Waging Heavy Peace

Waging Heavy Peace

A Hippie Dream

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today bestseller.

For the first time, legendary singer, songwriter, and guitarist Neil Young offers a kaleidoscopic view of his personal life and musical creativity. He tells of his childhood in Ontario, where his father instilled in him a love for the written word; his first brush with mortality when he contracted polio at the age of five; struggling to pay rent during his early days with the Squires; traveling the Canadian prairies in Mort, his 1948 Buick hearse; performing in a remote town as a polar bear prowled beneath the floorboards; leaving Canada on a whim in 1966 to pursue his musical dreams in the pot-filled boulevards and communal canyons of Los Angeles; the brief but influential life of Buffalo Springfield, which formed almost immediately after his arrival in California. He recounts their rapid rise to fame and ultimate break-up; going solo and overcoming his fear of singing alone; forming Crazy Horse and writing "Cinnamon Girl," "Cowgirl in the Sand," and "Down by the River" in one day while sick with the flu; joining Crosby, Stills & Nash, recording the landmark CSNY album, Déjà vu, and writing the song, "Ohio;" life at his secluded ranch in the redwoods of Northern California and the pot-filled jam sessions there; falling in love with his wife, Pegi, and the birth of his three children; and finally, finding the contemplative paradise of Hawaii. Astoundingly candid, witty, and as uncompromising and true as his music, Waging Heavy Peace is Neil Young's journey as only he can tell it.
Publisher: New York : Blue Rider Press, c2012
ISBN: 9780399159466
Branch Call Number: 782.42166 Y86wg
Characteristics: 502 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 23, 2019

Although it rambles quite a bit, rambling is the essence of Neil Young's charm. His voice comes through loud and clear, which is what this reader was hoping for. He's honest, pulls no punches, and his remembrances of friends past echo his most touching and elegiac compositions. For a detailed biography with a consistent narrative, go elsewhere, but for a glimpse into Neil's psyche, "Waging Heavy Peace" moves and satisfies.

Aug 11, 2015

This book reads like a diary. The problem is it's all over the place with no sense of direction. Also it is so blatantly in need of an editor. Neil Young may be a super singer/songwriter and with me he's way up there, BUT he's no writer, I'm sorry to say. A real shake down by some credible editor would have eliminated much of the recurring phrases or idées fixes, such as cars, trains, cars and cars... Very annoying and pointless.

Jun 14, 2015

The late, great Dorothy Parker was noted for for her very short book reviews, so in her memory, I'll try one of my own here: Neil Young writes just as well as he "sings," so you've been warned!

Jun 08, 2015

If you want insight into Neil Young, the man and the musician, you'll like this book.

However, if you're looking for a book with a coherent narrative, look elsewhere.

If you can bear with the rambling, you'll enjoy Young's stories... he gives you insights into his songwriting process, as well as the experiences along his musical journey. And as a local, I enjoyed reading his descriptions of his favorite Bay Area haunts.

My least favorite aspect of the book? Young has an annoying habit of bringing something up, but then abruptly dropping it because he doesn't want to get into it. That's all fine and good; I respect a person's privacy, and they don't owe me anything. However--if you don't want to talk about it, why bring it up in the first place???

If you're interested in Neil Young, and want to read his words, but can't handle a non-linear narrative, check out his later book, "Special Deluxe."

Jul 13, 2014

Neil writes about his family and friends and his obsessions, including his music, cars, trains and his love of nature, but especially about the music and what has been lost with new technology in terms of sound and experience. He never says anything bad about anyone and is appreciative of everyone along the way. He rambles and is sometimes banal, but reveals himself as a person of integrity and a real human being.

ColinSick Jun 05, 2014

Being a long in the tooth Neil Young fan I enjoyed this book. Anyone expecting Tolstoy need look elsewhere. Young's writing is like a pleasant backyard conversation, meandering where it will but always returning to the theme. Young's music speaks for itself so in this book he mainly talks of other things - friendship, family, cars, gear etc.. No dirt is dished although I'm sure he has some wild CSN&Y tales. No aspirations are dispersed unless you count those he sheds upon himself. It's about music and family for this guy and he has remained true to his vision. There are very few R&R survivors from the sixties that you could say that about. The one song that came back to me page after page is his I Am a Child. After finishing the book another came to mind - Long May You Run.

Oct 25, 2013

Good to read his story as told by himself. Some revelations are downright fascinating - like doing his recording leading up to - but never past - the cresting of the full moon. He makes the excellent point of what a Totally Different Experience it is listening to music in 'full spectrum' (phono records, cd's) as opposed to pared-down digital files. I Cannot Believe the loss of music in mp3's!!

Jun 25, 2013

Possibly due to his long history with drugs and alcohol (although he quit both shortly before starting the book), possibly due to incipient dementia (it runs in the family), Neil Young is hard put to develop a coherent paragraph. There are interesting facts in here, but they are buried in tangents, meanderings, and self-referential observations that have little meaning for the rest of us. Moreover, there is a little too much product placement for his project-in-development, PureTone (a new sound system that would provide convenient access to music listeners without the loss of data entailed by CDs and mp3s). I only wish some firm but kindly editor had taken Neil by the hand to help him polish the jewels that are no doubt scattered throughout the book. Neil comes across as an observant and likeable guy whose thought patterns are just not very well organized. Despite my great admiration for him as a musician, I couldn't soldier past the first two chapters.

May 07, 2013

yah, yah, he's a nut and his book-writing skills are Not on the same level as his songwriting- but, he's NEIL YOUNG, man!!! He has some insights...

Apr 10, 2013

love neil but this was crazy hard to read. very disjointed.

View All Comments


Add a Summary
Dec 09, 2012

Neil takes the reader on a long meandering highway drive in a large Eldorado, talking about his family and his musical friends, and listening to Pono all the way.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at NWPL

To Top