands of all times.

I enjoyed this book. It's told 100% in the band's own words. My favorite parts were the beginning, where they tell their tale of rising from a nobody punk band to pop megastars. And how they struggled with their faith as Christians and used the rock-legend stardom to bring attention to noble humanitarian causes.

Though the book does go a tad dry for me AFTER they hit it big, and the book just traces their recording project
...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 interject
...more
Offbalance
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jason
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Allison
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Tatiana
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Ghizal
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The only thing I regret about this book is that it isn’t updated every 4-5 years. What a ride.
Mark
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, now 14 years old, is a history of the band told by the band members and their manager Paul McGuinness. It is culled from hours of interviews, and edited so it sometimes reads as a group conversation/interview, although I suspect for the most part these interviews were done separately. I love reading about the history and development of great rock bands, especially in their own words. I enjoyed the stories of their youth and early years as a struggling band. The personalities of each m ...more
J.
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think the idea of interviewing an entire group (as opposed to one band member's or an outsider's perspective) as a band biography is really fantastic. I enjoyed the way that their recollections bounced off one another, the ways they corrected each other. I'm a junkie for behind the scenes stuff on movies and music, anyway, so this was always going to get a pretty high score from me, but this book really *is* fantastic. For instance, even with the amount of information I already had about this ...more
Becky
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really good, interesting, honest book. Only drawback is the damn thing weighs at least 20 pounds, so it is hard to read in that sense. But they're open about the bad stuff - Adam tells what he remembers about the Sidney incident, Bono about Tokyo..... I wish there was an addendum for post-HTDAAB.
Ryan
Dec 13, 2012 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 “Heartland,” ...more
Sue
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great photos and backstory.
Donna Flemming
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A must read for all U2 fans!!
Chris H
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Fascinating insight into the band, by the band. Sadly, I found some of the font / background colour combinations left some parts of the book practically unreadable
Sam Levatich
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
reads like a documentary. really really gripping, esp having had the music as a backing track to car trips growing up
Olive Ward
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it 4 stars, but it's not exactly a book, just a really long interview (which I love), hence the 3 stars
James Christians
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Must read for any serious u2 fan. Comprehensive look at the recording process. Great insight into the musical journey.

Pictures are great but overwhelming at times.
Flower_ink
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are a fan, it's a must read...
If you are not, it's still a very interesting read.
Kerry Kerr
Sep 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Good but not great. I like the info on how they came up with various songs -- and it's pretty honest -- but not compelling. I'd only recommend it to hardcore fans.
Bill O'driscoll
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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