NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • Bono—artist, activist, and the lead singer of Irish rock band U2—has written a memoir: honest and irreverent, intimate and profound, Surrender is the story of the remarkable life he’s lived, the challenges he’s faced, and the friends and family who have shaped and sustained him. • A VOGUE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
“Surrender soars whenever the spotlight comes on. Bono is never more powerful, on the page or the stage, than when he strives for the transcendence that only music can offer...[Bono] is open and honest, with language that can be witty and distinctive, addressing his competitive relationship with his father or growing up against the backdrop of Ireland’s political violence.” —The New York Times
“When I started to write this book, I was hoping to draw in detail what I’d previously only sketched in songs. The people, places, and possibilities in my life. Surrender is a word freighted with meaning for me. Growing up in Ireland in the seventies with my fists up (musically speaking), it was not a natural concept. A word I only circled until I gathered my thoughts for the book. I am still grappling with this most humbling of commands. In the band, in my marriage, in my faith, in my life as an activist. Surrender is the story of one pilgrim’s lack of progress ... With a fair amount of fun along the way.” —Bono
As one of the music world’s most iconic artists and the cofounder of the organizations ONE and (RED), Bono’s career has been written about extensively. But in Surrender, it’s Bono who picks up the pen, writing for the first time about his remarkable life and those he has shared it with. In his unique voice, Bono takes us from his early days growing up in Dublin, including the sudden loss of his mother when he was fourteen, to U2’s unlikely journey to become one of the world’s most influential rock bands, to his more than twenty years of activism dedicated to the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty. Writing with candor, self-reflection, and humor, Bono opens the aperture on his life—and the family, friends, and faith that have sustained, challenged, and shaped him.
Surrender’s subtitle, 40 Songs, One Story, is a nod to the book’s forty chapters, which are each named after a U2 song. Bono has also created forty original drawings for Surrender, which appear throughout the book.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Get ready to see the world through the eyes of one of its biggest rock stars. Bono’s memoir leads us through the highs and lows of his life in and outside of his iconic band U2—and he tells his story with all the passion and poetry we’d expect from such an accomplished songwriter. We get intimate snapshots of his early years, including memories of playing the pharaoh in a school production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with an Elvis-like swagger, living through the Troubles in Ireland, and the untimely death of his mother. There’s insight into the rarefied rock star life too, like when he got a tour of Liverpool from Sir Paul McCartney himself. We found the glimpses into the band’s creative process and conflicts absolutely fascinating. Much like his music, Bono’s memoir wraps you up and leaves you wanting more.
Bono, lead vocalist and primary lyricist for the rock band U2, reflects on his creative and personal evolution in this powerful and candid debut memoir. Born Paul David Hewson and raised in 1970s Dublin by a Catholic father and a Protestant mother, Bono always viewed music as his "prayers." With remarkable frankness, he details what makes a great song ("The greatest songwriting is never conclusive, but the search for conclusion"); domestic life with his wife, Ali, and their four children; how the band almost fell apart during the 1990 recording of Achtung Baby ("We ran out of love for being in the band"); why he always wears glasses (migraines that were eventually diagnosed as glaucoma); and his experience of the conflict between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland that lasted from 1968 to 1998. Along the way, Bono also shares plenty of memories of famous friends—Prince, he notes, is a "genius" who made him realize the importance of U2 owning their master tapes. Self-aware (Bono admits that sometimes he feels like he's "a sham of a rock star") and poignantly reflective ("I'm discovering surrender doesn't always have to follow defeat"), this is a must-read. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown.
This memoir starts off borderline resembling self-Idolatry but then transitions into a historical accounting you come to love. Context always enriches experiences and the spiritual roots of a band I thought I knew brought new reflections on my own life for me. Every song I grew up listening to in my youth is more complex and meaningful knowing the stories behind them.
Before came the music, there was the Band and the unique personalities that comprise it. It’s impressive the level of detail that Bono shares with us on each of these band members. This intimacy is where the book shines. It is enjoyable for the U2 and non-U2 fan alike, especially when he delves into the larger celebrity space the band maneuvers through. Bono’s approach is to show us the nexus points of creative ideas and experience and how they reflect the evolution of the band.
If you want to really enjoy this memoir, go with the audiobook. Bono reads it in his Irish lilt and interspersed are some rare cuts of many of their greatest hits. Through Bono’s perspective we learn how music is an escape from and reflection of the pain and love we all carry. The little eccentricities of the band make for some great laughs as well and will give you a heightened sensitivity to their lyrics.
Surrender Great insight into a mans mind
Great insight into a life and the struggles, triumphs and tribulations. I most enjoy the origin stories of songs and people growing up. Fabuluous book. Great read.
solid effort 3 1/2 stars
enjoyed reading some of this but then it became a bit too long … found myself jumping ahead past some of the parts that didn’t interest me … i think after rattle and hum the band kind of lost its effect, they became too rich basically … lost their voice and edge … i think many of u2’s vocals/lyrics up until rattle and hum were about someone who is in the world but not of the world … paul hewson will know the reference … that is the truth here on this planet, money won’t buy you happiness, it will buy you distractions … the best songs this band made, for me, were before the money and adoration … however, it was good to see paul hewson remain true to his belief and express that in the pages therein … i think he has a lot more faith than he lets on here … it isn’t rock and roll, it’s rock and soul