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U2 at the End of the World

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,063 ratings  ·  77 reviews
The most intimate and appreciative biography ofthe mega rock band U2 to date--by the author towhom the band gave complete access.

When U2 took the stage for their three-year Zoo TVworld tour in 1991, Bill Flanagan was there--inthe bus, on the plane, in the recording studio andwell after hours with the biggest rock band in theworld. A tour that began to support the hugely
Paperback, 544 pages
Published July 16th 1996 by Delta (first published 1995)
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Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book over fifteen years ago and I thought at the time that it was the best biography of my favorite band that could have ever been written. It probably still is. This book covers a two-year window of U2’s career: the making of Achtung Baby and the conceptual creation, design, and carryout of the Zoo TV tour that followed it. It’s a very personal biography—Flanagan went everywhere with these boys, sharing bus rides, plane rides, hotel stays. He was in the studio with them for every ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'd read this once back in 2005 and still had my copy of course I'd forgot a lot of details but a lot of the main events were still there for me. If there was any band I could say I grew up with it was this one. I know Bono is a polarizing figure - as is the band - but for me the music is really one of the main soundtracks of my life. I'd seen every tour of theirs from this one (Zoo TV) up through 360 in 2011. I'd always respected the transcendent spiritual element that really is there in the ...more
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
i am partial to the irish. it's in my bloodstream. U2 are probably my favourite irish group & also a legendary band that compares to the greatness of the Ruttles, the Rolling Bones, & Dread Zeppelin. enough irony. i actually prefer this biography to anything available by other music journalists. Bill Flanagan has been affiliated with VH1 & MTV. he is also a historical authority of U2's royalty in America. i started to listen to u2 on the radio. i was still an elementary school boy. ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. In-depth look at the recording of Achtung Baby and the Zoo TV tour. All the difficulties, excesses, falling out of love & in. Just, a really good - and real - look at my favorite band.

Especially loved: the One story. I've heard different versions of it through the years, but reading this was just great. "We're one but we're not the same. We get to carry each other." So perfect for that moment & this band. And it's interesting, the technology they were trying to develop for Zoo
Rik Leaf
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
At the time I read this I was a huge U2 fan. After reading the book I was a huge Bill Flanagan fan! His writing is so engaging and entertaining, he could write about anything and I'd hitch a ride.
This is a fantastic biography.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Flanagan is a music writer and critic who traveled with the band U2 for three years during their Zoo TV tour from 1991 through 1993. He chronicles their journey in such intimate detail and with such humor. Stories on the road involve performance hiccups, humanitarian missions, and general mischief in cities all over the world.

U2 is notorious for having tight creative control over media access to the band. However, Flanagan was given full access and the band’s blessings to write about whatever
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book twice when I was in high school. I still have the same copy of it from then! I spilled Gatorade on it so it all stained from that. I’m 42 now and still like U2, though not their newer stuff as much. I plan on reading this soon again because I remember it being such a good read and I really like that time period of the band since it is when I first started listening to them. My first U2 album was Achtung, then Zooropa. So those are my favorite two albums. And I just love Zoo TV ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very close inside look at the biggest band in the world handling global success and criticism during the most interesting artistic period of their career.

A breezy read, fascinating on many levels.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Funny, moving, soulful, crazy, sleepless, unbelievable, heartfelt, ahead of times...
Do yourselves a favour and read this book!
Donna Flemming
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another great U2 book - and again, a must read for U2 fans!
Adam Gossman
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reading
Cool. A bit long. Dated.
Sybil Lucas
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My boys. End of story.
Graham Milne
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bill Flanagan had insider access to U2 as they went through the roughest patch of their history, from the critical failure of Rattle and Hum to Bono's challenge to the band to "go away and dream it all up again," to the triumph of their singular Achtung Baby album and the trials and tribulations of the record-breaking Zoo TV tour that followed. Borrowing a snifter of inspiration from that other old Irish sot James Joyce and Ulysses, Flanagan drops you smack into every recording booth, backstage ...more
Mars Girl
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a wonderfully detailed and thoughtful peek into the lives of U2 during the ZooTV tour. While the band carefully exposed its public side, Flanagan manages to weave together public with those small moments that reveal to the reader the real people behind the personas of Adam Clayton, Bono, The Edge, and Larry Mullen Jr. I'm a huge U2 fan, so this book was a delight to read because I could see into the world of U2 making albums and touring in a way I only have ever experienced on the ...more
Oct 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
From the book cover:

When U2 took the stage for their three-year Zoo TV world tour in 1991, Bill Flanagan was there--in the bus, on the plane, in the recording studio and well after hours with the biggest rock band in the world. A tour that began to support the hugely successful Achtung Baby record and ended with a second, even more successful record, Zooropa, took U2 to the far reaches of the world, playing to over a hundred sold-out arenas in over forty cities.

U2 At The End Of The World takes
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
U2 at the End of the World covers the history of the band in the early 1990s. My favorite material in this book is about the bro-mance between Bono and Frank Sinatra. (Yeah, you read that right!) Sinatra is a major character in the second half of the book.

Flanagan also provides an up close view of the making of two albums "Achtung Baby" and "Zooropa." I enjoyed the descriptions of how songs were built up in the studio with the creative nurturing of Brian Eno.

Embedded with the band throughout
Jan 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's easy to mock something you don't understand, especially if it towers above everything else. I believe this is why so many non-fans of U2 like to try to tear the band down; they see these four Irishmen applying for the "Best Band in the World" title and think it's all about image, wealth, or entitlement. This book not only dispels this myth about U2, it uncovers the heart that makes this band tick. Bill Flanagan's "U2: At the End of the World" is an intimate look into the best rock and roll ...more
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must for any U2 fan. You will feel as if you were at these concerts.
Paul Gleason
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Flanagan's book provides stellar insight into the inner workings of U2. The reader truly gets a sense of the band members personalities, the band dynamic, the songwriting process, what goes in to staging a U2 name it.

The book focuses exclusively on the Achtung Baby-Zooropa period of the band, and Flanagan uses a New Journalistic approach, so the reader reader really gets a sense of what happens to U2 minute-by-minute. He also features extensive interviews with all members of the band
Dec 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book reads like a very long article for rock 'n' roll magazine. You can really tell that the author is enamored of the band. The underlying tone is: "Look how cool I am. I'm hangin' with U2."
The author seems to be trying not to give away too much of the band members' lives. And I can respect that, but the groupie part of me wants more.
It also starts out just prior to the Zooropa tour. I was hoping to learn more about their beginnings, especially because U2 have been together for such a
Eric Schlipf
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This has been a really good book. I would quantify why I enjoy it first, though:
1. I am a huge U2 fan.
2. Achtung Baby, which this book details the recording of, and subsequent tour, is one of my favorite albums.
3. I love and listen to a lot of rock, and so this book mentions a lot of other bands, etc that I like.

However, this book was way more fascinating than I thought it would delves into places where I didn't think it would go; European history, religion, and the band's different
Jun 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
This is such a fantastic rock bio. Flanagan's writing is incredibly engaging, and he does a great job of exploring the thornier issues from every angle. He really captures the zany wonder of a rock tour, with fabulous descriptions of the cities the band visits (I love the section on Tokyo) and tons of great quotes. The members of U2 are wonderful and worthy subjects, and Flanagan more than rises to the task of telling their story. I wish he'd write a sequel with some of their more modern ...more
Jason Baldwin-Stephens
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Even if you hate the band (which I certainly do not in case you are keeping score) this book is a must read for any Rock Historian as it documents a period in the band's history when it was at it's creative zenith and also gives the reader an in depth and personal look into the lives of U2 that the band had not allowed previously and has seldom allowed since.

What Flanagan also achieves here is a thorough look at just how intertwined media and art were becoming in the early nineties. While U2: At
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. Being a fan of U2's 90's output in particular, it was great to get a feel for where the band was creatively during this critical period in their career.

You really get a feel for these four friends who just happen to be the biggest band in the world. You get to learn each band member's distinct personality, so much so that you feel as if you've known them your whole life.

In a way, the book is almost too revealing - after reading End of the World, you can never really
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
For any serious fan of U2 this is a must read. I am a very serious fan and yet for some reason this book slipped my notice until seeing it on a friend's shelf recently. It recounts in detail the Zoo TV tour, country by country, city by city and bar by bar. Bill Flanagan toured with U2 and pretty much went every place they did for the better part of two years. It not only gives incredible insight into the intricate workings of the band and all those associated with them, but the author also tells ...more
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
It was pretty interesting, not as good as say U2 by U2 or Bono's conversations with that Michka (or whatever his name is...) guy. But still revealing. I love reading and listening to what Bono has to say about the band, his friends (how close the group is)and his life. Hearing about how Adam saved Edge during his divorce, allowing him to live with him and be there for him, it just shows that frienships always comes first for these men, and music is secondary. Even with Bono's arguing and ...more
S. Div.
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book is one of the few really great rock biographies. It does a great job of chronicling the band's past by giving a distilled view of their present, in both personal lives, internal processes, and musical career. All of that is the essence of the music of U2, and the legacy their music has created. Flanagan does them a great service in this bio, but also himself, for presenting them so well and staying out of the way. Well, mostly. His humor about touring with them is fairly expressive...
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it
When I was younger, I was really into U2. I still like the band, but I don't listen to them nearly as much as I used to. I probably wouldn't recommend this book to anyone that isn't a U2 fan. But, you could probably say that about any biographical book about rock bands. It's full of tour stories, recording stories, and some personal stories. If you're into U2 and that kind of stuff, you'll probably like it.
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book had some stylistic tics that bothered me, but I basically didn't put it down until I was finished. Crazy rock stars on surreal world tours FTW. It was also... I don't know, I remember the tour the book was about, and I remember the world events happening while the tour was taking place, and it doesn't seem like that long ago, but I guess it was. Like, there was HISTORY happening, and this was an interesting look at stuff I actually remember and dealt with.
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