cover image Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story

Bono. Knopf, $34 (576p) ISBN 978-0-525-52104-4

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. (Nov.)