Waging Heavy Peace
Neil Young
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Buy *Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream* by Neil Youngo nline

Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream
Neil Young
512 pages
July 2013
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Neil Young is an unconventional individual who thinks in strange orbits and rarely in parallel lines. His thoughts jump from the here and now to the used to be of yesterday and what will be of tomorrow. His autobiography is strange and weird but in a unique and inviting sort of way. The table of contents page is absent so you have no idea what you're about to read and to that end the 68 chapters are routinely only a few pages in length. There is no introduction, no index and a preface less than one paragraph in length: "When I was young, I never dreamed of this. I dreamed of colors and falling, among other things." It is cryptic and doesn't make much sense [though Young must know what it means] but none of this really matters. Because the iconic musician responsible for such rock and roll classics as "Mr. Soul" and "Cinnamon Girl" is a wonderful storyteller and within these shorts tales, he rolls out his life.

The book takes off in 2011 while Young is at his ranch and reminiscing about his first model train collection--he is now part owner of Lionel Trains--and his quadriplegic song, "Ben." David Crosby and Graham Nash (Young's bandmates in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) are mentioned, and then he veers off into a discussion about his love of antique cars and his desire to improve the audio quality of records.

The book is all over the road like his jaunty jalopies, but this is a welcome change from the routine chronological journeys artists usually take in writing their autobiographies. Here is a charming excerpt about the very beginnings of Buffalo Springfield, the band from the early 1960s in which Young had his first taste of fame.

We made our way along Sunset and got caught in a traffic jam. It had dawned on us that we may not have enough gas money to get to San Francisco, but we were working on a solution when we hear a voice shout, 'Hey, Neil!!! Is that you?'

I looked around out the driver's window of the hearse. It was Stills! We got out and hugged right there on Sunset Boulevard in the middle of traffic. Horns were honking! To us it seemed like everybody was celebrating! Something was happening, but we didn't know what it was. It was fucking Buffalo Springfield, that's what it was.
Throwing aside the liberal use of exclamation points, Young boils down his history into bite-sized nuggets of memory and recollection. This is a terrifically fun book, and the tone makes it read as if Young has written it specifically for you, the reader.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2014

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