Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story
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.
“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.
Praise for Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story
A VOGUE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
“Honest and direct . . . [Surrender] is defined largely by humility. This is an introspective story written by a man whose spirit is never far removed from the sadness and grief of his childhood; the hunger, literal and figurative, of a teen wannabe rocker; and the gratitude of one who worked his butt off and made it to the top . . . This is the rare rock star memoir written by a rock star who, you get the impression, could have been a writer . . . Bono has a gift for making even the unattainable seem relatable . . . He’s humble, even self-effacing. He might be fun to have a beer with. He is very much of this Earth, even if on occasion he might seem to float above the water.” —The L.A. Times
“Compelling . . . Surrender is more introspective than salacious or score-settling, and proof that the tunesmith who wrote it also speaks fluent prose.” —The Washington Post
“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
“Lovely and thoughtfully written . . . An earthy, self-deprecating, often funny appraisal of the sometimes contradictory paths Bono has traveled.” —Vulture
“This is Bono at his best: thoughtful, reflective, revealing a wisdom that his rock-star persona covers up . . . At the root of it all you don't doubt his decency or integrity.” ―The Times (UK)
“A rattling good yarn . . . characteristically expansive, but it whizzes by . . . Bono has storytelling verve and a genuine desire for self-examination and is enthusiastic about praising others, often at his own expense . . . [A] generous, energetic book.” ―The Guardian (UK)
“Bono's memoir bares his soul . . . Has any rock superstar written a more revealing biography? He deftly balances the comical and profound and packs anecdotes with cameos by the rich and famous, from Frank Sinatra to Pope John Paul II.” ―Daily Telegraph (UK)
“Beautifully evoked, a mixture of Joycean exuberance and Chandleresque irony . . . most revealing are the intimate personal experiences that shaped him and his chaotic creative process. Punctuating it all is the music. Each chapter uses a U2 song to pull us down memory lane.” ―The Sunday Times (UK)
“Bono's honesty will win over his harshest critics . . . the U2 frontman's memoir is a triumph . . . Honest, witty, informative and beautifully written. Surrender will surely join the ranks of the great rock memoirs.” ―Irish Independent (UK)
“Sometimes confessional, many times humorous, and always clever and entertaining, Bono has delivered a fascinating autobiography of a major force in popular music and world affairs for all readers.” —Library Journal [starred review]
“Bono's first book will generate enormous interest . . . That the singer-songwriter writes well for the page should not come as a surprise, but his drawings might. Fans of Bono and U2 will adore this rich and expansive memoir, while music lovers of all persuasions will find much to enjoy here, too.” —Booklist [starred review]
“A powerful and candid debut memoir . . . With remarkable frankness, he details what makes a great song; domestic life with his wife, Ali, and their four children; how the band almost fell apart during the 1990 recording of Achtung Baby; why he always wears glasses; and his experience of the conflict between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland . . . Self-aware and poignantly reflective, this is a must-read.” —Publishers Weekly [starred review]