Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono. Knopf. 576 pages. 2022
U2’s Bono was born Paul David Hewson in 1960. He grew up middle class in a Dublin suburb, the son of a Catholic father Bob (whom he refers to as his “Da”), and Protestant mother Iris. His mother died of a cerebral aneurysm when he was 14. Living with his father, and brother Norman, his mother was never spoken of again in their home at 10 Cedarwood Road. Bono writes that it stopped being a home and was just a house.
This massive (nearly 600-page book) about faith, family, music and activism, begins with an account of Bono nearly dying in 2016. The forty chapters, each titled after a U2 song, and beginning with an illustration which is explained in the Appendix, tell Bono’s story as a member of U2, a Christian, family man and activist. During the COVID lockdown the band reimagined these forty U2 songs for a Songs of Surrender album that was recently released.
Bono’s best friend is his wife Ali, his childhood sweetheart. They have four kids. He writes that family has always been at the center of who he is.
The book generally moves along in a chronological manner, with Bono writing about each of U2’s albums, events such as Live Aid and apologizing for working with Apple to put the band’s 2014 album Songs of Innocence on every iPhone free, which the band was roundly criticized for.
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