Book Review: Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono

February 28, 2023


Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono is a memoir by the front man of the Irish rock band U2. Bono, born Paul David Hewson, is also an artist, activist, and a family man.

  • 576 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0525521046

Book Review: Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono
My rating for Surrender – 4

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More Books by Bono*
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I have been a U2 fan since the 1980s, I listened to The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby so many times I still know the lyrics. I even got to see them on The Joshua Tree tour – that was way before it became a racket and teenagers could go see their favorite performers if they held a part-time job. Sadly, that’s no longer the case. However, once U2 started with the electronic music, they lost me.

In short, when Surrender by Bono was published, I knew it was a must read for me. I immediately took a liking to the format, 40 chapters each one somewhat relates to a U2 song. Some of them are a stretch, others I could easily see the relationship.

Frankly, the parts where Bono talks about what the songs mean were my least favorite parts. Those are “my” songs, and they mean something to me. I wish didn’t need to know what the lyricist meant to say, but that’s just me. I’m sure other fans would love to read about it. The parts about his writing process, however, are fantastic and provide context.

The book needs some editing. Bono’s long diatribes on various topics become tedious. Surprisingly, I enjoyed his stories about meeting movers and shakers to promote causes for his activism. Nothing earth-shattering but reading on how the powerful make decisions was illuminating, as it always is. That being said, much of the story about his activism, which are praiseworthy indeed, are just plain boring.

I realized, almost immediately after starting to read the book, that I should have gotten the audiobook. I believe that I would have enjoyed it much more with the songs being played and Bono narrating.

BuySurrender from*
More Books by Bono*
Books about U2*
Music by U2*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I bought this book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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